The Journey Starts At Home
My nursing journey did not begin the way I had anticipated.
My mom was an OR nurse for over 30 years and was an inspiration and guidance to me as I began nursing school in the fall of 2017. All was well as I tackled the books and began to take the possibility of becoming a nurse very seriously.
About two months into the program, my mom suffered a large stroke that required her to be hospitalized for several months. I was shaken by this unexpected turn of events, but I feel grateful for the opportunity to see nurses in action.
The care that my mother received was phenomenal; and she has since recovered, thanks to the hard work of her health care team.
As for me, it felt like such a struggle to deal with her hospitalization while trying to juggle the nuances of nursing school. I felt lost, overwhelmed, and unsure of myself more than ever.
Going from the hospital and seeing my own family member in a life or death situation taught me more empathy for my patients than any textbook ever could.
I realized that working at a hospital wasn’t just a job to clock in and out of.
My presence would mean everything to the patient and their family during their time of need.
This wake-up call scared me silly.
The Stress Tests
Every single exam in nursing school was torture, regardless of how much I had studied. Studying was scary. Tests were scary. The thought of killing a hypothetical patient with the wrong multiple choice answer tormented me at every question.
I would lament over every possible answer and make some pretty stupid choices because I would think so much into the question.
I started half-heartedly studying for the NCLEX in January of 2019, doing about 20 questions a day from the Nursing and NCLEX Mastery app. My scores were embarrassingly terrible.
After I graduated and went to Vegas for a much-needed break, I couldn’t find the motivation to bump up my studying to a level that would make me feel confident and ready to tackle the beast that is NCLEX.
The end of June came around.
Unfortunately, the time to reschedule ran out, and I was sure I was walking into my doom and wasting years of my life, hundreds of dollars, and disappointing everyone who had ever said they had faith in me.
Passing this exam meant more to me than graduating. Passing meant I was worthy of a license and not an impostor who had somehow slid through nursing school.
My NCLEX shut off after I completed my 75th question.
I never thought I would be one of the “75 and done” people, so I was convinced I had failed.
In my head, all the self-doubt I had for myself was TRUE. Beating myself up over and over again despite the fact that all of my friends, peers, and family had so much faith in my ability to pass the exam.
I wasn’t afraid of not passing so much as I was afraid of letting everyone down.
When I checked the Alaska professional license search for the 300th time, expecting nothing to change, I actually saw my name twice. One pharmacy tech license. One nursing license. Okay, that was it. I had finally gone insane.
I could not believe that I had passed!
Hindsight is 20/20
Why was it so easy to think I had failed and hard to accept that I actually achieved my goal?? I wanted to be worthy of an RN license, yet I for some reason had convinced myself that it was impossible.
Well, I am here to tell you that yes, it IS possible. If you are going to one day take the NCLEX, please be good to yourself. It isn’t a test made to break you down. It isn’t a test you’re supposed to ace (getting 50% correct is the goal!).
Failing the NCLEX doesn’t mean you won’t be a fantastic nurse.
Everyone makes a big deal of it, but for a good reason. Nurses are on the front lines of health care. There needs to be something to prove a candidate is prepared to protect and save lives at a basic competency level. There’s no way you’ll ever know everything on day one.
Dear Future Nurse,
DO NOT BE AFRAID OF THE NCLEX.
Thank you, NCLEX Mastery team, for providing an app that kept me steady during the months leading up until the big exam and helped push me through my journey to become a nurse.
I felt like having the freedom to answer questions on my own time and read the rationale behind each question REALLY helped me grasp the material that was presented to me on the NCLEX.
The questions were so similar that I felt a bit of deja vu as I nervously clicked through each question.
I am now employed as a nurse in my dream job on the very same unit where my mom received care a few years ago.
Funny how life works sometimes!