Sunday, July 24, 2022

Completed my 1st year as an RN! (My Advice)

 I just completed my first year as a RN! I didn't expect so many twist and turns. June 2021, I started my New Grad Residency on a Covid Floor (Gen Medicine Step-Down). From the start, I knew that Med-Surg / floor nursing wasn't my thing! After a couple of weeks, I realized that it wasn't, so I resigned. I loved the hospital, loved the atmosphere and culture. But, the unit wasn't a fit for me. I later found a job in the Emergency Department and Surgical Services. I love it, and it was more a fit for me. I'm settling in my role as a nurse and getting comfortable. I love being able to use my paramedic skills and mindset again. Your skills will be INVALUABLE in nursing. You will be MILES ahead of any new grad. People will assume that you have been a nurse for a long time. I had to get used to IV pumps, EPIC, using Pixis, and ORDERS LOL! Nursing is a different animal, and I'm working harder than when I was a paramedic. This time instead of one patient, I have 3 to 4. 


New Grad Residencies are VERY competitive. The current nursing shortage is making it worse. There are just not that many preceptors available to train new nurses. My unit only had 4 slots, but 100 applicants. New Grad Residencies only open 2 times a year. Don't get discouraged like I did when interviewing. I wish someone would have told be to be patient. I took the FIRST job I was offered, then quit a month later. If you plan to work in a hospital, (in-patient) experience is must. I have friends that "waited" and worked at clinics (outpatient), now having a hard time finding "in-patient" jobs. It takes a learning curve to work in a hospital, if you have never worked in one. You only get X number of weeks to orient to that unit, before you are turn loose to practice solo. If you don't have inpatient experience, but you have more than 1 year nursing experience, you are NOT a new grad. 

After your new grad period, go to another system. Don't stay and take the pay raise. If you do, you will be underpaid. My base pay increased by $10/hr when I left. If I would have stayed, my raise would have been $1 for completing my residency. See the difference? 

If you are at this stage, congrats........ see ya soon! 

Happy Nursing! 


Monday, May 31, 2021

NCLEX ATT, Test and Results!

 I received my ATT (Authorization to Test) from the NCSBN (National Council States Board of Nursing) on 05/19/2021 (5 days after graduation). You have to go on their website to register for the  NCLEX with Pearson Vue. Once you graduate, & your degree is confirmed, the program will send the info to the State Board of Nursing (in your state). Make sure that you pay the $200 after your register to take the NCLEX before you receive the ATT. If not, you won't get it! After you receive your ATT, THEN you can schedule a test date. I originally scheduled for 06/03. On 05/28 I felt comfortable enough to take it (UWORLD, I got thru 71% of the test bank w/ a good average and landed in the 84 percentile). I passed the 1st NCLEX assessment with a "Highly Likely" to pass, and 7 of my classmate have already taken and passed NCLEX. What was I waiting I did something really brave & moved my date for the next day! 

I took NCLEX on 05/28 at 09:15am. It was a beast! The 1st 8 questions I felt comfortable, then it gave me EVERYTHING I was weak in! I kept as cool as I could be! I walked out feeling defeated. How could I have had one of the highest averages in the class, passed the exit hesi, cat hesi, & Uworld assessment, & do so poorly on NCLEX? I had to wait 48hrs for results. I did NO pvt tricks or anything....just waited! This morning I got my results!


Let me re-introduce myself...I'm Reginald Santiago, RN, EMT-P!!!!!!!

Friday, May 14, 2021

05/14/2021 Graduation Day

 Today is my graduation. I feel "accomplished"! Hopefully you will also. You have worked hard for this day. It's here. Unfortunately, due to COVID restrictions, this is virtual. At the same time, I get to enjoy this day with my wife and family watching from their homes. As I look forward to my new beginning, was it worth it? YES! Going from Medic to RN gave me $19.85 more dollars/hr, the opportunity to advance degree & career wise. Was it worth the move? YES! It was tough as hell. Some days and test felt like it was working against me. I can say, the drive (1hr 20min) was really therapeutic for me. My mind felt clear, like I was doing the right thing. I didn't like how my previous job "forced" me to choose between school & work, BUT I needed to see that they were NOT in my corner, even when they said they were! Because I have weathered the storm, I have many career options open to me to advance. Hopefully you will see that also. 

