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Is help available for a new grad who is struggling to pass the state boards?

Dear Donna,

I’m searching for some assistance for a friend who recently graduated from an RN program and is struggling to pass the state boards.

In a nutshell, she studied hard and did well in her program, but has taken the NCLEX exam several times since graduating and has not passed. She is working in the local hospital and has received wonderful feedback about her critical thinking and clinical skills. In practice, she is showing signs of being a wonderful nurse.

In reaching out to the state board of nursing about where she may be failing in the test-taking process, we only receive a response of “tell her to study hard and take a review course.” Is there anyone in the system who would be able to go to another level of detail on where she is trending on her inability to answer the questions? The report provided is a summary and really doesn’t tell you much.

My friend is determined and truly wants to be a nurse. Her desire to keep at it demonstrates her devotion to the profession. But this recent failure is testing her resolve. Are there any other avenues to help her?

Helping a Friend Pass NCLEX


Dear Helping a Friend Pass NCLEX,

There are many very bright and competent nursing school graduates who struggle to pass NCLEX. Usually, it is not a lack of knowledge but rather test-taking anxiety, lack of confidence, etc. Her school of nursing should be able to assist and support her/you in obtaining the information you need and coaching her to improve her chances of passing on the next try. Schools of nursing are very motivated to help their graduates pass NCLEX. I would start with them.

Assuming she has taken a review course, as most new graduates do these days, go back to that entity and request assistance. Most review programs guarantee success or allow the student to retake the course unlimited times. If she has not taken a review course, that would definitely be in order. Most review courses not only review clinical information but also provide test-taking strategies.

Additionally, there are special tutors to help new grads prepare for NCLEX. Find them through her school of nursing and/or any NCLEX review courses, whether she has taken one or not. You can also check with the state chapter of the American Nurses Association for an NCLEX tutor.

I also suggest that new grads take a few days off from studying before the exam and do something relaxing so they go in calm and with a clear mind. Tell your friend to spend time visualizing herself passing with flying colors. I also encourage students taking the NCLEX to start writing their names over and over with “RN” after it. Visualization is a very powerful and effective tool.

Best wishes,

By | 2015-09-01T13:13:23-04:00 September 2nd, 2015|Categories: Nursing Careers and Jobs|1 Comment

About the Author:

Donna Cardillo
Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, CSP, is president of Known as The Inspiration Nurse, she is a keynote speaker, retreat and seminar leader, and author of "Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional" and "The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career." She brings more than 25 years of clinical, management and business experience to her role as career guru.

One Comment

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    Emily September 6, 2015 at 9:08 pm - Reply

    In addition to the suggestions Donna has given, pay attention to the rationale; that is ,why the other answer was right compared to the one you chose. The clues to the answer are in the question as well. I hope that helps.

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