Thursday 29 September 2016

I wasn't the highest achiever in nursing school. I went in to it with straight A's, but I'm a mother of 3 and couldn't stand the thought of not devoting at least some of my time to my family throughout school. I worked part time, went to school (BSN) full time, spent as much time as I could with my little family, and studied when I could shove it in.
Dealing with the Disappointment - Not passing NCLEX the first time

A little background - Nursing is a second career for me. I use to HATE my job and was devastated every morning when my alarm went off. In 2009, when the economy fell, my husband lost his job and it fell to me to keep up on all the bills - which only made the situation less joyful (if that was possible.) During that time we fell behind on all our bills - I hated money and the crappy situation we were in. So in 2010 when my husband started working again I decided I wasn't going to continue to be miserable and I would do something meaningful with my life - so I started on the road to nursing school.

During nursing school I wasn't the smartest student in class, but I had an intuition when working with patients and received praise during / after most of my clinicals. After graduation I felt invincible - I made it through nursing school and finally, in my 30's got my BSN. After graduation I applied and was accepted to a Versant program. Only one last hurdle - the NCLEX!

I opted to take the Kaplan review and studied that for 2 months before taking the NCLEX. My Kaplan scores ranged from the high 40's in the beginning, to the mid 60's toward the end of the program (my readiness score was 66.) So, In early September, I felt as though I was ready (according to Kaplan anyway) and set off to take THE test

Now, I am NOT an anxiety plagued test taker - in general. However, the moment I sat down to take the NCLEX my anxiety went through the roof! 6 years of school, 6 years of not giving my all to my family, 6 years of working part time (and living pay check to pay check), landing my dream job / after graduation situation, all came down to this one test.

By the time I hit 75 questions I felt like I could melt in to the floor. I got up, went to the bathroom, dried my arm pits as much as I could, cried a little, gave myself a pep talk, and went back in to the test. The anxiety never went away. I sat there sweating, heart racing, vision going blurry for the WHOLE 265 questions!!

I walked out of the test in a haze having no idea what had just happened to me. I felt euphoric (that word always seemed nice to me - euphoria - but crap.... this sucked.) Later that evening I tried that PVT and did not get the "good pop up". A week went by in absolute agony. When my letter came my husband called me, asked for my permission to open it, and broke the bad news to me "We're sorry to inform you..."

I was devastated. When I called the hospital to let them know my results - they said "Thank you very much, please apply again during the next cycle." I lost my dream job. Over the past couple of weeks I've given the situation a lot of thought (It's consumed me, really) trying to figure out what happened, where did I fall short, and WHY ME?! Today I am still a little embarrassed that I did not pass. All my friends are starting their new jobs and I feel left behind - that's the hardest part. My kids are still young enough that they really don't have any idea what's going on or how hurt I've been - which I am very very grateful for. I feel like I have I let them down (which, to see them, really isn't the case.)

Dealing with the Disappointment - Not passing NCLEX the first time

However, know this: I am not ashamed, and if you find yourself in my shoes, you shouldn't be either. I believe we all have a purpose in this life - it's up to us to figure out what it is. Maybe my not passing this time will lead me down the path for which I am meant - the path where I can do the most good. The same is true for you. Do your best. Pick up the pieces that all fell apart and get back at it. You are on this path for a reason - follow through with it! I know in my heart that I will be a great nurse some day and so will you. I don't know you, but I feel your pain - I wish I could take it all away and show you your happy ending.

You are going to be OK! Truthfully - this bump in the road is only a few months delay. You're going to get another chance at this god awful test and you're gonna punch it in the face! Figure out where things went wrong. You graduated school, so you've got the "stuff" - you just need to figure out how to show it. Many fantastic nurses did not pass the NCLEX on the first try. Lets be those fantastic nurses together!! Buckle down and I'll see you when we both have RN after our names.


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