working as GN vs. waiting to your RN license

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    I'm about to graduate in July and the search-for-a-job frenzy is beginning. I'm also going to attend another college in the fall so I can work on my bachelor's degree so I only want to work part-time. Also, I would feel move confident working with my license than as a GN.

    My question is basically, will it look bad to HR or a nursing manager that I waited to get my license?
  2. 22 Comments so far...

  3. 0
    How long are you planning to wait to get your license? I took the NCLEX about two months after graduation. That gave me enough time to brush up on the old material that I haven't seen in a while and also the material that I wasn't so comfortable with in nursing school.

    I know for myself I took a RN job while I had my GN but wanted to take the NCLEX before coming off orientation because the potential of not passing the NCLEX.

    I can the reason for you waiting to apply to a job when you have your RN.
    Last edit by tyloo on Mar 26, '12 : Reason: punctuation
  4. 1
    No, it won't look bad. Many new grads focus on studying for their licenses first, then apply for jobs. Actually, I did that, and it not only didn't hurt me, it helped: they knew I was a "sure thing" who wasn't going to soak up money in orientation, etc only to fail and have to be placed as a tech until next testing date. I got offered jobs others didn't. There was no mystery with me

    However, don't let to much time pass: it's easy to explain that you were studying as a full-time job for a couple of months before the NCLEX, it's another to explain a six-month hiatus.
    lisaannjamRN likes this.
  5. 2
    Not long, I'll try to go to a test date close to my graduation test to get it or give myself a few weeks. I'm not talking about waiting for months. I was just wondering how it was viewed. I felt pressured to find myself a GN job but I, in all honesty, rather have my license because I would feel awful working as a GN then fail NCLEX (hopefully not) but also it'll give me a better peace of mind and confidence.
    lisaannjamRN and RNsRWe like this.
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    I was one of the few who did this out of my class (take the time to study for NCLEX before seeking employment), and I believe it served me well. I started orientation fresh, able to focus fully on my new job and learning the myriad things needed to handle it. Many of my classmates, some of whom worked with me, were killing themselves studying in between shifts, adding stress to already-stressful days.

    I had no such stress. I had a license, and a job, and that was that. And my employer let it be known how happy SHE was that at least one of her new nurses had an actual license!
  7. 0
    Quote from justchill
    Not long, I'll try to go to a test date close to my graduation test to get it or give myself a few weeks. I'm not talking about waiting for months. I was just wondering how it was viewed. I felt pressured to find myself a GN job but I, in all honesty, rather have my license because I would feel awful working as a GN then fail NCLEX (hopefully not) but also it'll give me a better peace of mind and confidence.
    Oh good to hear that! Yes I understand you completely! There is a lot of pressure with your first RN job. I can see why you want to wait and there is nothing wrong with that. It is a major relief passing the NCLEX and when you can sign your name, "RN," sometimes I forget how special it is. Thanks for reminding me!
  8. 0
    Thank you for the reassurrance. I was thinking about the stress too since technically I'll be in school again.
  9. 0
    Quote from tyloo
    Oh good to hear that! Yes I understand you completely! There is a lot of pressure with your first RN job. I can see why you want to wait and there is nothing wrong with that. It is a major relief passing the NCLEX and when you can sign your name, "RN," sometimes I forget how special it is. Thanks for reminding me!
    Thank you so much, I was really starting to stress myself out over all of this especially since I graduate at an old time compared to regular colleges, I'm in a hospital based diploma program.
  10. 3
    First, not every state lets you work as a GN, so check with your BON (if you haven't yet already) as that may answer your question for you.

    The upside to working as a GN is that you can get started working as a nurse.

    The downside is that should you fail the NCLEX, you can no longer work as a GN--in fact, you can't work as a nurse again until you finally do pass. There's no guarantee that the hospital you were working at will hold your RN job for you--or even be able to place you as a tech--while you study for the retest. Downside #2 is that the real-world nursing habits you develop may not mesh with the ivory-tower nursing world of the NCLEX--you'll have to remind yourself that just because you do something a certain way at work doesn't mean that is always the correct answer on the NCLEX.

    What's the better answer? Only you can decide that. But should you decide NOT to work for the 2-3 months while you study for the NCLEX, it won't look bad.
    not.done.yet, Esme12, and BuckyBadgerRN like this.
  11. 0
    Yes, in Pennsylvania, I'm allowed to. I've heard horror stories about GNs failing then they had no job to go to anymore. I'm probably most likely going to wait until I have my license to remove some of the pressure. Me having a job does depend on a license but I don't want to be in the situation where me having a job literally depends on it in that moment.


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