I once came across this adage. It says “No pain, no
gain”. I’ve been trying to apply this motto during the past few months (take
note, months in plural form for indeed it took me long months before I became
victorious on NCLEX) of preparing for NCLEX. I’m not so sure if some HCCA
nurses could relate to me but to tell you honestly, there were many times in
which I felt really dreadful to be at HCCA. Outrageous to be at HCCA because I
didn’t know what answers to give my IC (immigration consultant) for having been
so delayed to take the exam. More so, the guilt builds up knowing that despite
the constant reminder and motivation from my IC to do my part in the
preparation, often I give NCLEX the least priority on my schedules. I became so
hooked with a lot of responsibilities at PGH and to some other organizations.
And as I look back, I’ve realized that my not
passing the final predictor examination in which I took twice, made me less
interested about the NCLEX. Off course, those were one of the most discouraging
moments of my life. I even took my 2nd predictor exam during my
birthday, and it was the worst gift (irony) I had. I spent 2500 for the exam
and yet I didn’t make it. And so, from then on I felt as if I’m not meant for USA.
I thought that I could just take my masters and pursue being in the academe.
After all, nursing professors or even mere lecturers and clinical instructors
earn much here in the Philippines.
Being impatient about the retrogression plus
hearing that other nurses succeed in other countries added to my pessimism and
discouragement. I was on the edge of giving up on my dreams for USA not until I
came to my mind. I’ve realize that the amount I’ve spent for taking the CGFNS
and IELST will be put into waste. Not to mention the effort I had so I could
pass them. Also, I’ve recognized that my parents have been dreaming for me to
be a nurse in the USA and I don’t want to disappoint them.
It was not too late when I grasped the need to pass
NCLEX. However, it became urgent since my ATT expires in the next three months.
And so I had to do double time in my review. But despite my sincere attempt to
prepare, everytime I try to focus on my review, I was just too weak to succumb
to sleep. I had a lot of tries. But it was as if every endeavour I had to do
well in my review was futile.
As days approached June 30, (my scheduled date of
examination for NCLEX), I became more disheartened and worst, the anxiety
increased in intensity and in level. In order to lessen the remorse, I asked
for a five-day-leave and a three-day-off from my head nurse. I didn’t tell her
the reason why I needed the break. I just told her that the need for a rest was
an emergency. Even if I knew that not telling her the reason behind the leave,
will make it less likely to be granted, still, I didn’t tell her. I didn’t want
my co-staff to know that I will be taking the NCLEX because I felt unprepared
and I don’t want to be disgraced when they’ll know the result. I was that
cynic. But blessed enough, I was permitted the eight-day break from work.
However, I was not a good steward of the time I had. Instead of devoting my
time for review, I chose to work as private-duty-nurse (PDN) on a certain
patient who happened to be a well-off Chinese business man. He was our patient
at PGH ICU who has a pending transfer in St. Lukes Hospital. I thought that my
work as PDN will end when he’ll be transferred to St.Lukes. So while he was at
PGH, I grabbed the opportunity to take care of him thinking that soon he’ll be
moved to St. Lukes and I could have my review then. But privileged enough, the
patient, being satisfied of my care requested me to be his PDN while he’ll be
confined at St.Lukes. Such request was a dilemma on my part. I recognized my
need for review for NCLEX but at the same time I couldn’t let go of the bucks
that I will be earning. Not that I’m greedy but such money will be of great
help to finance my grandmother’s medication and as well provide for the
allowances of my brothers.
And so I had to weigh the consequences. And if
there’s a right word to describe by decision then, I would say that I was just
practical or to say in Filipino term, I was undeniably a “sigurista”. I
reasoned; if I won’t make it for NCLEX, then at least I earned for my family.
And that means that instead of preparing for NCLEX,
I was on duty at St.Lukes in most of my break. In some occasion, I sneaked for
some time (especially during my break-time) to peep on my reviewer while I’m at
PDN work. But off course, those were not enough; they were barely 15-minute
review. Although I could freely read anything I want after doing my care to my
patient, I opted not to review at work because I viewed it as being
disrespectful to my patient and his family. I didn’t want to take advantage on
them especially after gaining their trust on me. I spent my duty-time
conversing to my patient and with those periods of being with him, I’m
fortunate enough to have gained a lot of insight from sports, business even,
way-of-life from my patient. Those were valuables for me. And as I recall those
moments, I am indeed grateful for the experience and learning.
June 30, was a Monday. The Friday before my exam, I
asked for a day-off from my private patient. And though, I didn’t really want
to be at HCCA then, I had to. I needed to get my permit for the exam. I would
not want to drop by at HCCA on my exam day even if my schedule was three in the
afternoon. My ever supportive, ego-booster IC, Ma’am Beth was there. She asked
me if I am prepared to take the exam. I was blatant and blunt on my answer. I
said I’m not. There’s no need for me to deny. It will just worsen the
situation. I mean, at least she will know my real condition and would not
expect much from me. My taking the NCLEX then was for experience sake. I was
ready to fail. In fact I already have my options ready in case I will fail. I’m
also prepared to rationalize in case people will know and ask me about it. But,
I only have few people who know about the exam. Only my immediate family, Mark,
my mentor and my IC knew about it. I asked them to keep it secret. Even people
in my dormitory had no clue at all. There were no hints off course, as I’ve
said I was never seen concentrating on my review, even the last few days before
Evidently and without a doubt I was to fail. But at
that specific moment at HCCA, instead of hearing “sermon” from my IC, I was
given support. She said she has confidence on me. I was not expecting such
comment from her. I heard the same words from Ma’am Ruth. I had the final
coaching from her. At first, I was reluctant to wait for her since she was
interviewing somebody then. The idea I had for final coaching was somewhat a
question-and-answer session and so when Ma’am Beth asked me to, I was hesitant.
