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zibtherealnurse zibtherealnurse (New Member) New Member

Big DILEMMA - Take NCLEX after 25 yrs OR Take a $2500 course to reactivate?

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Hi everyone.

I could REALLY use some advice. I've been out of the workforce for approximately 10 years and it's been a quarter of a century since I graduated and took the NCLEX (1994). I made the foolish mistake of not keeping my license active because I had too many other people to worry about.....

I had to stop working due to a disability and complications from a life threatening illness. Then,

I got so wrapped up in taking care of my brother with Alzheimer's, my mother who had physical and mental issues and then both of the passing away, and on top of that.....homeschooling my now 19 yr old son that I kept putting off renewing my license to my own detriment. Furthermore, I didn't anticipate that financially, I'd NEED to try and work again. My savings are gone, 1 kid still home but in college and I'm divorced. My financial future is bleak. Paying my bills is getting harder and harder. Anyway:

In PA one has 2 choices to reactivate.

1) Take the NCLEX again OR

2) Take a PA "state approved reactivation course" that costs $2500.00 (which has its own challenges for me, specifically)

Money obviously IS an issue for me, in addition to my concerns about getting thru the clinical portion of the course (1- I have NO intention of returning to bedside nursing because of my disability and 2- I'm on a LTD fixed income. The only way I can afford the $2500 would be to take $ from my retirement which involves a penalty)

I'm 99% sure I could easily pass the course. I always tested well. But, I'm worried about the clinicals. I couldn't stand for 8 hours or lift very much. (And as I said, I have NO intention whatsoever to return to bedside nursing, at all. I'd like a desk job where my work is cerebral, not physical. But, the clinical is non negotiable). This summer I decided to do the NCLEX option. However.......

I bought the Sanders Comprehensive RN NCLEX Review book and I'm batting at a 50-80% on my practice questions. (Additionally, my graduating class was the 1st to take the computerized test so I am familiar with the CAT format. I passed with in '94 with 100 questions on my 1st attempt with a Kaplan review course too). But, I've forgotten a lot of the content from nursing classes and books.

Idk if I should try the NCLEX once (at the cost of $300) and just study and pray I pass OR if I'm kidding myself in thinking I could recall and pass content that I learned 25 years ago??

My job experience includes cardiac critical care (CCU) but mostly, home care case management.

Tonight I reviewed Fluid and Electrolytes and got 9 questions wrong out of 15.

I wanted to bang my head against the wall. I forgot so much. (Home care doesn't include dealing with many labs, etc..it's mostly teaching, wound care, Foley's, drawing blood, and coordinating with other disciplines - dealing with PT, OT, ST, social workers, etc...) And a TON of paperwork from Medicare and insurance companies.

Am I insane to try to take the NCLEX again?

Should I take the financial hit and the risky chance of having trouble with the clinical portion?

I am 99% sure I would pass this course without the clinicals. One needs an 80% grade at the end of the course to get the license reactivated without taking the NCLEX.

I've always been a good student, my grades A's & B's except for Chem and Algebra where I got C's. BUT, I'm also a good test-taker. I don't need hours and hours learning how to read a question to determine the "subject" or "key words"...One area that concerns me is the "SATA" (select all that apply) questions. I've read the NCLEX includes 40% SATA questions. These are the ones where I get into trouble. Obviously, there's a lot I've forgotten in 25 years and it's also hard to forget how much of nursing is different in real life compared to the textbooks. We all know reality nursing is quite different from textbook nursing. (E.G. I got questions wrong on what LPN's can and cannot do as opposed to what they do in reality) So, it's the content I need to really "review" and not so much getting used to the questions..

I'd appreciate any advice. I've spent almost a year going back and forth deciding which option is best. I missed the February course so I just recently got a $60 review book after deciding to take one attempt at the NCLEX but NOW I just don't know what to do?? There's a lot of topics I forget like OB/GYN and Peds, Neuro, disease processes, to name a few. I'm sooooo intimidated. And my illness exacerbates with stress. (Big time) so, there's that too, ugh.

All input and suggestions would be helpful.

What would you do if faced with the same dilemma?

TY in advance!

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That sounds like a really tough position to be in. Objectively, I think it would be incredibly difficult to pass the NCLEX so many years out without taking a refresher course. Even as a good test-taker, that's a massive amount of material to self-study. I'm only a few years out of school and have worked full-time at the bedside ever since, and I'm not even sure if I could pass the NCLEX at this point. There are people on these forums all of the time who have just completed nursing school and are still unable to pass the exam.

If there's any way that you could make the class work financially, I think it makes the most sense. Given how long you've been out of nursing, you probably do need a refresher (even if you are able to pass the NCLEX independently). The worst case would be if you keep throwing away money by taking and failing the test, at which point you'd have to pay for the refresher course, anyway.

Even if you spend the money and make the effort to get your RN, you may have a hard time getting a nursing desk job. There aren't a ton of those positions to begin with, and your application won't be very competitive with a ten-year employment gap. It would really stink to invest a ton of time and money into this path and find that you can't land the type of job that you're looking for. It is also possible that some employers won't consider you for nursing jobs (like telephone triage) without a refresher course given your long employment gap.

Have you tried applying for jobs without your RN to see what you're able to get? If you're specifically interested in desk jobs, you may find that your RN background is helpful for healthcare desk jobs that don't actually require a license. Even outside of healthcare, getting any type of job would help to bolster your resume and open doors for you.

If I were in your shoes, I'd try applying to any jobs that you're currently qualified for and will pay the bills (including temp agencies). Once you're employed, you can reevaluate whether or not it is worth it to reinstate your license. In the meantime, you could try to save up in order to afford to take the class if you think it would be beneficial for you.

Best of luck with whatever you decide.

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I would personally take the reactivation course, but I would also as the above poster mentioned look for an immediate position to fund

the course.Try a Doctors office as a front office person, An attorney's office as a consultant, you work from home, or Get a health Insurance licensce

work from home taking applications for Medicare.A lot of Ins.Agencies hire for this and there is no selling.The license itself along with course fee will

put you at around $400.00.

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If you took the NCLEX and passed, would you still be able to perform well on a job? Even if it is a desk job? Just asking, because things change constantly in the medical/nursing world.

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You've only been out of the workforce for 10 years? I think returning to nursing, at a desk job, is doable. If you take the NCLEX, you must invest in a study course, such as Kaplan. Remember that the NCLEX is not based on % of questions that you answer correctly, but answering a series of questions correctly that subsequently get more and more difficult. And, if your experience is CCU, you probably lost the knowledge of peds, psych etc. (as have I!) that will be on the NCLEX.

If you choose the reactivation course, I would first speak to someone associated with the course about your physical limitations and how they can accommodate you according to the ADA.

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I hope things work out for you. It is possible but complicated. It seems to me that taking the Nclex would be the easier route to go and then you can see where you stand after that. If you go the case management route, the Nclex should suffice, especially if you are a field RN. Study some more. Things may start coming back. If you don't pass then take the course.

Edited by Workitinurfava

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I would check in with the provider of the refresher course in r/t the clinicals and physical requirements. you wouldn't be standing the entire 8 hrs you do get breaks and i bet it go really fast.Maybe there are scholarships or grants you could qualify for to pay for as well

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