Sunday, June 30, 2013

NCLEX Failure

I’m sad to announce that I took the NCLEX on Tuesday the 25th and failed.  I’m in a state of shock, and bewilderment to say the least.  I didn’t expect this kind of outcome and didn’t see it coming from miles away.  I sat for 5.5 hours, and answered all 265 questions.  After the first 2 hour break, no one was left in the testing room with me, and I felt alone and kind of frustrated, but determined that I wasn’t out of the game. 

After I finished, I had a sense of doom and left the testing center.  I pulled over at the nearest Wi-Fi location and opened my laptop to do the Pearson Vue Trick, only to see I had advanced to the CC screen.  I thought it was a fluke, so I drove for another 20 miles and tried again and got the same screen. 

By 2pm the following day, the state updated their website saying my temp. nursing license had been voided.  My heart dropped into my stomach, and I crumbled.  All of the flaws and insecurities I had about myself resurfaced, and once again I felt like the kid who couldn’t pay attention or sit still in school, who couldn’t catch on to what the teacher was teaching, who wasn’t getting the point of the lesson.  I felt like the nursing student who couldn’t pass any exams during the semester within the 90s range because the best I had was 70s.  I felt like despite my achievements throughout my life, the failure of this test, confirmed my worth as mediocre. 

I used to hear stories, even folklores if you will, from upperclassmen who had failed the NCLEX.  But I never really knew anyone who had failed.  I used to think to myself, boy they must have been some dumbbbbb people to have failed.  I mean I know the test is tough, but it can’t be that tough.  And for me in particular, I came from a well-respected school of nursing that prepares their students for success.  The school started us from the first semester with application questioning so we were familiar with the same style of testing as NCLEX. 

However, in the end, I fell short.  I have to say, I was a little cocky and arrogant about my abilities post-graduation.  I felt like I was well equipped and prepared, that I knew most of what I needed for NCLEX.  I took the Kaplan review course and learned all about strategy and the decision tree.  I understood what key words to look for, I understood ABC’s, I understood Maslow’s Hierarchy, I understood assessment vs. implementation, and I even understood that no matter what keep the patient safe at all times.  But I still failed!

I believe my downfall didn’t have much to do with strategy as it did with lack of content.  I wasn’t a 100% sure of all the diseases whether it was patho, interventions, outcomes, meds etc.  Nor was I completely accurate on the order of certain skills, like suctioning a trach pt.  Because of this, on testing day I didn’t feel as confident as I should have. 

The importance of this test was/is so gigantic in my life, up to this point nothing tops it.  The importance of passing this test the first time was put so high on the priority list that nothing should have gotten in my way.  I didn’t take the test as seriously as I should have, and as a result of failing, I’ve been left to feeling low, incompetent, stupid, embarrassed, worthless, and just plain unsure of myself.  Besides letting myself down, I let my husband and children down.  I made a lot of promises to be with them this summer, which now, will be incorrect.  Instead of watching the kids play their summer sports, I’ll be back with my nose in my nursing books.  Instead of going to work, and coming home after each shift and not worrying about studying anymore, that’s exactly what I will be doing again.

It’s funny how the stages of grief they teach you in school really are true being, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.  I know I stayed in denial the first full day, moved on to anger for a short while, didn’t really hang out in bargaining for long, but have been hanging out in depression for quite some time.  Acceptance is right around the corner, and since I’ll be trying to retest within 45 days, I know I’ll be back to studying before you know it.  It’s just hard, you know what I mean?!  I’m just really upset that I didn’t end up on the right side of the passing line for NCLEX.

Ultimately, I will be getting a refund from Kaplan, and my hubby has ensured me he will support and encourage me as much as he can.  I purchased the Saunders book with CD, and will be enrolling in the 5 week course with NCSBN within the next few weeks.  My hubby went to the library to check out lots of books as tools for my studying time.  Bless his heart; he even contacted one of my nursing instructors who I immensely admire, to help tutor me.  I’ll find out later today how that will go, but as of now I’m moving into the direction of acceptance laced with self-loathing.

I’ve agreed to take away many of the distractions I had the first go round like facebook, pinterest, twitter, snapchat, and anything else that interrupts my studies.  I do not plan to post again on this blog until I have passed the NCLEX successfully.  Thanks for listening and your patience through this tough time.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Kaplan Class

The Tuesday after Memorial Day started by me waking up early enough to drive 45 minutes to my Kaplan class, where I was introduced to the fine strategies for passing the NCLEX-RN exam on the first try, money back, guaranteed.  My best bud and I drove together which I would recommend so you have someone to vent with when you don’t understand something in class.  Between the two of us we usually figured out what went wrong using one of our primary tools called The Decision Tree.
Despite the fact this class was only in session for 4 days does not mean your work is done.  The most intense part is the time from which you leave class and set out on your own.  Kaplan offers a 2, 3, 4, or 5 week or more study plan designed to help you be as prepared as possible on exam day.

