Yes, me. I am now a Registered Nurse (RN).
Quite honestly, it felt like it was taking eons to add those letters behind my name but in hindsight, it feels like that was the fastest 4 years of my life.
The process of actually becoming a nurse, post graduation, was not what I expected. It was confusing, stressful and slightly overwhelming. I wasn’t prepared for the gut-wrenching episodes of anxiety that ensued while: A. Waiting for my Authorization To Test (ATT) from Pearson Vue, B. The 24 hours prior to actually taking the NCLEX, and C. Waiting for the NCLEX results.
A. Waiting for my ATT – I received my ATT 19 days after graduating. Nineteen days of anticipation just to SIGN UP for a date to take the NCLEX. From what I hear, this is a pretty standard timeframe, however, I had been told it should only take a week. So… Anxiety.
B. The 24 hours prior to actually taking the NCLEX – I sat for boards 13 days after receiving my ATT. Every website, book, person, etc, told me NOT to study the day before. Pamper yourself and relax, is what I was told. …RELAX?! Yeah right. I broke the rules and took another practice test, just to make sure my scores were still above passing (I don’t suggest… It didn’t ease my nerves).
C. Waiting for the NCLEX results – I found out that I was a State of Minnesota Licensed RN 26 hours after leaving the Pearson Vue testing center. My initial reaction to my computer going blank at 75 questions was YES, I PASSED. That lasted about 30 seconds, then I doubted my self for the next 25.99 hours. Pearson Vue hadn’t actually released my results yet, but I found myself on the state registry with an “RN Active” next to my name and license number. Tears of joy and alcoholic beverages ensued.
SO. Why am I here, sharing this information with YOU?
I am here to share my journey, in the raw, from post graduation to ICU nursing and beyond. I am starting on a Cardiac Surgery/Heart Transplant Intensive Care Unit, where I will be caring for adult and pediatric populations (eeek!). Another part of being a new grad in many hospitals include completing a Nurse Residency Program. These are designed to facilitate new nurse graduates transition from the role of ‘student’ to ‘professional nurse’.
I, my friends, am in what they call the honeymoon phase of being a new graduate nurse. I am excited and eager to learn anything and everything. Next, will come the shock phase, where the reality of my day-to-day responsibilities will set in. This can be very overwhelming, however, Nurse Residency Programs are often built to aide in coping with what we call reality shock for nurses. Hopefully not too long after the shock phase, will come the recovery and resolution phases, which typically occur about a year after starting one’s nursing career.
The first year of my nursing career starts TOMORROW. I have all the feels tonight as I’m taking the time to reflect on the rollercoaster of a ride that brought me here. If you’re an aspiring or seasoned nurse, I hope the upcoming adventures can bring learning points, advice, laughs and maybe even a little inspiration. I’m a rookie blogger, so hang in there with me and let’s get this nursing career started!!
Much love, D.