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

Friday, April 2, 2021

04/02 Preceptorship

 I've had 2 shifts so far. The ER is my comfort zone (as a medic). It's a great adjustment being 1 on 1 with a RN. Not to knock my previous clinical instructors or nurses, but I can learn more because the focus is me and not a group. It's great that the nurses are really nice and helpful. Make sure that your FCCE clinical packet is filled out (goals & time sheet). Faculty WILL do a site visit to check in on you. Faculty visited me the 1st day. I passed the final module exam, and benchmarked on the NUR 213 HESI. We have the final next week, so I'm studying while compiling my FCCE narrative. Oh yeah! There are 2 narratives that have to be completed. Each has to be 1,000 words and 2 responses each. The busy work doesn't stop. At this point I can see the finish line. 8 more shifts, a final exam, RN Exit HESI & a CAT HESI. Oh yeah, these freakin narratives lol....

Happy Nursing, 

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

03/24 Day before the last Unit Exam for NUR 213

 Tomorrow I take the last unit exam of NUR 213. So far I have a B in this class as well. This semester has been busy. I've done 5 exams, a teaching project, a Hesi Review Course, finished clinicals, and finished the last module of nursing school. I was able to contact the preceptor for my Capstone (120 hr preceptorship mandated by the NC Board Of Nursing). I hate that her schedule is nights at a hospital 1hr and 30 min away from me, but it's ok. I'm just trying to finish. I've turned in my clinical badge (clinicals are done! yay). But, I've picked up capstone packet from school which had my new badge for preceptorship, N95 respirator, & info to set up my N95 fitting at employee health (great, another 1hr & 30 min drive). I've already applied & registered with NC Board or Nursing which covered my background check, and I went to the Sheriffs office to submit my fingerprints. Looks like its winding down. I'm having more time because all we have left after tomorrow's exam is the final, NUR 213 Hesi, RN Exit Hesi, and CAT Hesi. 

* Key Points

*Knock out your "busy work" EARLY!

*Keep your calendar Up To Date!!!!

*Don't get frustrated when you get your preceptorship, and it's not what you asked for. Even though we had a "wish list" when it came to department & location, it's up to the facility, not the school!!!!

Happy Nursing!

Saturday, February 27, 2021

How to take test in Nursing School!

 As a Medic, this is one of the biggest adjustment I had to get through. I still have issues, BUT I have a good grasp on it! Unlike Medic test that formed from EMS protocols, nursing test are formed from "nursing theory". Nursing theory is listed as "rationales", and a question is formed from that rationale. Questions may invoke Maslow Hierarchy of Needs aka Prioritization,  Delegation, Nursing Care Plan Assessment, Diagnosis, Planning, Intervention, Evaluation, & Education. 

For Example:

A client is wearing a continuous cardiac monitor, which begins to sound its alarm. A nurse sees no electrocardiographic complexes on the screen. Which is the priority action of the nurse?

1.Call a code.
2.Call the health care provider.
3.Check the client's status and lead placement.
4.Start Chest compressions. 

My Medic brain said: "Start compressions!" There are 2 correct answers. Which one is MORE right?

The answer is 3. The rationale is that "Sudden" loss of EC Complexes is imply ventricular asystole or improper lead placement! It's all critical thinking! Keyword: PRIORITY my nurse brain said: "Assess patient FIRST!"

Great resources to help with test: (Nurse Sarah gives great lectures to help supplement nursing instructor lectures)

SAUNDERS NCLEX-RN REVIEW BOOK! It's a great outline of each chapter and gives the highlighted rationales for each area. It also has tons of NCLEX review questions. 

Believe it or not, QUIZLET has TONSSSSS for practice NCLEX questions to review. BUT, choose the one's with rationales, so that you will understand what you are being tested on! 

These test are far from easy, but if you understand the material, think like a nurse, you will be OK!

Saturday, February 20, 2021

When should I start looking for jobs?