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

05/11/2021 CAT HESI EXAM / Officially Finished (Paramedic to RN)

 Today I took the CAT exit exam and passed. That means I'm officially ready for NCLEX. I received my Exit letter from the program today also. We did practice for the pinning ceremony that's going to be on Monday 17th. We graduate this Friday the 14th.

Enjoy yourself! You have made it! 

Overall, it has been tough. It was more challenging than I originally thought. It's been a very humbling experience, thinking that my paramedic experience would get me though. I was a looooong way off! Take this school serious, make the time for study, and remember that you have to fight for your seat in the program (no matter where you go). If you get, respect it and work like someone is trying to get your seat! Wish me luck on the NCLEX....I wish you guys well....I'm still debating if I will continue posting after this blog!

If not, Happy Nursing & hopefully you got some insight on what the Paramedic to RN transition is like!

Friday, April 30, 2021

04/30/2021 Finished Preceptorship/Capstone

 I finished my Mandatory 120 hr Preceptorship. Overall, my experience was GREAT! I can say that the nurses & my preceptor was the best. The experience gave to a look into what the job will be. I can honestly say that I WOULD DEFINITELY take a job there and drive 1hr 30min .... That's how comfortable I felt! I wasn't made to feel "stupid" on things I didn't know OR simple stuff I forgot. My preceptor went over each patient we received, and let me take the primary role once she felt I was ready (my 2nd day lol). 

Key Points:

1. Faculty will make site visits and check on you. Make sure that your "paperwork" (Timesheet & daily goals) are up to date. 

2. Don't slack off. You never know who is watching. Where I did my preceptorship, my preceptor, charge nurse, and MANY others have graduated from the same program. Keep your phone off the floor. Uniform must be "up to par".

3. It's YOUR experience. This is the time to see if you can "handle" this dept or to single out where you want to work. Hopefully, you get the unit of your choice!

4. Have fun! 

So now, I've turned in my preceptor packet, finished my FCCE narratives, turned in my hospital badge, & picked up the study manual for the 3 day HESI Review Course next week! 

2 weeks till Graduation!!!!!!

Almost there!

Thursday, April 22, 2021

04/22/2021 HESI EXIT EXAM

 Just took the Exit Hesi this morning. It's a very long exam. You are going to feel burnt out by this point, BUT HANG IN THERE its almost done. I benchmarked 921. Passing is 900, so I did by the skin of my teeth. I don't have to do remediation. I could have done better. Night shift clinicals and then trying to jump back to day schedule is kinda rough. My car broke down on me earlier this week, so I had to get a rental while getting my car fixed. Word of advice, save money before going to nursing because: 

1. You don't have to sacrifice your study time having to pay bills

2. There are ALOT of "unexpected" expenses in Nursing (Just had to kick out $35 for background check, $15 for fingerprints, $75 for license & $200 for NCLEX.....Plus I had to buy a plain white scrub top for the pinning ceremony).

3. You never know what "life" throws your way......I've spent more in car expenses in the last 6 months than 4 years. (BUT I PLANNED FOR IT)

Right now if you are reading this, you have time to save as much as you can. I saved $12,000 before my 1st day. That allowed me to work just part-time (32 hrs/week) 1st semester, (10 hrs/week) 2nd semester & (20 hrs/week) 1st half of 3rd semester & (0 hrs/weeks) 2nd half of 3rd semester. 

There are people that work full-time while attending. I'm not saying that it cant be done, because MOST of the LPNs and Medics are working full-time, BUT it reflects in there grades. 


Its hard to prepare for! Its covers EVERYTHING. I have been doing UWORLD questions for NCLEX, so I didn't study anything in particular. Some of the questions were similar! I figured "If I don't know it now, then I'm screwed!!!!" ....I just took a chance on what I knew!

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

04/14 NUR 213 Finals

 I made a 90 on the final exam last week. Due to the class technically being like a 8-9 weeks format, I was able to retain most of the info. I had to "go back" and review the 1st few weeks to refresh on the material. e now have 2 FCCE (Focused  Client Care Form post). They each are about 1,000 words, very detailed assessments worth a portion of your grade. Most of the work now is focused on your boarding, preceptorship, & paperwork necessary for the school to maintain incase auditing. I have 3 shifts left on my Capstone/ preceptorship. I have an 87 average so far. 2 more exam (Exit HESI & CAT HESI).

Key Points:

* Push Even Harder

* Don't slack off because you are not finished

* Start studying for HESI Exit & NCLEX