Nurse Lyssie, RN !!
Hello Friends of NurseLyssie!
My deepest apologies for not blogging lately, But a lot of things have been happening since October 14th.
First and foremost…
I PASSED THE BOARDS!!
I am proud to announce that I am officially an RN.
So as you can imagine, I was busybusy with studying as things got down to the wire.
October 20 was the big day.
Obviously, I took the 19th off of work. Although my original intention was to dedicate that day to relaxation, my neuroticism took over and I spent every waking minute reviewing, worrying, and practicing. For a millisecond, I even considered changing my test date to the next week. But then the voice of reason spoke up, and I realized that would be simply ridiculous and I just needed to get this damn thing over with. A little after 1:00 am, I forced myself to call it quits. So much for relaxing.
Being Little Miss Paranoid, I set 4 alarms for the next morning.
6:00: My first alarm goes off. I can’t believe I’d actually thought I’d be motivated enough to wake up at this God awful hour and study just a little bit more. Hah, snoozed that shit immediately.
7:00: My second alarm goes off. This was intended to start bringing me to consciousness, just in case I was comatose. It worked.
7:30: My third alarm goes off. It was time to start mentally preparing myself for pealing myself from my comfy warm bed. Augh…
7:45: The fourth alarm. -_- Just a few more minutes… So I set a fifth for 8:00
But before it could go off, my mom was barking at me from downstairs,
“ARE YOU AWAKE? YOU DON’T WANT TO SLEEP THROUGH YOUR TEST!”
I can’t believe she actually thought I could be that irresponsible.
The NCLEX had been this overshadowing demon for nearly four years, this dreadful thing I knew I’d have to face. And after spending months trying to prepare for it, and literally draining my bank account to afford the $430 fee, I was far beyond ready to face it and forget about it forever.
9:00: I gathered up all of my “Lucky Charms.” Call me superstitious. I put on my “This Is My Lucky Board Button,” my Grandmother’s Virgin Mary necklace, my Great-Grandmother’s cross, pinned on my Nursing pin, and stuffed a note from one of my favorite patients in my bra. Now, that might sound really weird, but I didn’t want to lose it in my pocket. And it’s a good thing I put it there, because I’m pretty sure his ‘good luck note’ would have been taken away and mistaken for some sort of cheat sheet.
9:15: I pulled out of my driveway to gather the few essentials before leaving town.
Energy drink? Check.
Smokes? Check. [Please, hold your criticisms. My stress level was at an all-time extreme high.]
9:29: I hit the road, right on time. In fact, I was a whole minute early! This is extremely rare for me.
10:13: I arrived at Alewife T-Station in Cambridge. I snaked through the parking garage level by level. There were literally NO parking spots. I should have anticipated that, considering how close it is to Boston, and that I strolled in there midmorning on a weekday. In utter desperation, I was shamefully considering parking in a handicap spot and just forking up the fine money because those were the only spots left. Until I remembered there was a roof, and I could park on it. So I did.
10:25: After running down fourteen flights of stairs (not exaggerating.) I bought my CharlieCard and scurried to the platform. The Red Line T was already there. No sooner did I hop on, we were off to Boston.
I sat there like a stereotype, silent with my headphone on, just watching everyone around me. I couldn’t help but wonder where everyone else was heading. I wondered if anyone was as panicked as I was, even though I didn’t look it.
I stared at the pages of my NCLEX book blankly.
C’mon brain, WORK. Absorb just a few more things…
And after five minutes of failed attempts, I closed that thing for the last time.
I either know it or I don’t.
11:02: The T pulled into Boston’s South Station. And according to the map, I was just around the corner from Pearson’s testing center. After about 10 minutes of wandering around somewhat aimlessly, I found it. And I still had 45 minutes to kill.
11:16: I set up camp on a stone wall in this little city square. Over the next 40 minutes, I chain smoked and practiced questions with the NCLEX App.
Seriously, that thing proved to be so fucking handy. Highly recommend it. Totally worth the wopping $1.99 I paid.
