I wanted to write a quick update to those of you who followed along my road to becoming an RN… and I can’t begin to say how thrilled I am to announce:
I’M OFFICIALLY A REGISTERED NURSE!!
Feels so sweet to say!! I graduated @ the end of December 2016. Didn’t receive my ATT until the beginning of March and scheduled right away. I mainly used Uworld to study.
I also was offered a position at my local hospital a few weeks before I even took the NCLEX!! I was in shock. So now that I’m an RN, I’ve officially accepted the position and start in a little under two weeks 😬!!
To all students who are looking how to pass the NCLEX
Do it, trust me.
I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t pass the first time I took the NCLEX. I was close, I went the full 265 questions. I had studied with ATI and Saunders. I did a ton of questions. It wasn’t enough.
Hurst review is different. They have questions, sure, but it’s different. It goes over the information that a brand new nurse with two weeks of vast knowledge would have. It breaks down the information and states it in such a way that it all connects and it’s easier to remember.
I passed the second time, after waiting over a year from the first time I took it…and I credit Hurst Review with helping me succeed.
Look into it, baby nurses. It’s worth it and it’s guaranteed.
It is common to see “normal lab values” that differ slightly from what you see in your textbook or at the hospital. Laboratory reference values often vary among reference sources and are highly dependent on the analytic methods used.
The NCLEX will not ask you to identify lab values with only slight variations from the norm because of this widely-known fact! Instead, questions on lab values will be obviously “off” or else you will be told about an abnormal lab result and then tested on your understanding of the implications of that result: can you anticipate the manifestations, the risks associated with it, or how to intervene?
Don’t focus on memorizing every reference range, but do learn the ones that are likely to show up on the NCLEX. The following labs are specifically listed on the detailed version of the NCLEX Test Blueprint:
• pH: 7.35 - 7.45
• PO2: 80 - 100
• SaO2: 95 - 100%
• HCO3: 21 - 28 mEq/L or 21 - 28 mmol/L
• BUN: 10-20 mg/dL or 3.6-7.1 mmol/L
• Creatinine 0.5-1.2 mg/dL or 44-106 µmol/L.
• Cholesterol (total): <200 mg/dL or <5.0 mmol/L
• Glucose: 70 - 110 mg/dL (fasting) and ≥ 200 (casual) or <6.1 mmol/L (fasting) or ≥ 11.1 mmol/L (casual).
• Critical glucose levels are <40 and >400 mg/dL or <2.22 and >22.2 mmol/L .
• Platelets: 150,000-400,000/mm³ or 150-400 x10⁹/L.
• Potassium: 3.5-5.0 mEq/L or 3.5-5 mmol/L.
• Sodium: 136-145 mEq/L or 136/145 mmol/L.
• WBC: 5,000-10,000/mm³ or 5-10 x10⁹/L.
• Critical WBC: <2,000 or >40,000/mm³ or <2 or >40x10⁹/L.
• PT: 11-12.5 seconds (normal) or ≥1.5-2 x control (with anticoagulant therapy)
• aPTT: 30-40 seconds (normal) or ≥1.5-2.5 x control (with anticoagulant therapy)
• INR: 0.8 - 1.1 (normal) or 2 - 3 (for A - fib) or 3 - 4.5 (for prosthetic valves)
NCLEX Mastery provides lab reference ranges from Mosby’s, 5th Edition (2013) and Mosby’s Canadian (2012). In a few instances, SI ranges have been sourced from Stedman’s Online or conversions made from Mosby’s conventional values, calculated using the AMA Manual of Style SI Conversion Calculator.
For a complete lab resource, broken down by gender and age group, consult any of our nursing apps.
I would like to take a second to talk about the NCLEX for the other baby nurses who may have not taken it yet or will be taking it very soon or in a few years.
I know by law we aren’t allowed to talk about the test afterwards and what it contained so this post will not say something like “lots of priority questions” or anything of that nature.
I would like to emphasize other aspects.
My school told us how long the test is, maximum of 6 hours and maximum of 265 questions. They also told us how many people finished in 75 questions, which for those who don’t know is the minimum amount of questions given. All of my teachers loved to talk about how after 75 questions their test shut off and they walked out knowing they passed and were so confident.
If that’s you, great, then this post isn’t for you. Congratulations on passing, I’m very happy for you and am pleased we are colleagues. This is for the people who are bad test takers, who struggle, who are scared.
I walked into the NCLEX the other day thinking, “all I have to do is get through probably 75 questions, maybe 95 or 115 at the most.” Boy was I wrong. I took all 265 questions and it took me 3 and a half hours.
Words do not even describe how I felt, I was defeated. I walked out of the testing center trying to hold it together. Took the elevator down to the main floor, sank to the floor against a wall and bawled my eyes out. All my teachers talked about how as soon as you have reached minimal competency the test shuts off and for the most part you should be okay and passing. But mine never did.
But enough about me, to my point:
The NCLEX is not a sprint, it is a marathon. I walked in not prepared enough to sit there for 265 questions. I never planned for every question. To sit there, frustrated, looking at the numbers tick up and the time tick down, it is a sickening feeling.
The main point of this post is to try and not get discouraged. From my research 85% of people pass if on the first try. In my school we used ATI (bane of my existence) and they said they have a 97.8% success rate. UWorld and Kaplan and others probably have similar rates because if they didn’t they still wouldn’t be making study materials and wouldn’t be considered credible.
Take your study time, prep with questions, and believe on yourself and what you were taught in school. You are fully capable.
If your test shuts off, that’s great, if it doesn’t then you can still be okay. I’m not trying to give false hope and say every time you will pass because I honestly don’t know that. But nursing school is hard, you have to be a special kind of brilliant to make it as far as you have.
So go forth and be brilliant, it’s just another test. You’ve had plenty in nursing school itself. And remember that no one can take your degree once you’ve earned it!