Passed NCLEX after 7 years and 6 tries

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Hi Nurse Beth!

I graduated from nursing school with a BSN in 2013, but did not pass the NCLEX until about 2 weeks ago. I had taken the NCLEX a total of 6 times, but really hunkered down and studied to pass the exam this time around and thankfully passed. I haven't worked at all in the years since graduation and instead had been taking review courses over and over and taking the the NCLEX.

For a period of time I also had to stop studying altogether and take care of my mother full time when she found out she had cancer. I ended up being with her every step of the way and it really helped her that I was there as doctors and nurses she was working with could leave it to me to explain things to my mom. Anyway, I am now an RN and am unsure how to proceed in getting my first job as a nurse. I feel as though there's still a ton of things I need to be studying and learning and the gap in employment I have probably looks really bad on a resume. Ideally I'd like to go into oncology, but any start in a hospital would be great. What steps should I be taking now? I appreciate you taking the time to respond to me.

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Specializes in Tele, ICU, Staff Development.

Dear Unsure,

Congratulations on passing.It must feel wonderful to finally have that behind you after so many tries.

Find a nursing refresher course and enroll. When you are in the course, take every opportunity to network with other students and the instructors. There are bound to be some job leads.

Yours will not be a typical new grad transition, meaning you will not qualify for a nursing residency. At the same time, you are not experienced. 

To get started, you will most likely have to work in sub-acute or skilled nursing. This will give you experience and from there you can apply to acute care or perhaps an oncology clinic setting.

Keep your eye on the goal, which is to land a job as an RN. Speciality choices can come later.

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth

Hi OP,

Which state did you receive your nursing license from? I am 3 years post grad and am finding trouble locating a state board that doesn't have a time restriction on when you must pass NCLEX postgrad! Thank you in advance.