So I passed NCLEX, does that mean I'm ready to be a nurse?

Posted

Hi,

I graduated nursing school a few months ago and just recently passed NCLEX. Does passing NCLEX mean I'll be a safe nurse? I feel like I am still not prepared to be a nurse. I talk to some of my smart nursing friends and they always remember certain things from class a year ago- I do not remember a lot from nursing school. Like for example, I went out to dinner with my nursing friends and I said that during clinicals, I saw someone put lotion in between a patients' toes. And they all looked at me shocked and said that lotion should never be put in between toes!! And I looked at them with a deer in the headlights sort of look because I just don't remember learning about that...

I was thinking about taking a few months to look over my class notes before I get a nursing job... I just don't feel like I will be safe as a nurse. Any input is appreciated.

Thank you

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in OR, education. Has 17 years experience. 5 Articles; 10,688 Posts

Passing NCLEX means you have demonstrated the minimum competency required to be a novice nurse. Nervousness is okay- and it's better than thinking you know everything already, because that's how errors are made. No one remembers everything they learned in nursing school, and not all of that information is relevant to their role as a working nurse. As you complete an orientation program and practice as a nurse, your expertise, competence, and confidence will increase over time.

FL_Nurse92

Has 2 years experience. 178 Posts

I honestly wouldn't worry about looking back at your notes...especially not for months at a time. A lot of things i learned in school, like normal lab values for instance, are slightly different in the hospital I work at. As you go through orientation you will learn what is normal to your hospital. I go back and look at my notes occasionally when I can't remember the specifics about certain disease processes or hemodynamics, etc. Also I would look into nurse residency programs. These programs are geared toward brand new nurses and the review each body system throughout the program.

emmy27

Specializes in ER, Med-surg. 454 Posts

Lotion between toes theoretically carries a risk of fungal growth, but... I don't think I've ever had time to even consider putting lotion between someone's toes as a working nurse.

Being a little nervous and uncertain is okay- just use that sense of uncertainty as a reminder to ask questions, look things up, and doublecheck what you're about to do when you aren't confident that it's the right thing.

I've precepted and worked with a lot of students and I'd always prefer one who asks about what they don't know (and they ALL don't know some things- you just can't possibly learn everything there is to know about every specialty in nursing school, nor remember everything you were taught forever) to the one who is overconfident that they know everything already or afraid to admit when they don't know.

I wouldn't take time off. You'll learn much more (and much more of what you specifically need to know for your job, which is no longer "pass the NCLEX" but "take care of a specific subset of patients with specific needs") by getting a job and orienting than by waiting longer and reading notes. You sound like someone who would be especially well-served by a new grad residency program, so explore options in your area and make sure to ask about the orientation process wherever you do decide to work.

mangosoccer11

31 Posts

Hi,

Thank you everyone for your responses. I will for sure look into a new grad residency program. Hopefully, I can find something like this in my area in Minnesota.

Thank you,

nursel56

Specializes in Peds/outpatient FP,derm,allergy/private duty. Has 46 years experience. 6,979 Posts

Hi,

Thank you everyone for your responses. I will for sure look into a new grad residency program. Hopefully, I can find something like this in my area in Minnesota.

Thank you,

I think that rather than thinking "am I a safe nurse" it's better to approach everything in nursing with the goal that you will be a safe nurse. Fundamental concepts you learn in nursing school apply to every new situation no matter what.

Even if it was theoretically possible to learn and remember every detail of every aspect of patient care, nursing is dynamic and constantly evolving as newer or more effective evidence-based practice is identified.

I wouldn't necessarily limit the job search to those that provide a nurse residency program. You can really learn from getting out of the comfort zone and pursue jobs and hopefully interviews you don't initially think would work out for you. Best wishes!

hherrn

2,441 Posts

Does passing NCLEX mean I'll be a safe nurse?

Nope. Unsafe nurses also passed their NCLEX exams.

If the worst thing you ever do is put lotion between somebody's toes, you will be the world's safest nurse.

Good luck, and it is awesome that being a safe nurse is your chief concern right now. Maintain that attitude, and you have a great chance of going well.

elkpark

14,633 Posts

The fact that you passed the NCLEX means that you have met the established minimum standards considered appropriate to enter practice. Whether or not you will be a "safe" (or "competent," or any other positive adjective :)) nurse is entirely up to you. Your school should have prepared you to be a safe entry-level clinician (I hope you went to a good school that did prepare you well). The feelings you're having are v. common; most of us had them at the point you're at, and most of us went on to be safe, competent nurses. What's really scary to me is when nurses, esp. new grads, think that they know everything they need to know and are over-confident that they're doing everything right. Best wishes!

bunnysanford

148 Posts

Hi,

I graduated nursing school a few months ago and just recently passed NCLEX. Does passing NCLEX mean I'll be a safe nurse? I feel like I am still not prepared to be a nurse. I talk to some of my smart nursing friends and they always remember certain things from class a year ago- I do not remember a lot from nursing school. Like for example, I went out to dinner with my nursing friends and I said that during clinicals, I saw someone put lotion in between a patients' toes. And they all looked at me shocked and said that lotion should never be put in between toes!! And I looked at them with a deer in the headlights sort of look because I just don't remember learning about that...

I was thinking about taking a few months to look over my class notes before I get a nursing job... I just don't feel like I will be safe as a nurse. Any input is appreciated.

Thank you

I'm going into my first nursing job next month, and I'm a little nervous, too. I worry that I just learned how to be very good at taking multiple-choice tests and writing care plans. What am I going to do when a patient starts going downhill and I can't pick A,B,C, or D? Add to that, I've been off the floor since my last clinical shift in May -- what if I don't remember anything at all?The worrying part of my brain is very thorough and persistent.

Then I remind myself that I have a long orientation ahead, and I'll likely be ready to be on my own before it's over. Plus, I'll never be working truly alone, and can ask when I don't know something. Every nurse started out inexperienced, and most of them are working safely. I also tell myself this whenever I am scared and learning something new (like driving -- I am a city girl and didn't get my license till last year): Millions of people who are dumber and less competent than I am do this every day, so there's no reason I can't.

I've asked every nurse I've worked with in clinicals for the past year or so how long it took them to really feel comfortable being a nurse. Most of them answered in the 6-12 months range, though one said 2 months, and one admitted to me that she still didn't feel quite right, and she'd been there 2 years.

So, I've thought about this quite a bit. I think as long as you're conscientious and learn everything you can on the floor you're working, you'll be as prepared as you can be, eventually. There's lots of good advice to be had from more experienced nurses. Take it all in, and someday you'll be in the position to give that advice to someone else.