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New nurse in the hood.

So as the title states, I’ve been precepting a student nurse this summer. I know, right? What kind of strange turn of events?!

It has been fun to say the least. I’ve been learning a lot myself, mostly about how far I’ve come. When you get caught up in the motions of this thing called nursing, you miss the growth you make as a new nurse.

We’ve been doing what you’d expect when precepting, but it isn’t the skills or knowledge base I want my student to take from this experience. She’s due to graduate in a semester so what I really wanted her to gain from our time together is that IT IS OKAY TO NOT KNOW EVERYTHING. In our final semester of nursing school, I really felt pressured to “act” and “think” like a full fledged nurse. I wanted my student to know that even the most seasoned nurses still have their bad nights and that teamwork can make all the difference between a good shift and a bad one. I encouraged her to test her independence during her last few clinic rotations, but to never shy away from asking for help or feel bad about needing it. Teamwork and learning doesn’t end in nursing school, guys. You’ll always need help and you’ll always have questions. And that is perfectly normal and perfectly okay.

Anyways, thought I’d pop in for a quick update. Cheers.

The death stare I gave the EMT who commented how “quiet” my unit was that night….

..forced him to knock on wood.

..the transition between being a student nurse to an actual nurse.

As a student, you have your instructor there to guide you. They ask you all the right questions to get those little gears of critical thinking going in your head. As a nurse, you’re usually alone in making sense of a patient and their condition(s). And it’s not that easy.

I find myself very task oriented at times. I’m just trying to get the job done and not assessing my patients on a more wholesome and holistic level. It’s gotten better though. I can feel the little gears and cogs of my brain going again. Slowly, and probably in much need of a tune up, but they’re going. It’s an awesome feeling when you catch something based solely on your instincts and critical thinking, inform the doctor, and have them agree with you.

I didn’t realize how close under wings we were kept during nursing school. We were all little ducklings kept in a nice neat row, very close to momma duck. You’re kind of thrown to the sharks once you’re a full fledged nurse. I had 6 weeks of orientation with a preceptor (an amazing one, thank goodness!) before I was deemed fit enough to work on my own. It’s crazy. You have to find your own groove, your own rhythm. Not what works for your instructor, not what works for you preceptor, it has to be what works for YOU. And it’s hard. You’re so accustomed to working with the beat of somebody else’s drums, that you seriously have no idea how to even begin to bang your own.

Learning didn’t stop upon graduation. No, it seriously just begun. Do I feel nursing school prepared me for real life nursing? Sometimes, no..sometimes, yes. Lol. I guess what I’m trying to say is it provided me with the most basic foundation. A foundation that I had to learn to build upon as an RN. They all said that the real learning happens on the job and honestly, it’s ringing as true.

Hey guys, sorry I’ve left my account idle as of late. I’ve been meaning to start a new blog, but I figure, why not pick up where I left off right here?

Anyways, I hit my 6 month mark of being a full fledged working RN back in September. What a whirlwind! Time seriously flew. I have so much to share and once I find the time (soon) to sit down and type up a blog, their yours. Keep look out, friends.

Until then, adieu!

Was offered my first RN position here in town at the hospital I did my clinical rotations in.

I originally had my foot in the door with our county health system, but due to an influx of applicants, they closed their entry level RN application (which is normally always open) by the time I passed boards. 

I have to admit, I was bummed. It really is as tough out there for new grad RN’s as they say. I applied to countless places (out of town even) and received countless rejection letters. Finally I decided, what the heck? I’m going to call these units and ask for managers. One in particular scheduled me an interview on the spot. She actually told me during my interview that she had no plans on coming in that day, but was impressed with my forwardness in calling her. She wanted to see what I had to offer, and obviously she liked what she saw!

I consider myself very blessed to have only graduated about 3 months ago to happen upon a job so quickly, especially out here in California.

I guess that’s it with this blog then? Perhaps I’ll start up a new one about a newbie RN? ;)

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Tagged as: nursing, RN,

Somebody asked so I deliver. It wasn’t much of a plan really. lol

I graduated 12/8/2012. Took live Kaplan review 12/10-12/13. Received my ATT early January, scheduled NCLEX for 1/24, and began studying 1/5. As you can see I had a very slow start lol. It took having my actual exam date to kick me into gear.

Now the live review was helpful. It wasn’t content review, more like teaching you strategies on how to answer NCLEX style questions. We sat for 6 hours a day answering questions. The Kaplan instructor also gave us little pearls of wisdom along the way. He had us take the Kaplan Diagnostic exam prior to beginning the review. I took it the night after pinning (12/9) so I was in no mood, but I managed a 57.2%. On Thursday, the last day of the live review, he made us take the Kaplan Readiness test. He said the ideal score was 60%, anything less would require intervention. Well, I just barely made that score at 61.7%.

So after all that I went on a hiatus and hibernated for about a month before really hitting the books. I did 150 questions a day. From Kaplan’s question bank and question trainers. If I did a question trainer, I would count those towards my 150 q’s a day.

Now I know some people say that 65% is the ideal Kaplan score, but my Kaplan instructor was confident that 60% was just as good. So that’s what I aimed for. It was a slow start. At first my scores ranged in the 50’s and that scared the crap out of me! I can’t really explain it, but one day something just clicked and I was able to answer questions more confidently. This reflected in my scores. I began scoring between 60-70%.

I didn’t really do much content review. The most review I did was when reviewing rationale of questions I got wrong and questions I was unsure of. If I still felt like I needed more fine tuning regarding the topic at hand, I’d crack open my Saunders NCLEX review book.

