Am I on the right track?

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    First, I'm 45 and this will be my second career. I graduated with my ADN last May, passed the NCLEX in June, and I will graduate with my BSN in early July. I'm living on the E. coast, but have always planned to relocate to the Pacific Northwest once I had my BSN. I've got family in the Bellingham and Seattle area and I'm moving out there late July. I'm in the process of getting my license endorsed for WA. I will renew my BLS in June and I've got the online review for the ACLS and I plan to take the skills test early August, then start looking for work. My sister-in-law has a friend who is a long-time nurse at a local facility and has offered to let me pick her brain, and to put in a good word for me. I'm single and my kids are grown, so I'm up for any shift, pretty much anywhere to get my start.

    I feel like I've got all my ducks in a row, but after a year in the BSN program, my confidence in my ability to do actual nursing is a bit shaken. I've woken up from nightmares where I'm being tested on vital signs and have forgotten them all, much less EKG or pharma. Horror stories of being charge nurse after a week from some of my nursing school cohort who landed in LTC hasn't helped either. I plan to buy a tablet small enough to fit in a scrubs cargo pocket and load it with the Nursing Central package: drug guide, lab ref, procedure ref, etc. as a support, both confidence and logistical, but still...

    Any advice on a good way to refresh my basic nursing knowledge if studying for the ACLS doesn't feel like enough?
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    Nimashet -- it sounds like you have a good plan! I graduated from nursing school almost 7 years ago and I couldn't be happier with my career choice. About your lack of confidence in being a good nurse..My advice to you is not to worry so much. Easier said than done, huh?

    As a new graduate nurse, others don't expect you to know everything. There's nothing wrong with keeping references on you and using them regularly. I admit that I still look up funky labs, medications, how to do certain physical exams and procedures, etc. No one ever thinks less of me because I use my resources. Nursing school doesn't even come close to preparing you for the real world. The only way to develop even the most basic nursing skills is to practice. Studying helps, but the benefit is much less than actual practice.

    If you're worried about LTC, why don't you try something a little slower paced to start out with? Otherwise, demand a proper orientation (at least 6 weeks) and don't accept a charge position until you feel comfortable. Remember, it's YOUR license.

    I hope this helped. Good luck to you!

    Cheers,

    Ginger
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    There is a very tight job market in the PacNW right now. It would help if you gained some experience prior to attempting to relocate. You're going to be competing with a huge number of new grads in that area, so it's great that you are open to working in LTC. I don't know of many LTCs that have > 1 month orientation period.

    FWIW, many state BONs have some guidelines that are designed to protect new grads. In Tx, NGs cannot be put into 'charge' positions until they have 12 months of experience. You may want to take a look at the Wa NPA so you know what you're dealing with.
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    It's a really tight job market in the Philadelphia area too, so getting experience here is no easier than getting it in the Seattle area, I'm afraid. We've got at least 11 nursing schools in the area. I've got a good support network in NW WA, family and friends, so my odds are actually better there. I hadn't thought about checking out the WA regs... thanks for the idea!
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    Thanks!


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