If it does, then you must be pretty fond of me by now.
Alright, I admit it's been a long while. A very long while, in fact. But I have no good explanation.
For a while I just haven't had much to say, or the energy to say it. I've also gotten fairly sucked into Facebook. Love me some Facebook. As a result my ramblings here have suffered to the point that you may no longer be reading this at all.
I suppose the first thing I need to do is provide an update on where I am.
I graduated from nursing school with my BSN (3.78 GPA, in case you were wondering) in December, and started looking for jobs. You may have read my rant about not being able to find work. I took a week off in January and we went to Disney with The Peanut. I had a line on a job at that time, but it fell through when the hospital system decided to close a small hospital to inpatient service and displaced a bunch of nurses, which meant outside candidates were not being interviewed. I found this out while in Florida and a couple of days before we got home I stopped shaving.
It got so bad that I started a playoff beard like those seen often in the NHL in spring. I vowed not to shave until I either passed my board exam or got an interview, whichever happened first. I chronicled it's growth with weekly pictures posted to, again, Facebook.
While the beard grew I started really looking for jobs and practically making a stalker of myself. I was calling nurse recruiters regularly and working my network for all it was worth. I'd find job postings, apply online as most of the hospitals required and then make calls to find the hiring manager for those positions. With a name or email address I would send an additional resume and cover letter and/or leave a voicemail for them. Mine was a known name.
While this went on I was waiting for the paperwork to go through the State system so I could take my board exam an get my license, which is the last hurdle to overcome to be able to practice as a Registered Nurse.
In early February I got the approval to take the NCLEX exam (nursing boards) and made the appointment for the following week, which was the soonest available. Most of my friends held off for weeks or even months, but I didn't want to wait. On day 24 of the playoff beard I sat for the exam.
It's a computer test that can take anywhere from 75 to 265 questions to decide whether or not you learned enough in school to be a safe Nurse. There's some kind of formula based on your performance on the test and the difficulty of the questions that lets the computer make a 95% accurate prediction of your ability to function in Nursing. 60 of the 75 questions (if you do the minimum) are test questions and the other 15 are experimental and are just there to be evaluated. You don't know which is which.
The test is administered by a private company and they report the results to the state which decides then about whether or not to license you (based on the test, background checks etc). They have elaborate security procedures to make sure that you are who you say you are and that you don't cheat. I think it's probably easier to get on a nuclear submarine than it is to get into the testing room.
Well, I took the thing and the computer shut off at 75 questions. I felt like I was guessing most of the time, but have enough faith in myself to believe that there was no way I'd fail with the minimum, so I walked out 98% sure that I'd passed. There's a way to sort of check immediately to see of you passed and I did that when I got home. It worked, and I felt good about the whole thing.
My wife was at the house when I got back, letting our sick dog out of the house. There was a job fair going on that I wanted to go to but wasn't sure about timing. I still had time, so I shaved the beard while she ironed a shirt for me.
I went to the event, got there at the end and managed to meet a couple of people, including one recruiter with whom I had been corresponding. It was OK, but kind of quick since I arrived towards the end. I also had time to pick up my Diploma while I was there and catch up with a couple of my friends. When I got home I emailed thank you notes.
The next day I went to another job fair and talked with more recruiters and said hi to the ones I'd seen the day before. I saw a couple more friends, took some notes and headed home.
On the drive home I got a call from a large hospital system asking if I'd like to interview later that week. Heck yes! Bonus, it was on an intensive care unit, which is very challenging but hard to get into as a new grad. I really wanted that job.
I went to the interview and noticed that I was competing with a guy who had a 4.0 in my program and was a classmate. I wasn't sure I could beat him, even though I had much more professional experience (he's 23). The next week I had an interview with a hospital where I had been pestering people. It was on a regular floor and sounded like I would be busting my butt. I was more worried about my ability to do that job than work in an ICU.
Turns out I got the ICU job! Interestingly enough, so did my classmate. A second spot opened and he was offered it ( know I got the spot first because he was offered and accepted a floor job, and then got the call offered the second spot when it opened up). We are in training together, which is actually pretty cool. Nice to have a classmate around.
I'm “working” in Neuroscience ICU. I used the quotes because really I am in training classes three days a week and only working with patients two days a week. The classroom stuff is supposed to be advanced training, ICU nurses are supposed to be able to keep extremely ill people alive and recognize quickly and react when someone tries to die.
Floor nurses need to know a lot of stuff too, and their work is demanding as all get out, but in a different way. Floor nurses bust ass, and anyone who says otherwise is either uninformed or just plain ornery. Either way, they're wrong.
A couple of days later I got the official confirmation that I passed my boards. Everything just sort of fell into place.
I feel kind of like I won the lottery. I have no idea how I got this lucky, but here I am and I'm grateful.
There's more to report, but I'm about typed out at the moment.
I hope you're doing well too.