I finally passed my NClex after 3 and a half years! I'm thrilled to say the least! Now I'm curious as to how I will be able to land my first job being out of clinical setting for this long. Will I qualify as a new grad for a residency program? I think it will be best if I start at a residency program so I can get comfortable in acute care setting again. Any advice on how I explain this gap from graduation date to applying for my first RN position? Do I disclose that I've failed the exam?
It depends on the program. A lot of them want nurses with less than 12-18 months of experience, which you qualify. However, those same residencies usually want applicants who graduated within the last year, which you haven't.
Search around for residencies and see if there are any that will take you having been out of school for so long. You could also apply to the residencies that you don't 100% qualify for: perhaps if you can make a strong case for yourself and show them you can bring a lot to the table, you might get it.
If you can't find a residency, you may have to get started on that nursing career without one...and you won't be in bad company: many nurses didn't have the luxury of a new grad residency to launch their careers. Some just went right into the trenches; others started out in LTAC, rehab, LTC, SNF, and other places outside of the hospital box and worked their way over.
The toughest thing to overcome will be the 3.5 year gap between graduation and passing the NCLEX. I don't think there's a way anyone could find out you failed the NCLEX before, so you may not need to disclose it. But what else are you going to say that you did with the 3.5 years and be truthful while doing so? Perhaps others who have failed the NCLEX before finally passing and starting their careers will be along with better advice.
Volunteer! I know I'm looking for a nurse for a week in July at The muscular dystrophy camp in Salem
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