Dear Nurse Beth,
I need the correct advice . My nursing journey to become a RN has been the hardest and longest journey of my life . I graduated nursing school with my BSN in August 2017 . I have taken the NCLEX 4 times in the past 2 years . At this point I am so ashamed and embarrassed . There has been so many psychosocial issues that have happened in my life that at one point I started to doubt myself to even become a RN . I did all the work in nursing school and went to a prestigious nursing school . It doesn’t make any sense to me how I can’t seem to pass the NCLEX but I am still trying .
My question is , will employers not hire me because it has been so long ? Should I be honest if I have an interview to tell them that I haven’t passed in the NCLEX in 4 times . I do have a tutoring job right now but it has nothing to do with nursing . I miss every aspect of nursing and hope one day I will pass the NCLEX.
One day has to be soon. You need a sense of urgency and a plan. Having a plan will help reduce your feelings of shame. I would put everything into taking and passing the NCLEX. Otherwise, you will live with regrets.
Take an NCLEX review course. Consider hiring a private tutor. They can help you pinpoint exactly why you are not passing. Damion Jenkins, RN, is such a tutor who will create an individualized study plan for you.
After you pass, I can give you tips for landing a job. Definitely check out my book below- but first things first.
Best wishes, my friend
Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!
Dear Nurse Beth,
So my passion all throughout nursing school was to become an ED nurse. I had my preceptorship in the ED and actually ended up becoming good friends with my preceptor. I landed a ED job at a hospital 30-40 min away from my home and while I had never been to this hospital before and it was farther away from another hospital that I had been offered a job at, but I was determined to do ED. My first week was overwhelming however I felt like I was catching on to everything very well. I thought I was getting along with everyone and tried so hard to make friends because this has always been a struggle of mine because I have always been told I have a big personality. Mid second week, my preceptor pulls me aside and tells me I have had complaints that I have an attitude and am argumentative when others try to help. He did not have any specific examples and I was baffled, hurt, and felt so bad that I had made this impression. I cried and apologized to him and he hugged me saying he just wanted to help and he thought I was doing great but to just work on how I speak with others and that it was just something I was going to have to improve on. He even called me after saying I don't want you to take this personally, I want you to take it in, grow from it and keep moving. I walked away from the conversation thinking this was just a hiccup and that I would become more comfortable within a few more weeks and I just needed to find my footing with this group of people. I thought that this meeting was to tell me "hey this is what you need to improve on" and that I would have the rest of my orientation to improve myself. I felt that maybe my anxiety was getting the best of me and making me come off as argumentative with the staff when truly I was just nervous and unable to communicate when I was struggling with a certain task. I worked two more shifts after that and tried my hardest to watch how I was speaking to others. After that conversation though I suddenly was seeing myself never quite fitting in with this team. I was not nearly as excited to be in this ER or even work at this hospital the way I was during my preceptorship. My first day back on my third week, the manager pulled me in her office an hour into my shift and told me my communication skills were not what they were looking for, that I was not a good fit for their team and I was being terminated effective immediately. My heart sank. My old preceptor from school who I had become friends with was shocked that they did not give me more time. I want to be angry and blame them that they were not welcoming enough and being a bit harsh on me, but I want to learn from this experience and acknowledge my mistakes because I know I cannot walk away from this having learned nothing. However, I am suddenly doubting my decision to go into nursing. I am confused that they brought a problem to my attention last week, told me to improve on it and that they would help me, and then fired me the following week for that problem...I thought I would have more time to improve myself but I guess my problems were much bigger than I thought. My skills were not a problem whatsoever and I was learning everything very quickly. I am still trying to understand exactly what I did wrong so I can improve myself, but my confidence is shattered and they frankly did not give me much explanation or examples on why they had this impression that I was "argumentative". The only thing was that my preceptor told me when someone says something to me or tries to help me that I should just smile and say yes okay I understand instead of explaining why I am doing something the way I am doing it. I almost feel like I was fired because I did not brown nose the nurses the way the other new hires/grads were. I'm confused and scared to try to go back to working at a hospital because I am afraid I will make the same mistakes. I feel like my personality tends to make a large and longer lasting impression on others and I can be charismatic and flamboyant, but end up being not everyone’s favorite to be around. I have no filter when in my comfort zone and I will tell you exactly what I think and why however I guess that causes me to come across as abrasive but without the intention of being insulting.