11:58: I walked in and took the elevator to the 2nd floor. I was kind of caught off guard by how small and office-like it was. In my head, I was picturing this massive, echoey, cold room with miserable test-takers galore. Wrong. More like this little back room in an office with maybe 10 computers, and it wasn’t cold.
12:05: I started the check-in process, which was intense to say the least. After I handed over my ATT form & driver’s license, they took my picture, fingerprinted me, and palm-printed me on both hands. Then, I was given a locker where I had to put anything & everything in.
Just as I was about to walk in, an old friend from UMass, whom I hadn’t seen since my freshman year was walking out after finishing some sort of professional test he had to finish. And given that he lives nowhere near Boston, I found it rather ironic. Small world.
12:17: After making sure I peed, I sat down at my test station & began. The last thing I needed was a full bladder while trying to take this thing. It felt surreal when that first question popped up. This is it. Here I go, this is the real deal. After answering the first 5 or so, I started to get used to it. I cruised through, glancing up to see what number I was on every so often. And then I hit question 74. Okay, this thing could shut off at any moment after 75. And my anxiety was back.
2:24PM: At question 76, my computer shut off…… Are you kidding me? As the computer buffered what it would load next, I was in disbelief. Is this thing over, or is it time for my optional break at the 2-hour point?
‘Thank You. Your test has now ended.”
The system knew right then and there whether I had passed or failed. But I wouldn’t know until 48 hours had passed. I gathered my belongings, and headed out.
2:35PM: I parked it in the exact spot I had before the test. I felt like utter shit. I had a flood of text messages from friends wishing me good luck, and so I started with responding to those. Then forum after forum of nurses who had taken the NCLEX and had it shut off at 75 wondering whether or not they had passed or failed, because 75 questions means one of two things. I either demonstrated my competency within the bare minimum, or I had screwed up to the point where answering 190 more questions STILL wouldn’t be enough to prove myself.
I swear 1/3 to ½ of my questions were “Select all that apply.” I SUCK at these, and I know that for a fact, because more often than not, I would get them wrong. Not because I didn’t know the topic and content, but because there is no such thing as partial credit with these questions on the NCLEX. If I missed an answer that should have been selected, it would be wrong. If I selected an extra answer, in addition to the ones that should be selected, WRONG. I was screaming inside my head, trying to remain cool, calm, and collected in public.
After reading the forums, I scribbled down every topic I could remember that had come up in the questions, just in case I’d failed and wanted to review. I was SO tempted to toss my review book in the trash so that I didn’t have to keep lugging it around the city and all the way home, but I couldn’t. What if I failed and want to review it if I have to start studying again?
3:40PM: My ass was getting soar from sitting on that stonewall, and I had to get up and away from that center now. I knew I was just a stone’s throw from Downtown Crossing, and it had been payday. $$$ According to my UrbanQ App, H&M was only 265 yds. Away from where I was sitting. I whipped up some walking directions and went on my merry way to partake in some therapeutic shopping. And that was just what the Doctor ordered (teehee).
6:20PM: As darkness began to fall, I figured it probably wouldn’t be too smart for me to be wandering around Boston alone. And so I hopped on the Red Line in Downtown Crossing and headed back towards Alewife.
7:15PM: I hopped back in my car. All in a day’s work. After spending 45 minutes bumper-to-bumper with cars trying to get out of the garage, I was finally heading home.
And I spent the rest of my night drinking beers with my good friends at the Spruce Street Tavern. It could have been a celebration, but because I couldn’t know whether I’d passed or failed, it felt more like a means of mental rehabilitation.
Two days later, around 1:15PM, I logged into Pearson and saw my results were available. It would cost me $7.00 to see, but they were there. For the next 2 hours, I obsessed and procrastinated viewing them. I was certain I’d failed and didn’t want to face the truth. Around 3:00, I went to visit one of my best friends at work and decided I would unveil the results in his company for moral support. So I paid the fee, clenched my teeth, and through squinted eyes, I glanced at the only word I needed to see.
I leaped up, screamed, and lunged into his arms. And then a screamed some more, jumped and danced around, and obnoxiously sung about how I’d passed. Thank God there weren’t any customers in the store at that moment.
But from that moment, I was on Cloud 9.