Friday, June 21, 2013

Licensed to Heal

I sent out my application for my nursing license the day before my last post here. They give time estimates on the website on how long it may take for you to receive your authorization to test, and I wasn't expecting to receive it until this past Wed at the very earliest. I got my email with authorization the day before that! So I logged in and scheduled my test. Luckily someone had canceled their appointment, so I was able to get a test date just two days later (Thursday, which was yesterday). Woo! Everything went so quickly, that it was almost a blur. I knew I was ready, so that wasn't an issue. I just ramped up my studying a bit.

The night before the exam I had one of those dreams where your alarm doesn't go off, you get up too late and miss everything. That was horrific. I was so relieved when I awoke from the dream and it was only about 5:15am. Ugh! I wasn't planning to get up till 6... So I figured I would get a bit of last-minute studying in and then I left on a very early bus to get downtown.

I got to the test center extremely early (7am for an 8am start time), and I was first to get registered when they opened at 7:20. I started the exam some time around 7:30. I got nervous after the first few questions because I had a feeling I had gotten them all wrong, so I took a deep breath and calmed myself down. Then I got into my groove. 

The NCLEX isn't like other tests. First of all it gives you harder questions when you get one right and easier ones when you get one wrong. Also, it doesn't matter how many you get right. It wants to know that you can answer questions at a certain level. Once it's ascertained where your knowledge/comprehension level is, then it knows if you're going to pass. Third, the test doesn't only have multiple choice questions. It also has "alternative-type" questions like "fill in the blank" (which are math questions), put in the correct order, choose all that apply, and ones with pictures. Our Kaplan review teacher told us that all alternative-type questions are above passing level, so if you get them then you know you're on the right track. Every time I got one of these alternative-type questions, I did an internal cheer. It really kept me going because I knew that I was above passing - and I had a bunch of them! 

The NCLEX has between 75 and 265 questions. If the system has figured out your knowledge level after 75 questions then it shuts you off - pass or fail. If it hasn't figured you out, then you keep getting questions until it does. At 265 it shuts off regardless, and then I think it takes an average of your last 60 questions or so to figure out if you pass or not. I started getting excited when I neared 75, because I had a feeling it would cut me off. I knew I was above passing because of all of those questions, and as soon as I hit the button after answering question 75 I got the blue screen telling me I was finished. YAY! At that point I don't even think it was 8:15 yet, and I was very excited.

I knew that it would take about 3 business days for me to get official notification of passing, but once again someone is working over time at the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing because the next day (today) I got my license number in an email with my official letter from the state. Even though I knew I had passed, it was still incredible to see the congratulations from the state in writing with my license number. So that's it! I'm officially a registered nurse!!! Hopefully I'll be able to start an online BSN program in August and then midwifery school about a year from now. My journey has just begun.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

3rd Trimester

I can't believe it's been over a month since I last posted. Yikes. And I've been horrible about taking belly pictures, too. I keep forgetting until it's too late at night and then I just want to pass out. Lots of things have happened since mid-May, so I'll try to recap.

First up, I graduated from nursing school with highest honors. Yay! I got A's this semester, but because I got an A- in the fall, I didn't get my 4.0 and was not valedictorian. Oh well! But I was completely bedecked in various colored stoles during graduation, and I was elected to Phi Theta Kappa as well. Tzipora loved graduation so much that she keeps asking me to go back (even now), though she calls it "grabuations." It's hilarious.

A week after graduation, we piled everyone into the car and drove to Rochester for a cousin reunion. We had an incredible time there, and the kids are still talking about and asking about their cousins. Even though my kids were the youngest, the older kids were amazing about keeping them involved in the games and playing with them. I wish our cousins lived closer, because it would be amazing to have them together more often. These are pictures taken by my brother-in-law, of course. Though I did take some of my own, I've been too lazy to get them off my camera.

In pregnancy news, I've passed into 3rd trimester and am now seeing my midwife every other week. Yikes! I didn't even realize we had gotten that far until she reminded me at today's appointment. Baby is doing well, though she's smaller than average. Her heart issues are a thing of the past B"H, and I'm feeling pretty well. I will try to get a photo taken today so you can see how my belly has grown. I'm still doing really well on the weight gain part of things, too. My midwife is really proud of me for keeping it under control. Though with my new addiction to Starbucks Iced Chai Tea Lattes (skim milk, of course), that may change. hehe

While I'm waiting to take my nursing licensing exam (NCLEX), I'm working as a real estate salesperson. I'm actually really enjoying it, and it's great to be working with the same "boss" I've had since 2008. Though since we've known each other so long it's hardly the relationship you might expect a broker and salesperson to have - we're really more partners than anything else, and we work really well together in that respect. After 5 years we've gotten very comfortable with each other, so I'm not afraid to speak my mind, and she takes everything I say to heart. It's really great. Though I am looking forward to getting a nursing job, I know I'm going to have to wait until the baby is a few months old to do that, and I'm glad to have something to do in the mean time.

While I'm working this summer, the kids are all going to different day camps. I can't believe my twins are going to pre-school next year and that they're old enough for a real day camp. It's absolutely unreal. Tzipora has also gotten so big, and she talks almost constantly. The things that I hear my kids say could fill a joke book. Tzipora also "graduated" from Early Intervention this past week, so that was a bittersweet moment. Chana and Tzipora usually play pretty well together, and it's nice to see them interacting as sisters. Their pretend play keeps me entertained! And I'm always happy to get in on their fun. My usual roles are as patient while they are doctors or as a spa patron while someone either pretends to give me a bubble bath or combs my hair. Tzipora has this thing about hair... It calms her to play with or stroke someone's hair. Whether it's her own, grabbing a doll's hair, or running her fingers through mine, it's like a sedative. If I'm wearing a snood around the house, she will take it clean off to get at my hair so she can play with it. She's a future shaytel macher (woman who sells, styles and cuts wigs/hair), that's for sure. Though she also enjoys pretending to be my doctor and giving me a checkup, so maybe she'll do both.

I don't think I missed anything huge, and I will try to remember to post more often. It's just difficult when I'm trying to keep the kids from getting into trouble every other second. And if anyone has any tips on getting a little boy to listen and follow directions, I'm all ears.