You should start looking for jobs in January (the start of your last semester). Hospitals have "New Grad Nurse Residency Programs". They tend to hire EARLY like Jan/Feb, so if you wait too late, you may not get the positions you may want! I applied in January, and I've interviewed for Neuro Step-Down & ED at WakeMed main campus, Duke University Hospital (ER) and I still have more with WakeMed, Duke, & Vidant. The bigger hospital residency programs are more competitive, but there will be lots of hospitals recruiting your class on a set day with the nursing programs. Internal applicants tend to have better shots at getting what they want, so if you already work at a hospital, talk to the nurse manager of the unit you will be applying too. By now, you should have an idea of where you want to work. 


* Pick your preceptorship according to which "specialty" you want to work! Don't pick a L&D preceptorship if you want to work in the ICU. 

FYI UPDATE: I've accepted a job at Duke University Hospital (Medical Step-down).

What are clinicals like?

 I was thinking out "How to explain the format of clinicals!" Each nursing course has a corresponding clinical. Most of the clinicals are at the hospital. Usually 645am to 1245pm for 1 class or 1245pm to 645pm (if 2 classes that semester). Get the most from your clinicals. You CAN slack off, but TRUST me, it will catch up to you. By the time you are close to graduation, you should be able to handle 2 patients. Most of the time, it will be on a med-surg unit. If you are not a med-surg person, I get it! But, I can say that you will get to do A LOT of basic nursing duties, assessments and skills over and over on a med-surg unit. This is where you can develop your time management skills, customer service, and get familiar with charting on a basic level. Your "specialty" rotations (L&D, Mother/Baby, ED, ICU) will not begin until your 2 & 3rd semester. None of those rotations matter if you can't provide basic nursing care. Concentrate of the basics, assessment, vitals, I/O's, turning your patient on schedule, rounding, hygiene & oral care, med pass, etc. As for me, I only have 1 hospital rotation left (ED) before my preceptorship. Talk to you soon!

Thursday, February 18, 2021

02/18 NUR 213 Progress

 So far its been a little over 1 month and it's still tough. I don't know how the rumor started that this was the easiest, but they were wrong. Test wise, this semester is definitely the hardest, but the rubric for percentages to pass the class is better than the previous ones. The content is critical care. I will put this in perspective for you. I've only failed 2 test (the 1st semester, but not including benchmarking for HESI). I've failed the 1 test "this" semester, worse than my first 2 fails. I passed today the hardest test this semester, but made an 82! The content as a medic is not hard. It's dealing w/ mostly critical care, BUT the exam questions are harder. I know that I will pass this semester, but the A that I was looking for, might not be in sight!


KEEP GOING HARD! Don't pick up more hours at work because it's 1 class....It's actually 2 ( Graded Hesi Review Course).

Focus on Getting Better! Don't complain about the difficulty of the test!

It's LOTS of busy work, BUT it helps pad your grade.

Even though you are burned out, keep pushing!

Monday, January 25, 2021

01/25 Last Semester NUR 213

 So far we have been in this semester for 2 weeks and have already had 2 exams. This semester isn't worse than the last (time wise) BUT it's definitely hella busy. We have 1 class NUR 213. The 1st 8 weeks is class w/ 6 exams and a final, plus an end of course HESI. The 2nd 8 weeks is preceptorship aka capstone. We also have a team teaching project to present "twice", a HESI online review course with 15 "graded" exams, a HESI V2 exam, Exit HESI exam, and a CAT HESI exam. Nursing school does not let up in intensity.

 Our schedule is Tuesday 0645-1845 Clinicals, Wednesday (test day online at home) 0830 -12:30pm, Thursday (on campus) 0830- 1530pm. 

My take is that by now you should be "comfortable" taking nursing test. The content isn't that bad, as in this semester (Emergency, critical care, cardiology etc) you should already be familiar, being a paramedic.

I'm able to work more hrs this semester, than I was the previous. I'm only working 2 days a week this semester. Last semester was only 1 day. 

Happy Nursing,  

Sunday, January 3, 2021

01/03 New Year and Preparing for the Last Semester

 This Semester cost is $1400. There is only 1 thing item that I have to buy, a virtual clinical subscription (you know Covid stuff right!). As I'm working saving money, I have to count for gas. I have class 2 days a week and 1 day clinical. I have been doing practice questions from time to time to keep my mind fresh and to try and retain as much as possible. I feel like I've recovered from last semester LOL! I have a new calendar. So, I know that this semester will be very fast paced (to prepare us for boards), is what I'm thinking. Stay tuned for more info.