The orientation was supposed to be 12 weeks and I couldn't even get through 3 weeks. I was supposed to be given one patient in my first 2-3 weeks and was juggling 4-5 in my second week. I scribed and charted a cardiac arrest my second to last day of work perfectly and constantly thanked others when they taught me something. I am trying to figure out if I really just am a person with an attitude problem or maybe this unit and set of people was just not a good fit for me. I'm just lost and disappointed in myself and wishing I could have shown them the best side of myself, but I somehow feel like i wasn't given a chance to do that or to even fix my mistakes.
I'm so sorry this was your first experience.
The fact that they did not give you any specific examples and moved to judgement so quickly could be signs that the management is not experienced or mature. If you worked 12 hr shifts, that means that you worked 6 shifts and were fired on your 7th shift. Only something egregious would warrant immediate termination.
Too many times I've seen nurses who start out a bit shaky in some way blossom with support and with time. What a shame to just throw away nurses.
You describe yourself as explaining yourself (being defensive) when someone said something to you (which I'm taking to mean giving you instruction). You use the term "brown-nosing" to describe other new grads' behaviors. Acknowledging their novice status is not brown-nosing, it's appropriate. This view could be a point of pride on your behalf.
Here's what I'm sensing, and what you can learn from the situation, because I know you want for this to make some sense. Tone down your big personality. Adopt a humble, learning attitude.
This is harder for people who are smart, and I have a hunch you are smart, skills-wise. But there's also emotional intelligence, or people-smarts. If the nurses at all thought you were not teachable, that would account for the decision to terminate. Being seen as not teachable is the unforgivable sin in new nurses. Why? Because your co-workers need to know they can trust you with what they consider their patients.
You need to move forward from this experience. The worst experiences often become important landmarks in our lives...if we learn from them.
I, too, had a rough start. I was suspended for a medication error as a new nurse. I know how you feel because I questioned if I should even be a nurse. It was pretty awful. Read about it on my blog I Was Suspended.
Here's the key- do not quit. You did not come this far to quit, you have a purpose.
Best wishes, my friend
Dear Nurse Beth,
I need some career advice concerning whether I may be hired again for a job in the speciality I have worked in for almost 2 years. I have always been interested in Maternal Child nursing. Received my Nursing License in March 2016 and shortly after that in April I received a job offer for pediatric ER position, only working there for 3 months decided it wasn't the best for me as new graduate RN. I then job searched for 8 months and finally got a position in the specialty I wanted to get into Mother baby and was cross-trained a few months after to the Level 2E Special Care Nursery I worked there for about a year and a half. Enjoyed my job and my coworkers were like family. Loved the teaching aspect and the support you give new mothers and their families. Always willing to work extra almost anytime my manager or charge nurses would ask me. I was very reliable and committed to the position.
A month or so before I left I applied for Level III NICU position, which at this time thought I was ready to the higher acuity setting. I worked there for 4 months throughout the time I was working there I didn't feel like my normal self and was anxious every time I would go into work.
I kind of jumped at the opportunity when I got the offer, wish I gave myself time to decide if it was the right decision to make at this point in career. Especially leaving my first RN job very early and again with my most recent position. I have been unemployed now for a little over 2 months.
My question is how can I show to my future interviewers and hiring managers that I am really reliable and would be committed to the position? My resume at this point doesn't describe as a reliable person more of a job hopper. I honestly wish I thought more about my decision to change positions. Especially since I was very comfortable in the Mother Baby and Special Care Nursery setting I was previously working in.
Thank you in advance
So to recap, you:
This is how a hiring manager will evaluate your work history. The strength in your resume is your 1.5 years in Special Care Nursery.
Cast a broad net and don't limit your search to NICU. Right now it's more important to land a job than to land the perfect job.
Activate your network, and let everyone you know that you are looking for a job. Consider going back to the Special Care Nursery if you left on good terms.
Join a nursing organization and attend meetings to network and learn of opportunities.
I'm sure it goes without saying, and I'm sorry you are learning the hard way- never quit a job until you have secured your next job. It is easier to get hired when you are working than when you are unemployed.
New-ish nurse, trying to find her niche!! Work-life balance is the most important thing to me!