Graduated in 2011; Passed NCLEX 2015 - Can I still find a nursing job, or is it too late?

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by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Columnist) Educator Columnist Innovator Expert Nurse

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho. Has 30 years experience.

Dear Nurse Beth,

i graduated from nursing school in 2011, took the NCLEX for the first time in 2012 and failed at 265 questions, had some personal family issues and had to push back the retaking of my NCLEX. I retook the NCLEX Oct 2015 and passed with 75 questions, do you think that i have been out of school too long to be able to find a nursing job? And what can I do to brush up on skills and content?


Dear Passed NCLEX,

Congratulations on passing the NCLEX!

You have not been out of school too long to find a nursing job.

If the employer looks at the date you graduated school and the date of passing your NCLEX, you may be at a slight disadvantage from other new grads.

But another way of looking at it is that the clock starts ticking when you pass the NCLEX, not when you graduate.

Regardless, the best thing to do is actively and aggressively start searching for a job. Make sure your cover letter and your resume are polished and read Revamp your Resume” and How to Land a Job” for job searching tips.

As far as brushing up on skills and content, what you need is clinical experience (a job), more than book learning. There are nursing refresher courses out there (check your area) but the best refresher is a good orientation with real patients. Putting all your energies into landing a job is the best thing you can do for yourself right now.

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth

nurse-beth-purple-logo.jpg

carebear1980

carebear1980

26 Posts

Dear Nurse Beth,

As far as brushing up on skills and content, what you need is clinical experience (a job), more than book learning. There are nursing refresher courses out there (check your area) but the best refresher is a good orientation with real patients. Putting all your energies into landing a job is the best thing you can do for yourself right now.

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth

nurse-beth-purple-logo.jpg

Nurse Beth, I am in a similar situation , and looking for advice and hope. I haven't had clinical for a little over a year, and I passed the NCLEX about 6 months ago. I spent a long time trying to get a job. I have landed a great job :). However I am almost sick with feeling how unprepared I am with just the basics like the head to toe assessment etc. There is no refresher course in my area, and I am watching videos of skills and trying to re-memorize head -toe and pain etc mnemonics. Any advice, Please?

ricacuint

ricacuint

6 Posts

Nurse Beth, I am in a similar situation , and looking for advice and hope. I haven't had clinical for a little over a year, and I passed the NCLEX about 6 months ago. I spent a long time trying to get a job. I have landed a great job :). However I am almost sick with feeling how unprepared I am with just the basics like the head to toe assessment etc. There is no refresher course in my area, and I am watching videos of skills and trying to re-memorize head -toe and pain etc mnemonics. Any advice, Please?

I am on the same boat, graduated 2010, and passed nclex Jan 2016. Unfortunately I can't apply til June 2016 for some reasons. Good thing here in NY is we have refresher course offered. What nurse Beth recommend on my case while waiting June 2016 was to read Journals to update on current issues. My fear really is to experience what you experienced right now. Although I'm doing same thing as you, watching nursing videos on procedures but still its not enough for me. Good thing with u, is u were able to land a job and learned as you go on. It may take sometime for you to be confident with your procedures/skills but i believed persistence is the key. It can only get harder before it gets easier. Good luck to you. I hope i can find a job when June 2016 comes.

carebear1980

carebear1980

26 Posts

Everyone is telling me not to worry, but I feel like they don't get it. I feel like an impostor. I am trying to practice head to toe on imaginary patients. As well as remember things like taking a blood pressure, got that skill back in just a few attempts. Now what is pre-hypertension (okay I know that now, just giving examples of what I am going through) and what do I do besides document it? Give a PRN med, call the physician? If I don't know this before orientation will they fire me. Will I be expected to immediately give a head -toe on my first day of orientation, and what if I forget to check PERRLA or check pts pedal pulses, do they say "how stupid, how does she not know that" and send me home? Part of my anxiety is that I do not know what to expect. Any thoughts or help would be appreciated. I hope Ricacuint that you take that refresher course, I would if there was time and one available that wasn't two hours away just to improve my confidence level. Good luck to both you and dear passed nclex.

Nurse Beth, MSN

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho. Has 30 years experience. 147 Articles; 2,611 Posts

Everyone is telling me not to worry, but I feel like they don't get it. I feel like an impostor. I am trying to practice head to toe on imaginary patients. As well as remember things like taking a blood pressure, got that skill back in just a few attempts. Now what is pre-hypertension (okay I know that now, just giving examples of what I am going through) and what do I do besides document it? Give a PRN med, call the physician? If I don't know this before orientation will they fire me. Will I be expected to immediately give a head -toe on my first day of orientation, and what if I forget to check PERRLA or check pts pedal pulses, do they say "how stupid, how does she not know that" and send me home? Part of my anxiety is that I do not know what to expect. Any thoughts or help would be appreciated. I hope Ricacuint that you take that refresher course, I would if there was time and one available that wasn't two hours away just to improve my confidence level. Good luck to both you and dear passed nclex.

When you do your patient assessment, the computer will prompt your steps. Even if it's still on paper, you can read what the previous nurses wrote to help refresh your skills. Blood pressures are taken by machines. They want you to ask questions.You are never completely on your own.

I am so sure they will not send you home or say "how stupid" that I would bet on it. If you are sent home, message me and I will email you a Starbucks card. Best wishes, Nurse Beth

Wrench Party

Wrench Party

Specializes in Cardiology, Cardiothoracic Surgical. Has 3 years experience. 823 Posts

Just be honest. Your preceptor is going to have an idea of your experience, and where they need to start in training you. HTTs are like riding a bicycle: they become second nature after awhile.

carebear1980

carebear1980

26 Posts

Nurse Beth,

Thank you for giving me encouragement. I would like to add that you were right. I am learning a lot and they have not sent me home or said I am not trainable. :lol2: I still have a lot to learn but am enjoying it and look forward to each and every day that I learn something else, or master a skill.