Quote from emyaj
I fully rely on FAFSA and scholarships
to pay my tuiton, so I think a private university is out of the question for me, but that's a great suggestion. Sounded like it worked out really well for you.
I actually have 6+ years working as a caregiver. I took the NAC class in 2006 but was unable to complete all my clinical hours because they conflicted with my job at the nursing home (I was working a lot of crazy doubles.) I have my NAR as well as my fundamentals of care because I do mainly assisted/retirement facilities or in home care, so I haven't needed my NAC. I will be getting my NAC over the summer through my college, though!
Would it be wise for me to begin studying with an NCLEX book sooner rather than later?
I hear you about the tuition costs and FAFSA! The reason I went for the private school is also due to my age... I'm 43, changing careers, lost my accounting job in 2009... so I wanted/needed to transition as soon as possible. I now have $30K worth of student loans (even after Pell Grant), but that is my situation. I would have stayed cleared from loans if I had the time to wait.
Would it be wise for you to study from an NCLEX book now? I think it's a bit too early for that because in order to learn how to think critically, you need to have the knowledge. I would suggest that you first concentrate on the TEAS test, then move on to Fundamentals of Nursing and Health Assessment (typically the first two subjects taught in nursing core classes ~ though some schools teach them prior to nursing school).
I think the "Reviews and Rationales" series from Mary Ann Hogan are the bomb! The series of books are available by topic and a catch-all NCLEX-RN book. They all come with clear and concise concepts, NCLEX styles questions and CD for more practice.
If you are into audio, try getting the Hurst review. This lady has a strong southern accent, she is hilarious and very savvy !!
Also... Kaplan's "The RN Course Book" is pretty good as well. It is meant for students who are taking their classes at Kaplan University, but you can find cheap older versions in Amazon
. They all have the same info with a few small changes. Good review for diseases and medications.
Best wishes !!!!