I'm a week away from the year anniversary of taking and passing my NCLEX exam. While I can't say that I 'remember it like it was yesterday', it is certainly a time that I will never forget. Some highly memorable moments from the actual day include-
- Getting to the test site early and thinking that I'd actually be in a head space to window shop in a nearby mall. I think I lasted 8 minutes before I just went and checked in. The front desk guy knew, by how early I was, that I was a nursing student. Apparently, the nursing students ALWAYS arrive ridiculously early:)
- Completing the 75th question, and bracing for a LOOOOONG afternoon when I got the 76th question.
- Staring at the blank screen in disbelief when the exam shut down after said 76th question.
- Leaving the test center, with my brain having leaked out on the floor by the computer and having no idea where I needed to go. (Apparently, this is a common phenomenon- friends reported similar blanks, some even forgetting where they parked.)
- Having a great post exam lunch with James.
- Spending the rest of the day convinced that I didn't pass. (Another common occurrence)
- Watching Bolt with James that night.
The funny thing about that whole day/process/ordeal was that getting the license didn't make me a nurse- the last year since did.
The other day at work I overheard one of the nurse practitioners I work with tell her patient that the GYN nurse would be right in to review her birth control. She was talking about me, and realizing that made me proud.
There are people out there that think that if you aren't a hospital inpatient nurse, then you aren't a 'real' nurse.
That's bullshit. Hospital nurses are amazing. But so are those based in outpatient/community health/homeless shelter settings.
I am a nurse. I don't work in a hospital. I give injections. I draw blood. I teach. I listen. I care.
After almost a year of challenges around starting out as a newbie nurse, I finally believe it when I say "I'm a nurse".
And it's really cool.