Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My Proudest Accomplishment

In all my (almost) 23 years of life, this particular day topped the charts.

I've had good days.
I've had bad days.
I've been proud.
I've been ashamed.
I've exceeded.
I've failed.
All of which have molded me into the unique person I am today.

Since 2011, I've hit some major milestones in my little life.
~ opened up and ran a functional brick and mortar storefront and two online websites
~ graduated nursing school from GSU
~ got married
~ expecting our first baby

Saturday, I woke up at daylight to get ready for a test I've prepared for for months on end.
The dreaded NCLEX (nursing licensure exam).

All the schooling and absolute H-E-double hockey sticks that you go through during nursing school and yes, you still have to take a national licensure examination to determine whether or not you can officially "practice" as a registered nurse. I guess it makes some sense, but all the tests and preparation during nursing school should suffice for something! If you don't pass this exam, you get no license. In which, you can't get a RN job. And basically, your entire four year degree = worthless.

In saying all of this.. I failed the NCLEX on my first attempt.

I waited until October 2011 to take it for the first time. From graduating in May, that was almost 6 months of no nursing refreshment. Mind you, my last semester of nursing school was complete in March. From March to May was my preceptorship and once that was complete, we waited for the day we would walk across the stage! My mind was very well occupied on planning a wedding and running my boutique during this time. I had been through two years of hellacious nursing school, and wanted to now focus on planning the wedding of my dreams and then buckle down and think about a future nursing career.

Wrong choice.

After waiting a month to finally get my results back, I got the dreaded call that I had not passed the examination. The NCLEX is comprised of a variety of questions. One can have as little as 75 or as many as 265. There's no rhyme or reason as to how many you will have other than the fact that you have to provide "minimal competency".. which you could gain at 75, 86, 165, or 265 - including anywhere in between. Each individual is different and it can cut off at any particular time. I've known students who passed at 75 and those who passed at 265. I've heard of those that failed at 75 and those that failed at 265 - I was that statistic.

My first attempt resulted in the dreaded 265 question maximum and four hour time frame.
Can you imagine?
I probably lost consciousness around question 125, if not before.

I felt like such a failure.
It was embarassing.
I hated to get asked the question "have you taken your nursing exam yet?" or "have you found a nursing job yet?" or even the funnest of them all "did you pass your NCLEX?!"

Hide my face.

Growing up I did well in school. I didn't put forth much effort, but did enough to get by and did surprisingly well. So to fail such a big test was devastating for me as I had always had no struggles with school whatsoever.

It took me 7 more months to gain enough courage and confidence in my ability to sign back up for a re-take.
Balancing a store, two websites, a husband, family, friends, housework, life in general, and trying to study and re-teach myself the basics of nursing (a year later!!) was quite a challenge.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to toot my own horn by any means.
I'm just being real and honest.

I've cried. I've been uptight. I've hollered and became easily angered over teeny tiny things.
 I've not been myself all because of this additional stress not passing this horrid test has brought upon me.
It was intimidating.

Not only did I feel like a complete idiot, but I felt like I had wasted a valuable college career studying something that would be of no worth to me.

I had lost sight of my dream goals of one day becoming a NICU nurse, eventually a nurse practitioner, and maybe one day going back to teach other nursing students. With a nursing job, I would be able to provide for myself and my family, have insurance, benefits, and start a savings and retirement fund.
All of these things were no longer in sight for me.

Yesterday, I signed onto my account to check the status of the exam results from Saturday.
Surprisingly, there on the side of the screen was the "quick results" tab I had hoped for but thought it would be another day or two before it become available.

I immediately clicked on it and entered in my checking account information in order to recieve my results right then and there.
After completing the information requested, my heart was pounding out of my chest and my hands were shaking and sweating.

It felt like a life or death situation.
The next click would either fill me with complete gratitude or break my heart into a million pieces.

When I clicked that little "next" button on the bottom right of the screen,
I couldn't believe my eyes.

I had PASSED this test.
I did it.
I had studied my butt off for the past several, several months and all the hard work and dedication had finally paid off.

Tears began streaming down my face.
My hands were shaking so terribly that I could barely life my phone from the counter.
I knew I wouldn't be able to talk if I attempted to call anyone, so I took a picture of the computer screen and forwarded out a text message to those who were anticipating the results.

It felt SO good.
I cry as I'm typing this because it makes me SO happy.

I can now grasp those goals that I once admired and lived for.
Although there are several different aspects of life that has changed for me since I made those goals years ago, I still hope to achieve them one day.
Now, they seem possible.

I look back and think, above all, God's timing is so perfect.
We couldn't want such great news at a better time.
With expecting a baby in December - the jobs we both currently possess, insurance isn't readily available. We've been stressing about this concept along with the fact that we will have another mouth to feed and provide for. With my income from my boutique a year into business, it isn't a whole lot.

I hope to seek out a part-time or PRN nursing job close to home so that I can obtain some nursing experience and put this degree and hard earned work to good use.

Things are beginning to finally look up and I couldn't feel more at ease with life at this time.



  1. Congratulations! I just took mine in June and it feels like a huge weight has been lifted!

  2. Congrats that is such an accomplishment! I am attempting to go to school for nursing I however didn't get into the program but I am still gonna try next year. I also wanna become a nurse practioner and work in the NICU!

  3. Congrats girl! I remember the day I found out that I passed my boards! I couldn't sit still & had a permenant smile on my face. NCLEX is dreadful but now its over & you can move onto fullfilling your dreams! From one nurse to another: Congrats, Congrats, Congrats!

  4. Congratulations! :) I have been in the testing nightmare before! When I first began teaching, I had to pass (of course) a series of test to get my certificate. I was caught up in the testing change over at the time (Georgia was switching testing companies, etc.) which made it easier and harder because no one had took it I knew of! The final time I checked to make sure I had passed one of the parts - I did! I zoomed down the stairs so fast to make the grand announcement I don't even remember doing so! I know that is a big weight off of your shoulders! Congratulations all around for all of your good news! :)

  5. congrats sweet girl!! i am doing the lpn to rn bridge program and i remember taking my test for my lpn license... i got the 265 too... i passed the first time but i totally didn't think i did... now i have to think bout the 2nd test and it makes me nervous !! congrats to you i know how important it is~~

  6. I'm crying as I read this. I'm SOOOOOOOOOOOOO happy for you as I know {&& probably don't really know} the stress it's caused you. I'm so happy!

    Life is definitely up & down hills, it's a roller coaster ride on fire but the GOOD always out-weighs the BAD. && The bad always has good, it makes us stronger && work hard to learn appreciation for things we have && things we want in life.

    Way to go Cait♥ I'm so proud of you!
    Life is good today!

  7. Just now reading this but CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!