I finished 100% of Kaplan’s question bank averaging at 63%. They say that question trainer 6 & 7 are closest to NCLEX and that’s where scores mattered most. I got a 64% on QT6 (200 questions) and a 68% on QT7 (265). I tried not to get too hung up on scores since I’ve learned that people with great scores with Kaplan have failed NCLEX, and people with poor scores with Kaplan have passed! I just focused on reviewing rationale and getting comfortable with answering questions.

I also studied from a book called, ‘Prioritization, Delegation, & Assignments’ by LaCharity. It helped me with learning how to appropriately delegate tasks, assign patients, and what was within a tech and LVN’s scope of practice. I highly recommend this book as a good portion of my actual NCLEX exam had to do with prioritizing. 

From all the practice I learned that my brain needs a break after a set of 50 straight questions. So that’s what I’d do. I’d step away from my laptop and just veg for about 10 minutes. For the times that I didn’t, it showed in my results— runs of red check marks! And for those familiar with NCLEX, you want to avoid runs of incorrect answers like the plague!! (It will bring you below the ‘passing line’ to lower level questions that are considered not passing.)

It’s funny though. When I went to take my actual exam, I decided I’d take a break at 75 if my computer didn’t shut off. Lucky me it did!

Oh, I also utilized the following ‘cram sheet.’ It has all the labs in one section which made devoting them to memorization easier.


Hope this helped somewhat. Good luck, guys.


So yes, it’s true. The most preparation you can do for NCLEX is by answering questions on a daily basis. I know some people who read books w/ content review from front to back, but seriously, that is just erring towards the side of doing too much. AND AINT NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT!

Keep it simple. Avoid using too many resources to study with. You’ve graduated your nursing program. All the information you need is in your noggin! Some might be a bit dusty, but it’s there. And according to statistics, 86% of US nursing graduates pass the NCLEX on their first try. Odds are in your favor.

On the day of..

-Eat breakfast.

-Dress comfortably.

-Pack snacks.

-Expect to sit for 265 questions.

-Take breaks.


danceportal Asked:
Congratulations new RN!! I'm feeling those spouts of confidence and jitters simultaneously now...I test in about 4 days! Good luck to you!

My answer:

Thank you! And good luck to you too! The worst part of NCLEX is definitely the mind game we attach to it. It’s really not as bad as we make it seem. Relax and most importantly, be confident. You’ve got this!!

Drove out to the city I was testing in the night prior with my fiancé. Before checking in to our hotel room, he took me out for dinner at one of our favorite Filipino spots and he let me buy out the entire stock of junk food from the Filipino market adjacent to the restaurant. It was about 2100 when we finally got to the hotel room. Without hesitation I took off my clothes, threw on an oversized shirt, and collapsed in to bed with my dried mangos, mochis, and Yan-Yans (Strawberry AND chocolate, thank you very much!). I was adamant that I was NOT going to study. My brain needed to rest! So instead, I vegged out with my snacks whilst absent-mindedly flipping through channels. I was aware that I wouldn’t get much sleep and I was right. Slumber didn’t hit me until about 0200, but luckily my exam wasn’t scheduled until 1200 that afternoon.

I woke up at about 0900, showered, had breakfast (a banana nut muffin), and got ready to test. I know they say to eat protein, but I did not have the stomach for anything really and as much as I love muffins, it tasted like cardboard thanks to my nerves. Pro tip, dress in layers! I wore leggings; a v-neck tee layered over a cami, and threw a crew neck sweater on for warmth. Unfortunately hooded sweaters are not allowed in the testing center, which is sad since hoodies make up a bulk of my wardrobe (I blame nursing school for that!). I’m very prone to being cold so I just had to make do with what I had. Point is I dressed for comfort. I dressed assuming I would be there for the entire 6 hours of allotted time. In fact, I dressed as if I was going to class lol. I also packed snacks as if I was dedicating my entire day to the testing facility. My purse’s seams were practically bursting from carrying bottled waters, a plethora of granola bars, and muffins. I was going to battle; I needed the appropriate sustenance.

I arrived at the testing center (around the corner from my hotel, woohoo!) about an hour earlier. I figured it would give me ample time to check in and collect myself. It didn’t exactly work out that way. I was pretty much thrown to the lions as soon as I checked in. I arrived at 1100 and began the exam at 1106. One hour later and after my 75th question, my screen just went….blue. It was done.

Now I know most people walk out on the verge of tears or feeling as if they failed, but I felt…apathetic? I didn’t know how to feel really. I sat in my car in a daze just trying to reflect and collect my thoughts. About 10 minutes later when the status of my test was updated to ‘Delivery Successful’ on the Pearsonvue website, I attempted the ‘trick’ on my phone and got the good pop-up. Huge sigh of relief, but there was still that nagging pessimist at the back of my head assuming I’d be the one person that the trick didn’t work for.

I stalked my state’s BRN website, but as of an hour ago, my name and license number is posted. Thanks for the support, everyone. I am officially an unemployed REGISTERED nurse. *fist bump*

Tried the Pearson Vue trick and got the good pop-up.

It helps with the anxiety a smidge. I won’t completely breathe a sigh of relief until I see my name and license number on the BON.

Will update in a few days with my very own NCLEX story. Keep look out!

LaCharity says nursing assistants CANNOT perform blood glucose tests. Kaplan says they CAN.

Well then. WELLL then. 

Tagged as: NCLEX, nursing, RN,

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