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By Monique Nguyen
I graduated Nursing School in April 2021 and have been a New Grad ER Registered Nurse for roughly seven (7) months now. It has been a crazy ride! After graduating from nursing school, I was overwhelmed and confused about my next steps. So, let us talk about my life post-graduation!
Tip: Get the NCLEX first because you will have time to relax and enjoy before starting your first nursing job!
My first step was creating a calendar that helped me stay on track with my studies. I set about 1-2 months to study for the NCLEX. I printed out a blank calendar and divided up each system listed in the Saunders Comprehensive Review textbook. Saunders textbook was my go-to resource in studying for the NCLEX. Using my HESI exam results from my school tests, I allotted long periods for the subjects I was weak in. (P.S. the HESI scoring reports were helpful!)
As the studying process started, I would first review by reading the content at the beginning of each system in the Saunders textbook. I then would complete the questions at the end of each section. My advice was to read the rationales even if you got the question correct because each option’s reasoning was crucial in understanding the content. Lastly, a few days before my NCLEX, I completed the comprehensive review questions and used the code (provided inside the textbook) to practice more questions on the Elsevier website!
Tip: I used sticky notes to mark the questions that I got wrong in each system. Once I had gone through all of the content, I would re-do the questions that I got wrong to make sure I understood the content and answered the question correctly. It is not about memorizing the content; it’s about understanding it. Once you get the reasoning, the concepts begin to click better!
In Canada, to apply, your undergraduate school must submit that you are qualified to write the NCLEX. Once completed, you would register with the nursing governing board in your province (ex. CNO). In Ontario, you have to write a Jurisprudence exam (policy exam) before becoming a registered nurse (RN). After writing the NCLEX and passing, you pay the licensing fee before registering with your college!
Remember to polish up your resume before applying! Update your practicum experiences and recent work experience. Remember to arrive early and dress to impress. Ensure that you come to the interview prepared by reviewing common questions and having examples of scenarios. Depending on the type of unit or interview, you may answer scenario-based questions such as:
Always remember to ask questions at the end of your interview. Lastly, be confident in your answers and your interview skills!
I hope this will help you get excited about graduation, writing the NCLEX, and doing the registration process. I know you will do good on the NCLEX and land your first dream nursing job!
Believe in yourself because if you don’t then, who will?
Best of luck, nursing students! You’ve got this!