Nonetheless, I agreed so to lessen the blame on myself. Ma’am Ruth and Ma’am
Beth were certainly great help and encouragement to me. I considered it a
paradox knowing that though they knew that I’m not prepared at all to take the
exam, they still trusted me. Such trust and confidence from people I least
expected to receive from were of aid in regaining my self-esteem or morale.
Thus, on that specific day I was thankful I went to HCCA. And from that moment
on, I had a different feeling whenever I visit HCCA. I am no longer frightful
but expectant and excited.
But my story doesn’t end there. After the visit
from HCCA, I then went back to my PDN work. I could not resist the request I
had from my patient’s Korean wife. In fact after being of assistance in the
discharge from St. Lukes, the family asked me to be the PDN at home. They asked
me to be on duty for the next 24 hours. I told them that it is unnecessary
since the patient was really in good state. In fact all I’ve done was to take
his vital signs, assist in his meals and hygiene, administer his medications
and be a paid “kakwentuhan”. I’ve explained in the best way I could to the
family the inappropriateness of having me in their home. That was Saturday (two
days away from my exam) and all I wanted was to have enough rest and
relaxation. And so I instructed and taught the family the basic care the
patient needed. I encoded some facts about the patient’s medication (time,
dosage, side-effects, precautions etc.) and had it posted all over the house. I
even taught them how to do the vital signs taking even if it will take them
some time to develop the skills. I told them that they could readily access for
me and even their private physician in case there will be any problem.
Good enough, after all the effort, I was saved from
being on duty the whole day. I was given a free ride from Quezon City to Taft
area and as soon as I reached my dormitory, I rested. I heed to Ma’am Beth and
Ma’am Ruth’s advice to relax. After all, there’s no point to cram for a review.
The following day was then spent with a lot of
Monday came and I had mixed emotions. I need not
put them in detail. Taking examinations especially international exam (where a
future lies) really puts my emotions and adrenaline on their maximum height.
And in spite of the fact that I even had interrupted sleep the night before, I
felt “high”. I calmed myself, prayed, eat an early lunch and headed to Makati
(Trident). While I was at PVP liner, I was praying and really entrusting my
NCLEX to the Lord. I know that He will be in control and whatever the result
will be it will always be for my good. I was not aware then that because I want
to maintain the euphoria I was feeling I drank two cups of coffee.
Just before the exam started, we were asked to form
our line at Trident lobby. Incidentally, I was between the two examinees who
reviewed in Kaplan. They were discussing their preparation and truly, their
discussion made me shrink in embarrassment. I felt bad because I was
irresponsible not to have taken the NCLEX seriously. I was on the brink of
ending my elation when suddenly I realized that it was not the right time to
have self-pity. I regained control of myself and prayed again.
I ended my exam at 85th question and
took it more than two hours. That was how meticulous I was in taking the exam
that it took me that long. I made it sure that I had sound rationale on why I
chose my answer. I applied some test-taking strategy I learned. Thus, after my
exam, although I’m not quite sure I will make it, I was full of hopes.
Providential, I had a triumph over NCLEX even if I was undeserving.
I’ve not written this article so to brag about my
being irresponsible. Nor I’ve written this to push people to imitate the risk I
took. I am not proud about them. In fact, I am encouraging everybody to make the
most out of the opportunity, time and even the resources you have. Be serious
in your review with NCLEX for even if you won’t make it, pieces of information
gained from the review will be treasures.
Hence, the purpose of my sharing my NCLEX-testimony
is to highlight the fact that in most of the times, what we really need is a
positive outlook from ourselves and even from people around us. Though I didn’t
have the confidence I needed when I started my preparation, I had it in when I
most needed it. I obtained it from myself and as well, from people during the
most crucial times.
Passing the NCLEX is not strictly dependent on
finishing review materials and sessions with HESI, Saunders, Lipinncott, Mosby,
Kaplan etc. Not even reliant to the number of Q/A answered, nor with the
hospital experience. I believe and I could therefore conclude that if it is
indeed God’s plan and will for us, nothing and no one could really thwart it.
And for this NCLEX-experience I am indeed grateful to our Great Dad above. I
thank Him for making HCCA one of the instruments of my passing the NCLEX.
Indeed, I was given all the support I needed. Thus, with head lifted I’m proud
to be an HCCA’er.
But more than that, all credits and the glory is
for my Great Dad Above: Jesus who has been ever faithful to me. Indeed, when I
am weak, my Dad keeps me strong. Whenever I am incapable, God enables me and
gives me the capacity I need to surpass every challenge. Truly, my passing the
NCLEX was all becuase i have a Faithful, Powerful, Giver-of-Blessing GOD! And
for all these, I am so much grateful! SALAMUCH DAD! “Daghang salamat po talaga