Almost exactly 2 months after completing my final exam at J. Sarg, I sit down to the most important (and expensive) of my nursing career – the infamous NCLEX! Aka the state boards exam. This nerve-wracking test is the bane of all nursing students. It is designed to test you at the highest level of Bloom’s taxonomy; Application and Analysis. This is the most difficult level of testing because it requires advanced critical thinking.
As soon as I got my Authorization To Test (ATT) letter from the Virginia Department of Health Professions, I schedule the NCLEX test at the next available time; exactly 2 weeks away! Had I been doing my practice questions faithfully every day? Nope! Did I think that I was ready to take it? Not really. As The Day got closer, my anxiety and stress increased. “If I don’t pass, does that mean I’m not ready to be a nurse?” My self-confidence in my nursing ability is already fragile, probably not helped by my last, very difficult, give-little-praise clinical instructor. But, after discussing the test with a former student who already took (and passed) the NCLEX with little studying, I maintained my resolve to take the test on September 29, which happened to be the same day David and I were going out of town to spend the weekend in the mountains of Lovingston, VA!
The morning of the test, I got up “early” to go to a yoga class. I’m really not all into the whole Eastern-medicine/meditation/yin-yang thing, but I always feel calmer after doing an hour’s worth of yoga. Afterwards, I dash home to finish packing for our trip, go the the testing center (45 minutes early), and take the test!
The NCLEX is designed to test the student for minimum competency. This means that if you answer enough questions correctly, the computer decides you have enough critical thinking and skill to work as a nurse, and you will answer only the minimum 75 questions. However, if you just totally bomb every question, the computer decides you are way too lousy to safely care for patients, and you will only get the minimum 75 questions. If you are really close to demonstrating competency, the computer will keep giving you questions… up to 265!
Fortunately, I only got 75 questions. I do not have the patience to sit still for 6 hours, let alone concentrate on test questions! So, since I got the minimum number of questions, that means I either did really well and passed, or really badly and failed. But, what’s done was done, and there was nothing I could do except finish packing and enjoy my mountain getaway with David!
I will be forever grateful to Orchard House Bed and Breakfast for internet access. I woke up Friday morning, ate breakfast, then got on the computer to check (for the 5th time) if I passed. Sure enough, I checked the Current Licensees section and my name popped up on the search, right along with my license number!!!
So, it’s official – I’m Caty Winyard, RN!!!!!!!!!!!
So, what’s next? you ask.
Well, I am registered to begin classes at Liberty University Online, where I plan on getting my Bachelor’s degree. After that, I hope to apply to VCU’s School of Nursing for their Master’s program to fulfill my goal of becoming a Nurse Practitioner! Of course, that is easily another 3 years down the road, and who knows where the Lord will take me. I’m also looking for a job at a hospital here in Richmond to gain experience as an RN. While I’d like to work with pediatrics, those jobs usually require experience. So, I’m gonna do my time in Med-Surg (ugh) before moving on.
Thank you for putting up with my rants, tears, trials, and triumphs through this nursing program! While I do so hope it will be easier from here, there are no guarantees. However, I am excited to see what paths the Lord decides to open for this continuing nursing student!
Will you join me?