Hoorah! You’ve finished nursing school. Your cap and gown sit on your bed, and you wonder to yourself: how am I going to transition from student to a full-time nurse? It may feel like a daunting task to make the transition. When you went to school, you may have learned how to insert and take out a trach care, but what about writing a resume? Or even a cover letter? What in the heck does an NCLEX stand for and why is it important?
The good news is that we have some practical tips to help you transition from nursing student to a new grad in no time.
In this guide, we will explore the following:
- How do I obtain my ATT (Authorization to Test)?
- How do I apply for jobs?
- What is the best way to study for the NCLEX?
- What state do I take my NLCEX in?
How do I obtain my ATT?
The ATT or authorization to test is a way for the national board to determine if you are qualified to take the NCLEX (RN or PN). The qualifications vary by state. Generally, they include passing a criminal background check and valid identification. Transcripts demonstrating that you successfully graduated from nursing school are also required. You should receive your ATT within a month after filling it. The ATT is good for 90 days after you receive it in your email.
How do I apply for jobs?
As you’re waiting to receive your ATT, it’s time to apply for jobs. Applying for jobs can feel overwhelming. You might not know where to apply or even how the application process works. First, you need to figure out what type of job you want in the nursing field. Do you want to work bedside? Do you want to work in a hospital, a doctor’s office or a school? There are a lot of options out there for you. Once you choose where you want to work and what job you want to have, you can start applying.
Probably the most important step in trying to find work is having a good resume and cover letter. Once you get your resume and cover letter in shape, the next step is to go on job boards such as Incredible Health to find a job that’s suitable for you.
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What is the best way to study for the NCLEX?
The NCLEX test gives you the green light to start working as a registered nurse.
The test is made up of 75 to 265 questions. It may sound like a lot. But you have 4 hours to complete it. The test covers the following areas:
- Safe and effective care environment
- Health promotion and maintenance
- Psychosocial integrity
- Physiological integrity
Next are some study tips to help you ace the exam!
- This is a marathon, not a sprint.
- It’s too much information to try and “refresh” in just a couple days.
Have a system
- You can use a test prep service (ATI, Kalpan), especially if it is offered through your school.
- A system gives you more structure.
- Get tips on how to get through all the modules what to work on.
- Break it down by specialty (such as OB, Mental Health, Med Surg).
The more questions you can look at and answer the better!
- Get comfortable with all types of questions (such as multiple choice or “select all that apply”).
Study your way
- Study the way that works best for you. It could be in groups, a pair or alone.
- How or who study with doesn’t matter – just make sure to do it the way that works for you!
Take it easy before test day
- Take the night off. Go to bed early so you’re well rested.
- Don’t try to study the day of the exam. Focus on relaxing and getting to the testing site early.
Expert advice from nurses like you
What state do I take my NCLEX in?
One of the first steps after you graduate should include finding out what state to take your NCLEX in. The NCLEX stands for the National Council Licensure Examination. This test is mandatory for anybody considering working as a registered nurse. You can take your NCLEX in any state.
Just know that you will have to go through the process of transferring your license if you want to work in another state. Ideally, you want to get your NCLEX in a state that you’re planning on living in. However, if you are going to be moving to another state in the near future it may be good practice to take the NCLEX in the state you’re moving to.
- “NCLEX and Other Tests.” ncsbn.org/nclex.htm. Accessed Feb. 28, 2022.