First off, congratulations! You’ve successfully accomplished an amazing task. Nursing school for Registered Nurses is notoriously difficult. Pushing through and graduating is something you should always feel incredibly proud of. However, in the midst of this celebration, a new challenge quickly approaches.
Simply because you graduated nursing school doesn’t mean you’re ready to stroll down the aisles of your local hospital. There’s still another step before you can officially call yourself a Registered Nurse: licensure examination.
You Graduated From Nursing School, What Next?
The months following graduation are just as imperative as the preceding years. While you may feel that you’re ready to sit for the exam, the vast majority of graduated RN students need several more months to take their newfound knowledge and process this information to be exam-ready.
While not everyone is the same, and the study requirements for the NCLEX-RN exam may be shorter or longer, you should plan to continue your study and research tasks for at least six more months. During this time frame, there are several essential tips you should follow. Each tip is designed to maximize your effort to not only pass the licensure exam, but be better prepared for your first RN job.
If you’re interested in truly excelling as a Registered Nurse, then you should pay special attention to the following tips.
Tip #1 | Formulate a Study Plan
While you likely began this task prior to graduation, the first several weeks after successfully ending your training program should be spent determining the best course of action. The best study methodology varies based upon your current working knowledge, learning style and resource availabilities.
Generally, an effective study method is grabbing a copy of the NCLEX-RN test preparation packet. This informational packet offers specific tips and study advice for current exams. You may find this information online or by contacting your state board of nursing.
Consider finding a study group and take as many practice exams as possible. The latter not only tests your understanding, but helps prepare your mind for the unique examination format.
Tip #2 | Solidify Specialization and Career Path
Even though you’re still an infant in the nursing world, now’s the best time to begin solidifying your specialization. As a Registered Nurse, there are almost limitless specializations and career paths you may take. While your final specialization may not be what you choose in the beginning, walking into this career without some direction often results in wasted time and opportunities.
By holding a strong grasp of what you ultimately wish to accomplish, you can navigate the pathways to accomplishing this goal much faster than by simply waiting for an opportunity to arise. Also, many hospitals and other employers prefer RNs who either currently, or are planning to, specialize in a specific practice. Ultimately, this showcases your commitment to not only medicine, but to their institution. Rather than simply being a generalized RN, who may not be fully committed to their facility, a specialized nurse is more likely to stick around as they have a demonstrated passion. As with many careers, passion is paramount for success.