A Nontraditional Nurse Breaks the Mold

From the challenges to the victories, our nurses and nurses-in-training have been through it all. We’re excited to present our second nurse, Eric! Eric is an LPN with a nontraditional nursing journey that proves it’s never too late to chase your dreams.

The Unexpected Journey

Weird to say now, but nursing wasn’t my first plan. I picked up a couple of degrees in theology years ago, and I was interested in taking up a chaplain position in a hospital. I love hospitals and helping other people— it is so rewarding.

I’m a new LPN and currently looking for a clinical position. I’m so excited to start my nursing career, though it was a long road getting here.

I initially wanted my second career to start a little earlier, but some health problems and raising two teenagers put me on a detour to those plans.

I started a hospital chaplain program when I could, and it was a struggle, especially when I got wind of how tight the job market and how many applicants there were.

All of this had me reevaluate what I wanted to do, and I found myself drawn to nursing. I had the aptitude for it, and an LPN is a nursing role right between a CNA and an RN, which is exactly what I was looking for.

I paid a lot of attention to my studies during nursing school. I wanted to be sure that I utilized every tool at my disposal, and that I would be able to learn everything I needed to in order to not just be a good nurse, but to master nursing.

Conquering the NCLEX?

Then came the NCLEX. I used over a dozen different books, strategies, apps, and study materials to study for the NCLEX, and I ended up failing the first two times I took it.

It was a massive blow that I couldn’t jump into nursing immediately after I graduated. I ended up waiting about two years between graduation and passing the NCLEX, and the fact that I failed twice left me so discouraged and at a complete loss for what to do and what to change about my study habits.

I wanted to be a nurse, and like it or not, to do that, I needed to pass the NCLEX.

So I focused on answering questions and thinking like the NCLEX. I tried NCLEX Mastery, after my nursing coworkers recommended it. Who knows better about what to use to pass the NCLEX than someone who’s already passed it, right?

I made sure to spend time with tools like mnemonics and study strategies. I’d gone through the NCLEX experience twice before, and I used that to my advantage as I looked for the things that would work well for me.

And on my third NCLEX attempt, I did it. I passed!

I made sure to hide the question numbers and the countdown clock so that the test felt like the thousands of practice questions I’d spent the last months answering every day.

The NCLEX felt familiar, like something I’d done before, thanks to all the time I spent answering practice questions. I was more confident and sure of myself than ever before, and that confidence paid off.

A Bright Future

The week after passing the NCLEX was such a relief, it was like an iceberg was lifted off of my shoulders. All the stress and effort was worth it.

I’m going to be a nurse; helping people is going to be more than my job, it’s going to be my career. It’s everything I want, and I’m excited to see where my nursing journey takes me.


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