Failed NCLEX multiple times

  1. A question to all of the experienced nurses out there. I have seen multiple threads on this forum started by people who have taken the NCLEX multiple times and still can't pass. These threads are always responded to with words of sympathy, encouragement to not give up, study tips, and stories of great nurses that didn't pass the first time. My question is how many times would someone need to fail before you wouldn't want them to be the nurse taking care of you or your family member? I don't want to discourage anyone from success, but then again I'm not sure if I would want a nurse who took more than 2 tries to pass boards taking care of me or someone I cared about. How many times do you all think a person should be able to test before they need to look elsewhere for a career?
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  2. 44 Comments

  3. by   Brownms46
    Shoot I know people who have passed the first time, that I wouldn't want taking care of me or anyone else I care or don't care about! A good test taker, doesn't mean their a good nurse.

    There was a student in my class...that the instructor realized that she had test anxiety, and knew she knew the material. She took her on top of the roof at the hospital we were doing clinicals in, and gave it to her verbally. This person had the compassion, and the knowledge, but would totally freeze when it came to big tests. She made it all the way thru the program...but don't know if she passed boards.


    I was reading about an article on taking tests...and one of the preps was for the person to gain control over their anxiety, as this was supposedly one of the reason first time NCLEX takers failed. So it would depend on why the person failed, not how many times they did.
  4. by   gij1
    I hope you do not have a challenge sometime in your life and everyone tells you just to give up. The NCLEX is very challenging statistically for males, English is 2nd language, & those who suffer test anxiety. There are of course a few students who just do not and will never understand the concepts and these are the ones who should not be nurses. But the MAJORITY of who got through the challenge of nursing school, probably will & should pass. Brickman i suppose you were ones of those who got straight "A"s & never once had a difficult time in clinicals.
  5. by   rosemadder
    An acquaintance of mine took boards five times....is she a good nurse? She is a very compassionate person who has an anxiety problem with tests.....and I think once you fail boards one time it can only get increasingly harder each time...it is such a hell of a nightmare in itself....me, I passed on the first round and am still amazed cause I think it was the hardest thing I ever did in my life....am I a good nurse ? (I pray each time I go to work to provide the best possible care for each patient and that is all I can do)...
  6. by   lady_jezebel
    For safety reasons, most states have limited the number of times a candidate can take the test before they have to undergo another nursing program. I think it's a good thing for the profession & the public. Though test anxiety is a real phenomenon, it can/should be dealt with before taking the nclex - people in the healthcare field must be able to make quick decisions under pressure. I personally would not want to have a nurse or doc who could not pass the boards by at least the second time. Sorry, but that's my true opinion.
  7. by   angel337
    Quote from Brickman
    A question to all of the experienced nurses out there. I have seen multiple threads on this forum started by people who have taken the NCLEX multiple times and still can't pass. These threads are always responded to with words of sympathy, encouragement to not give up, study tips, and stories of great nurses that didn't pass the first time. My question is how many times would someone need to fail before you wouldn't want them to be the nurse taking care of you or your family member? I don't want to discourage anyone from success, but then again I'm not sure if I would want a nurse who took more than 2 tries to pass boards taking care of me or someone I cared about. How many times do you all think a person should be able to test before they need to look elsewhere for a career?
    when you take the boards, i think your thoughts will change. i passed the first time, but let me tell ya...that test is nothing like school. you'll see. patients will never know who past the first, second or third time. i think it is mostly due to test anxiety. i know two people that were 4.0 students who failed, so there is really know way of knowing how well you will do. nursing school is too hard to just give up and also you can't graduate with anything less than a C so that must mean you can be a nurse. just my 2 cents.
  8. by   Sheri257
    Quote from Brickman
    My question is how many times would someone need to fail before you wouldn't want them to be the nurse taking care of you or your family member? I don't want to discourage anyone from success, but then again I'm not sure if I would want a nurse who took more than 2 tries to pass boards taking care of me or someone I cared about. How many times do you all think a person should be able to test before they need to look elsewhere for a career?
    I'm glad you've raised this issue. I've often wondered about this myself. This is where the unwritten rule that every post has to be sympathetic kinda bothers me.

    I know there are exceptions, but the fact is, they are exceptions. Afterall, 85 percent of nursing students nationwide manage to pass the first time. Most of the people who don't pass tests, especially a critical one like this, are the same people who don't prepare. Test anxiety usually has nothing to do with it. The best solution for test anxiety is to know your stuff. If you don't then, yeah, you're going to have test anxiety.

    A lot of these people who fail simply get by in school and try to do as little work as possible. The good students who have worked their butt off the entire time usually have no problem with the NCLEX. It's actually easy for them compared with the tests they took in nursing school.

    It seems taboo to talk about this aspect of the situation, even though it's the most obvious explanation for multiple NCLEX failures. But I'll go out on a limb and say it anyway: No, I would not want these people as my nurse.

    Last edit by Sheri257 on Apr 24, '04
  9. by   BeachNurse
    [QUOTE=Brownms46]Shoot I know people who have passed the first time, that I wouldn't want taking care of me or anyone else I care or don't care about! A good test taker, doesn't mean their a good nurse.

    Yep!
  10. by   fab4fan
    Let's see...an honors student I went to school with, who passed the first time, didn't understand why you need to prime IV tubing before you connect it.

    I was shocked I passed the first time. Test anxiety is a terrible thing, and it is horrible to know that your whole career hangs on that one test (personally, I think the new system is even worse).
  11. by   Angelica
    There was a girl in my graduating class who failed the NCLEX. Did not surprise me one bit. And, no, I would not want her as my nurse. She was a very sweet person, but.........

    Anyway, I know there are plenty of people who make wonderful nurses after having failed the test. However, there are also some people who fail repeatedly for a reason and should consider a career change.
  12. by   Brickman
    Do any of you think it would be ok to have an alternative test such as a verbal one or the old 2 days of fill in the bubble for those who fail more than once? I have nothing but sympathy for those who suffer from test anxiety. Two of the people I studied with suffered from it and didn't make through the first semester. They have gone back and will both make great nurses someday I am sure of it. I agree with the poster who said that once you fail the first time it will become increasingly harder as anxiety goes up.
  13. by   Mithrah
    Can someone who has test anxiety please explain it to me? I just don't understand how someone feels when testing. Do you get tachycardic? Do you sweat? Do you lose all focus?
  14. by   JacelRN
    Mithrah,

    I am one of those who suffered from it. Not so much during the paper and pencil tests, but boy did I feel it during the NCLEX.

    My heart started racing, my mouth got dry, I felt a wave of nausea overcome me, and I started getting dizzy. And mind you, I have NEVER experienced anything like this before. It's just the idea of your whole career as a nurse riding on one test. It was gruelling and the panic attack overwhelmed my senses. I had to close my eyes and calm my heart down...literally.

    Needless to say, I am one of those nurses who had to retake her NCLEX several times. Do I see a big difference in my practice as a nurse compared to those of my colleagues who passed without hindrance? YES! I work very hard just like I worked hard to pass the test. But other than that...we are all the same, people taking care of people.

    Good luck all those with test anxiety...there is hope.

    JacelRN

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