Hello, I have read several posts about people who had questions about Challenging the NCLEX-PN here in California, and I would like to share my two cents on the matter because I have sucessfully challenged the NCLEX-PN in California.
I was inclined to challenge the NCLEX-PN because I had finished a fundamentals of Nursing course in a traditional 2 year ADN program and had five years acute care experience as a CNA/Tech. In January 2012, I sent in my application to BVNPT to challenge the NCLEX-PN. I had my manager sign off my work experience form because I had successfully met all criteria in terms of clinical requirements at my hospital over the last five years. The BVNPT requires 48 months paid bedside experience on a Med/Surg floor, and then 6 weeks in pediatrics and 6 weeks in Maternity. I have worked on Med-Surg since being a New-Grad CNA back in '07, and have been cross-trained to float in the Emergency Department and in the OB. If you take care of any patient 17 or under in the Emergency department (or in any setting) they are considered a pediatric patient. Over the past five years, I accumulated all of that, and in my first semester of Nursing school in the ADN program, I took a separate pharmacology course as part of the program. I sent in a signed work experience form by my supervisor sealed in an envelope with our hospitals stamp on it, and I sent in an official transcript from my University to meet the pharmacology requirement.
In addition, I had to pay to have my live scan done and had that completed(and send in a copy of the completed livescan form to the Board with my application), I sent in a passport photo and a check for $150. The BVNPT cashed my check three weeks later and Exactly 16 weeks from the day I applied, I received an envelope in the mail approving my application and directing me to register with pearson vue and pay the additional $200 to them in order to receive my ATT (authorization to test). I immediately did so online, and received my ATT via email moments later. I scheduled my NCLEX in San Francisco online via the pearson website, and set the date for July 21, 2012, giving me two months to prepare. I did the ATI NCLEX review course online, and did tons of Saunders practice questions. I went in feeling very nervous and took the test and it shut off at 85 questions (the minimum amount). To date(three days later) I have not yet received my official results, however I do get this message when trying to re-register:"Our records indicate that you have recently scheduled this exam. Please contact your Member Board for further assistance. Another registration cannot be made at this time."
I have read multiple people's testimonies online regarding challenging the LVN boards based on work experience. I have heard things such as they think it is "unsafe", "ridiculous", and the list goes on. I would just like to say that I would feel much more confident working with a new LVN that has had the five years experience that I carry and has seen what I have seen, over a new-grad LVN. I am not trying to toot my horn, but the Board does not just hand over an LVN license to any incompetent person. If you have the experience, and you can actually pass the NCLEX, then I believe that one is ready to start out as a new LVN. The NCLEX is designed to determine the level of Safety of the applicant, and I know multiple graduates of an Accredited LVN program who have failed the test more than once. And these people are all, for lack of a better term, clinically incompetent individuals as CNAs, so it doesn't surprise me that they have failed a test that requires critical thinking.
I worked very hard to learn this material and to pass this test, and I am happy that California offers this to applicants. In May 2013, I'll be finished with my ADN and ready to take my NCLEX-RN, and believe that I am that much more prepared by achieving the LVN license. Next, I will have to pay another $150 to the BVNPT as an inital license fee, for a total of $600 between the application fee, the NCSBN NCLEX-PN registration fee, and initial license fee. All I can tell people is that if you think that you have the background, get it signed off and mail it in and do it. I did, I took the risk not knowing ANYONE who had done this, and here is where it has gotten me. If you have any questions on how to achieve your LVN license this method, I am very knowledgeable and prepared to answer any questions.