Saturday, June 11, 2011

C. Dub, RN!!!!! :-)


I came.

I took.

I conquered.

And now, after 2 incredibly trying years, I have my nursing license! 

The last two years, beginning with exactly one week after our wedding until this past Thursday, June 9, 2011, has been an upside-down whirlwind of emotions.  Studying until the wee hours of the morning, making friends with coffee, making friends with the staff of the local gas station that sold really, really big soda fountain drinks.  Psychotically checking online to see if grades had posted.  Cheering on your classmates.  Heart breaking when a classmate was left behind. Realizing at some point that you could hold an intelligent conversation with another nurse and not sound like a nursing student. Hating the HESI.  Realizing that you've passed the HESI. Hating the HESI.  Realizing that the friends that you've made in the last two years are people that you are proud of, are proud to call classmates and friends, and are people that would have your back one day if you meet again as colleagues.  Standing together at pinning.  Proud as peacocks in our caps and gowns...

And now, I'm done. It's a surreal feeling, waking up one morning and realizing that, no--I'm not going back to class in the fall.  I don't have to read a Saunders book, or open a Lewis book.  I don't have to have a backache from carrying my pharmacology book. It's....over.  There is no last hurdle to clear...
To my friends nationwide who are waiting to take NCLEX, or to some random person who may stumble across this blog who is getting ready for are my thoughts:

1.  I don't care how prepared or unprepared you are when you walk into the testing, you feel like a moron when you leave.  The test is designed to make you feel dumber and dumber :-) (Oh, how to walk with a cane?  Then a question about thallasemia?  Then a drug I have never heard of?  Yep, I failed it).

2.  The actual process of checking in at the facility is incredibly unnerving, even under the very best of circumstances.  Being fingerprinted, palm-scanned, photographed, and then having to physically empty your pockets makes you feel like a criminal, and not being prepared for it can really, really rattle your nerves. The staff were incredibly nice, but even so, it's incredibly daunting right before you sit down for the exam.

3.  The 10-minute tutorial, which everyone is required to sit through, is invaluable time.  We already know how to answer the alternate-format questions.  That 10 minutes gives you a chance to get acclimated, say a prayer, calm yourself down, etc.  Use it.

4.  Knowing the classifications of drugs, and knowing specific endings ("lols," statins, etc) is INVALUABLE.  Also knowing the specific drugs that have very weird and very specific instructions (MAOI=no tyramine, etc) is also invaluable.

5.  The "Nursing Made Incredibly Easy" and the "Pharmacology Made Incredibly Easy" helped tremendously.  I had 6 or 7 endocrine questions that I was able to remember because of the book/pictures/mnemonic devices. You can't go back and re-read your med-surg, ob, fundamentals and psych books, but you can re-read the Incredibly Easy books.

6.  I didn't feel that the HESI and NCLEX were comparable at all.  HESI was more fact/knowledge-based, whereas NCLEX was far more about being able to think through a question and critically think about the answers.  

Now it's time to get a big girl job with a big girl paycheck.  :-)