Tag Archives | nursing

Image by Nick Hillier, unsplash.com

Taking the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) exam is a stressful event for many students. This short exam can have a major impact on your future career and will validate all of the hard work you have invested into your studies. Here is a look at a few tips to help you pass the ANCC exam the very first time.

Prep For Six Months
In order to get a good score, most students need around six months to prepare for the exam. During that time, you should set aside a few hours every week to go over the Test Content Outline (TCO). Much of the information that students must know is relatively new, and that is why you should only use study guides and practice exams that were released within the last few years.

Purchase The Formal Practice Tests
The ANCC regularly releases practice exams that students can purchase in the months leading up to their official exams. These practice tests are around 75 questions each, and they cover all aspects of the official exam including cultural information, recent studies, and hypothetical data. Unlike many other practice exams, the ANCC’s practice tests are almost identical to the actual tests. That allows students to familiarize themselves with the layout of the exam and the wording of the questions.

Sign Up Before You Graduate
Students who put their ANCC tests off for more than a few months might struggle to relearn much of the information. Whether you are studying in a traditional classroom setting or have decided to complete your MSN program online, your ANCC test should be taken no more than four or five months after you complete school.

Focus On Your Health
Your physical health and cognitive abilities might be more closely intertwined than you realize. Students who continue to eat well and exercise will reduce their risk of depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Eating healthy meals and exercising will also reduce your risk of coming down with an illness just before your test.

Getting Ready For The Test Day
In the days leading up to your exam, you should begin collecting all of the paperwork and other supplies you will need. That includes a form of identification, directions, and your confirmation number. No food or drinks are allowed inside the testing area, so you must come well-hydrated and eat a large meal beforehand.

Your ANCC exam will have a major impact on your future career options, and it is vital that you start preparing yourself as soon as possible.

This article was contributed by guest author Emma Sturgis.

Image by Simon, pixabay.com

Image by Simon, pixabay.com

If you are starting nursing school soon, you’ve probably heard a slew of horror stories. No one has ever said, “Oh, nursing school, it was super easy.” It seems like everywhere you look, every article you read, and everyone you talk to is warning you about the struggle of the journey to become a nurse.

There is a reason why this is the most common discussion on nursing school; it’s truthfully very difficult. But this profession requires an extensive learning track due to the giant pool of knowledge nurses need. We know nursing school is hard, that it’s not a walk in the park, and that the job once you’ve graduated is difficult as well, but there are some things about nursing school that you might not have been told.

Say Goodbye to the Little Things – At Least for a While

There are a few aspects of life that you might take for granted that you’re going to have to say goodbye to for now. Doing your hair, getting your nails done, staying away from caffeine, making a last minute decision to get a drink, making vacation plans out of town, making plans in general, etc. are all aspects of life that will be way more difficult now than ever. You won’t have time to curl your hair every day. Doing clinicals, and nursing in general, won’t allow you to have long or fake nails in order to combat infection. But, if you can manage a pedicure appointment, take it!

Being a Good Student Doesn’t Mean What it Used to

If you were a 4.0 student before nursing school, you need to come to terms with the fact that you might not be a 4.0 student anymore, and that you shouldn’t kill yourself trying to keep that status. What is required of you in nursing school is quite a bit more than what is required of you in other general education courses, so don’t beat yourself up over a few B’s. In nursing school, being a good student means that you’re doing all your required reading before classes, taking detailed notes, and finding a good buddy to help you study and remain accountable. Being a good student now means taking advantage of every option for extra help that is offered. Go to all study groups, overview sessions, test preps, and office hours to ask questions.

Be Prepared for the Mental Turmoil

There are going to be days where you screw up, when you get a bad grade, or your clinical supervisors are mean to you. You’re going to question your schooling, daydream about running away, and maybe even break down in tears due to lack of sleep and too much stress. It will happen, but it’s important to get it out for a little while then pick yourself up and recharge. It’s common to feel like you are falling behind or not performing like you should. It’s also common to feel guilty for ignoring friends and family. With this mixture, it can be difficult to find the positive side of two negative problems, but it’s all a part of schooling. It’s not forever and soon you’ll be able to have a social life again.

Organization and Scheduling Will Get You a Long Way

This doesn’t really seem like a great tip, but the workload you’ll experience will require strict organization and scheduling in order to make you more successful and productive. Organize study sessions a month in advance with your study group, and schedule out your assignment due dates. Even schedule in time to study at home. This will help you stick to a strict study schedule and will help your family understand. Procrastination is not going to fly in this environment and you will fall behind quickly if you don’t keep up with your reading, studying, and assignments. Get a calendar just for your schooling and write down your schedule so it will be harder for things to come up unexpectedly or fall through the cracks.