I spend anywhere from 2 -6 hours per day (including the weekends) studying NCLEX questions and reading rationales.  Since I’m no stranger to nursing school demands this load of work seems lighter and manageable than what I’m capable of handling.  None-the-less just because I’ve graduated doesn’t mean it’s relax time. 

UGHHH, don’t get me wrong I made time to relax which included a glorious trip to Vegas with my family.  We enjoyed an impersonator show, lots of walking up and down the strip seeing lots of amazing architecture with mega-sized hotels.  We enjoy watching pirates, water displays, live entertainment/music, and as much tourist shopping as possible.  All mind you in record-breaking (115 degree) heat, which I didn’t mind, coming from the cold state of Wisconsin who still hasn’t gotten the memo to warm up for summer yet.  My only question is, who and why did someone think to create such an amazing city in the middle of the dessert?  The whole time I was there I couldn’t help but think what people are going to do when the water all dries up…hahaha.

Either way, I digress, ultimately things only stayed busy after graduation because I chose the course to take my exam as soon as I could.  I had to wait for my extremely slow school to get all of the paperwork sent to the state, before I could officially get my Authorization to Test (ATT) from Pearson Vue.  Then I proceeded to book the most logical date to take my exam as possible.  Which is coming up y’all and fast!!

Even though I’ve done all this studying post-graduation, and I’ve been a student for 4.5 years, and I’ve been working in the medical field for more than 2 years, I still don’t feel 100% ready to take the most important exam of my life.  However, I’ve looked at the other option of pushing my exam date back and I concluded that an extra couple of days or week isn’t going to make me any more ready.  I just need to take the exam and be done with it!!  Put that baby to bed, and behind me. 

I’ve talked to a lot of co-workers, fellow students and staff, and family who have all been filling me with as much courage and support as humanly possible.  Now I just need to pray and ask God to give me the confidence to feel prepared.  Oh also I’ll be praying that I don’t lose my bowels a.k.a poop my pants on exam day.  That would not be good, hehehe.

Prayerfully my next post will be telling you all I passed NCLEX, and that I’m an RN, otherwise I’ll be mighty upset.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Important Update..I'm NOT dead, I've just Graduated!!!

Hello all remember me? I have been gone for what seems like eons and my only excuses are being lazy, tired, and overwhelmed at times with a busy schedule...oh and graduating!

My last semester was a successful one leaving me with not as much studying as I expected (those upper classmen have a sneaky way of always frightening us). I felt refreshed taking my time getting homework turned in, as well as studying for tests and passing them. Which left me time to assess and reassess my relationships with school friends.

I realized not all friendships are "lasting" but there were a few worth “working on”. Here’s just a helpful hint for those who haven't got a clue, friendships go both ways. If you find yourself in a rerun episode of listening to the same friend talk incessantly about them, turn and run! They may not really be capable of having a two-sided friendship, meaning they don't have time to listen when you need to talk or help solve your problems. Just trying to keep you all out of those ugly friendship traps we're all accustomed to falling into. Either way, your true friendships aren't work at all; they're comfortable and rewarding with little effort.

I was able to reassess my role as mother to my kids after being a fraction of who I once was for so long and I have to say I have some work to do. It won’t be an overnight change but definitely salvageable, thank you Lord!

I was able to reassess my relationship with my hubby and determined of all the relationships this one I was least lacking in.  Thankfully because of our many attempts to keep things as normal as possible throughout the years. 
However, my hubby, to his amazing credit always kept my schooling important enough in the front of his mind, not to allow it to separate us. I would still like to sprinkle our relationship with sugar and spice and everything nice, just to add my special touch once again!

A huge Thank You to all of my family who has patiently waited for me to finish school and all the while kept on encouraging me with positive attitudes and many prayers!  
I love you all!!!!

Detaching from school has been slow but apparent. It’s hard to look at myself in the mirror and think I’m no longer in college. I still find myself dreaming about studying. I find it odd that my to-do list doesn’t consist of studying 600 pages worth of material only to be tested on 50 ?s. It’s remarkable being able to look at my family and not have a preoccupation of guilt and counting the minutes of studying I’ll have to make up before the next exam.

I definitely have come a long way in 4.5 years of college and $43,069 of debt, but it was worth every penny, tear, and complaint to say I’m done! If it is possible for this broken soul to succeed, then let my story be an encouragement to anyone wondering if they aren’t too late in deciding to make a better future for them.

It is possible to graduate from college soberly, while tending to a family, trying to make a living, and for the most part carry a positive attitude...oh and also a learning disability.  
Go for your goals, dreams, and what seems impossible to attain. Because when you succeed, the amazing accomplishment feels soo divine and the proud look of approval by family and friends is irreplaceable.

I’ll be writing more posts regarding my long week of Kaplan training that started last Tuesday and finished yesterday, blah 24 hours of NCLEX strategy teaching and learning. I finally feel more confident regarding a good study plan for boards.

Also I’ll be sharing a few OB stories, one in particular regarding hearing 3 heart beats at the same time. So stay tuned! I’m not done…