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.


  1. After working so hard through school, it's got to be hard to remember that passing NCLEX has no bearing on your worth as a person. From reading your blog, I know you're an amazing woman who is passionate about her family and her future as a nurse.

    If it makes you feel any better, I was an English major and worked for years as an editor before finding nursing yet it took 3 tries for me to pass the writing portion of the GRE. A test score does not necessarily measure your ability and it definitely isn't a measure of your worth!

    Blessings as you continue on this journey. I can't wait to hear the news that you officially get to put those extra letters behind your name!

  2. It feels so nice to find somebody with some original thought on this subject. Really helpful to you for starting this MCAT questions.

  3. You are right mamadoodle! I certainly agree! Sometimes it only takes great persistence to get your targeted goal using a different method. Keep motivating yourself and surround with positive people. Ask help from people who are inspiring (like your hubby) and from those who had passed NCLEX. There are also useful resources online such as kindle ebook and mobile apps which I recommend for your review. Have a blessed day!