It Looks a Lot Different From the Inside

Going to nursing school, doing clinicals, and entering the nursing workforce will show you many things about the other side of healthcare. Nurses are on the front lines and experience it in a much more saturated way than many others do. You will work alongside doctors, learn from other nurses, and value the help that is required of the medical assistants that work alongside medical professionals. Healthcare professionals work tirelessly to provide patients with the best healthcare possible – which is the product of a lot of sacrifice. You’ll see tired nurses, long hours, tired feet, aching backs, mountains of charting, patient loss, missed birthdays, and cold dinners. But you’ll also see successful procedures, prayers answered, and people dedicated to helping every single patient.

Yes, nursing school is difficult; it’s extremely difficult. Nurses retain an unbelievable amount of knowledge in a very short amount of time, are taught many different areas of medicine, and hold the lives of their patients in their hands. But while it can be very difficult, it’s well worth it in the end to be one of those professionals dedicated to patient care.

This article was contributed by guest author Chelsy Ranard.

Image by Western Connecticut State University Peggy Stewart on Flickr

Image by Western Connecticut State University Peggy Stewart on Flickr

Whether you are a nurse or you’re in nursing school, chances are you’ve spent some time trying to figure this nursing thing out. You’ve done your research, spoken to seasoned nurses, or spent many nights studying while watching Grey’s Anatomy and laughing at the procedures the doctors are doing that are actually the nurse’s job. You’ve watched your free time drift away, taught yourself how to survive without sleep, and started to accept that just because your answer is right doesn’t mean it’s the most right. The need for nurses is at an all-time high in a variety of capacities. It is a demanding and draining position that is not for the faint of heart, but is also extremely rewarding.

The nursing shortage

If you are already a nurse or wanting to be, you are helping aid in the problematic nursing shortage. Right now more than 50% of the nursing workforce is close to retirement age and in the U.S., baby boomers are experiencing an increased number of chronic conditions that require hospitalization. While we are losing nurses to retirement and gaining patients, we need more nurses to fill the gap. Increasing enrollment is one way to impact the shortage, but this uncovers yet another issue, which is the low number of nursing instructors. The only way to promote a higher number of nurses willing to teach is to raise their wages. Due to the unequal amount of supply and demand in the nursing industry the job market for nurses is at an all-time high for potential nurses looking for work and therefore salaries are much higher.

The options are endless

The options for types of degrees and the jobs you can obtain with those degrees are expansive. With options for LPN, NP, and RN programs available at a slew of different nursing schools with varying pathways, every student will be able to find the degree and pathway that suits them best. The degree preferred by most nursing leaders is a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), so do your research if you are thinking about joining the nursing profession to make sure you have the degree appropriate for your career track. One you’ve obtained your degree, the options open even more with careers available to nurses in a wide variety of specialties and lifestyles such as travel nursing, nurse educator, oncology nursing, pediatric nursing, and the list goes on and on.

You’ll always be learning

The learning process does not stop with graduation when you are in a medical field. Nurses focus on such a wide variety of medicine that they are always attending seminars and conferences, reading medical journals, learning new procedures, and trying to keep up with the forever changing medical industry. You’ll always be learning from seasoned nurses, trial and error, and mandatory continuing education. Coursework never stops when you are a nurse and in order to thrive in the field, nurses must be eager learners and naturally driven. A nursing career isn’t for everyone, and the obligation to stay on top of the evolving nursing world is one of the many difficult tasks required.

Nursing is difficult

Let’s drive this point home one more time: Nursing is hard. Nursing school is hard because being a nurse is even harder. If you are already a nurse, you understand this. Compiling an impossible amount of information in your mind and being able to pull it out at the most stressful time in an effective manner can be the difference between life and death for patients. Not only dealing with the long hours, lack of sleep, no social life, and the never ending amount of learning involved, but the physical and mental strain it puts on your body is not for the weak. You’ll cry for patients, make mistakes, work with an aching back and feet, get yelled at by faculty and patients alike, develop a strong stomach, work overnight, work into the next day, miss birthday parties, be invited to patient’s funerals, and be covered in bodily fluids. You are on the front lines of healthcare and you will see things that no one else sees. Be prepared.

It’s all about patient care

For those in nursing, the entire reason that they go through the rigors of nursing school and the battles of the job is for their patients. Without a passion for people and their welfare, maintaining a job that is so difficult would be impossible. Nursing isn’t a job you do for the money; good nurses in the field for a long time do it to help people. Caring and compassionate nurses mean the world to their patients and end up being the best at their jobs. Every single day you will be making a big difference in someone’s life. You are responsible for positive quality of life for your patients, you will be fulfilled and satisfied in your career, seeing immediate gratification for the tasks you complete correctly. Despite the pain, heartache, stress, time away from loved ones, and lack of sleep, nurses do it for their patients.

This article was contributed by guest author Chelsy Ranard.