Transitioning to Practice

nursing-school

Nurses work hard to complete their education program, only to find that more hard work awaits them. Graduation alone does not make a student a professional nurse. Nurses must prove their knowledge on a standardized nursing exam and hold a state license to practice. Employers often prefer to recruit experienced nurses because of the steep learning curve associated with the profession. This means the transition from student to professional is generally challenging new nurses.

Applying for Licensure

Nursing graduates must obtain a license to practice in their state. An application for licensure must be submitted to the respective state board of nursing in order to be eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination. To obtain specific information on eligibility and license requirements, graduates should contact the state board of nursing in the state they intend to practice in. The state board of nursing provides eligible candidates a “authorization to test.” Before this letter is issued, the state board of nursing verifies eligibility requirements.

Passing the NCLEX

Both registered nurses and practical nurses must pass the NCLEX exam. Registered nurses must pass the NCLEX-RN exam and licensed practical nurses and licensed vocational nurses must pass the NCLEX-PN exam. This exam is a standardized, computer-based test offered by Pearson Vue, as of publication. Nursing students and recent graduates prepare for this exam by taking practice tests, studying comprehensive nursing curriculum and enrolling in test preparation programs. The NCLEX is focused on nursing interventions and asks questions based on scenarios. Test anxiety is common for nursing graduates, as new graduates cannot practice based on their degree alone.

RN Residency

New graduates can benefit from a RN residency program. Residencies help ease the transition from student nurse to professional nurse. A residency allows new nurses time to advance and provides support and a way to gain experience. It can also boost the new nurse’s confidence and increase the chance that the nurse will remain in the profession. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing recommend that new nurses complete a structured residency that is at least three to six months long.

Transition Shock

Making a mistake as a new nurse can be life threatening to patients. Yet nurses have had limited practice before actually entering the nursing profession. This reality can add stress to the transition from the classroom to the nursing role. The more practice a nursing student has had, the more confident they will feel on the job. However, there really is no substitute for the real thing. The learning curve for nurses is a steep one, and nurses continually learn throughout their career. Long work hours and busy medical facilities are to be expected.

Here are some additional resources to assist you.

  • New Nurse Forum – This is our online forum where student nurses can collaborate or commiserate.  Make new friends, share exam tips or ask questions of the student nurse community.
  • Nurse Job Board – When you are approaching graduation and begin your search for a job, check out the many available job openings that are waiting for you.
  • Your Nurse Resume – Give yourself and advantage in your job search by uploading your resume in a few easy steps so potential employers can find you!
  • Nurse Scholarships – A collection of valuable nurse scholarships that can help you pay for your education.

This is a developing are of NurseFuture.com intended to help help new nurses to identify mentorship opportunities, develop organizational and time management skills, build relationships with colleagues, and establish a health professional/private live balance.

Check back here for more information and helpful tips on transitioning to practice.

 

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