The Life and Times of a Busy Woman

Saturday, January 12, 2013

New Beginnings

Wow, the last few weeks have dragged, but a lot has been accomplished.  My State Board of Nursing finally made me eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN (Board exam) on January 3rd.  The holidays and a snow storm that shut down the state offices didn't help my cause.  Plus, they made some mistake with my stuff anyway and it took 19 hours (and a phone call that they got mad at me for) to get it fixed.  I was eligible on the 2nd per the State website, they just hadn't sent that to Pearson Vue - the company that does the testing nationwide.  I scheduled my exam and the week went on.  I took our daughter skiing with my mom for a Saturday afternoon, I was on call for the fire department on Sunday.  I have been weeding out stuff that can go away to needier people and also preparing for our cruise. 

Disney Fantasy ... T-Minus 14 days!

I took my board exam on the 9th, first thing in the morning.  I was overcome with nausea and only had jell-o for breakfast - and I nearly lost that.  I do not take tests well ... I never have.  I end up with good/great grades, but the testing process itself is my nemesis.  Plus, this exam costs $200 each time it is taken, and I know a few people that took it 4 times.  Granted, they went to a different nursing school than I did, but still.  Even people at my own school have had to take it twice ... that's still $400.  I don't have that kind of money.  To increase anxiety, the NCLEX is a CBT (computer-based test).  It has a minimum of 75 questions, a max of 250.  If you do too poorly or well enough in the first 75 questions, it will shut off - your exam is over.  The computer has already calculated your success or failure.  You may also get randomly chosen to take the full exam.  Pleasant, right?  Mine shut off at 75.  Oh crap.

Self doubt .. BEGIN!

It takes 24 hours after the exam for the State website to say whether the candidate has earned their RN license.  For those 24 hours, I was a ball of nerves.  I went home, made pizza, and went to sleep.  I could not function beyond the everyday.  My daughter came home from school, she had dinner (I couldn't eat), worked on homework, played on her iPod, took a shower, then went to bed.  At this point, I was second-guessing myself.  "I couldn't have done that badly.  Oh yes, I could have."  I really only spent a total of a couple hours going over stuff in the week before taking the test.  An hour at two of my daughter's karate sessions.  I hadn't opened a book since I graduated in December.  I am a prime example of a slacker.  In my defense, since grade school, if I read it, I retained it.  I've hardly studied a day in my life.  It's more like reading.  I love reading.  I read it, I retain it.  My classmates were scheduling their exams weeks out so they could study.  Screw that, just take the exam.  Oh wait, now was that a mistake.  Am I screwed?  Probably.  But, but .... (yeah, that's what was going through my mind)

Maybe I needed this book?

I woke up the next morning and I didn't want to move.  I found my iPad within arm's reach, with the State's website already up on it.  I touched my name and it loaded.  I cried.  License status was "ACTIVE" with a license number and first licensed date as the 9th.  I could barely breathe.  My husband was working away like usual and sleeping with his phone off for about another hour.  I called my dad.  Conversation:

"Hey, Dad.  We need to get you a new shirt."  Referring to the "Proud Dad of a Nurse" shirt I got him.
"Why?  Did you mess up?"  (Thanks for the confidence!)
"NO!  It needs to say 'Proud Dad of a REGISTERED Nurse.  I took my Boards yesterday and I just found out I passed!"

I sent my husband a text that said CALL ME.  He replied with my license number.  So he WAS up ... and called me.  I called some others to let them know and my day got markedly better.  The stress was gone ... just like that.  I did have a pre-employment physical in the afternoon (scheduled even before I knew I passed), but even out of shape (er, round is a shape, right?) I knew I could pass that.  I start on Monday ... hallelujah!

Our daughter had a spelling bee on Thursday night.  She didn't place, but we celebrated anyway.  She has issues being the center of attention (i.e. on stage) so I consider it an accomplishment that she participated. 

Mmmm, ice cream

I had the best nights sleep in a long time on Thursday night.  I can go on vacation and know that the NCLEX is not looming over my return.  I am finally at peace and ready to move forward with the next stage - orientation to my new job, new co-workers, and new role ... as a Registered Nurse.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Cost

5.5 years of college (part-time then full-time) ... $40,000
316 cups of coffee (only including class days - minimum) ... $489.80
Nursing Pin ... $55.00
Someone to officially pin it on me ... $40.00
ATI (Practice NCLEX-RN) ... $42.00
NCLEX-RN with State Board Licensing fee ... $275.00

Finally reaching my RN, BSN goal through blood, sweat, tears, and determination ... PRICELESS

Did I mention tears?