I've been studying for the RNC exam and I will hopefully take it by the end of the month. What's that, you ask? It used to be the exam Neonatal Nurse Practitioners had to take to become certified. Now the NNPs take something more akin to pediatric boards that the doctors take, and the RNC exam is left for those of us who want to become better, more qualified NICU nurses without going to grad school. (And after this experience, you won't see me wanting to go to grad school any time soon!)
When Ross and I went to Chicago in October, I was taking a review class for this test. (The class, by the way, ended up being a spectacular waste of money to watch a burnt-out nurse read off of out-dated PowerPoint slides. If you're studying for your RNC, do not take Terese Verklan's class. Or buy her book, for that matter. Apparently the Handbook of Neonatal Nursing is better, but I found that out too late as well).
Anyway, I never realized how much nursing school affected me. I've alluded to it before, but senior year of high school, I went from relatively enjoying school, studying hard, and performing above average, to quitting calculus and suffering from general apathy which I attributed to senioritis. However, it didn't go away when I got to college. My study habits were nonexistent, my anxiety skyrocketed, and for certain classes, I would become paralyzed with fear instead of studying for tests. I Wasn't out partying, either. I would spend hours staring at a TV or computer screen- but not relaxing. All I was thinking about was what I should be studying, but I could. not. get. up.
There are plenty of extenuating factors affecting that abridged story, but needless to say, nursing school did not leave me with good time management skills or self-confidence. Some days, I can sit down and study for a few hours and be okay (overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information I need to learn, but okay). Other days, I will find any possible way to avoid studying. If I do sit down, I keep wanting to get up for a snack break or a baking break. Heck, I've even procrastinated by cleaning the apartment which is, um, rare.
It's not a question of whether I'm smart enough to pass. I'll still tell anyone who asks that I passed my NCLEX in 75 questions. (It's a "smart test" that will ask you as few as 75 and as many as 265 questions to determine your competency). It is a question of whether or not I can overcome my anxiety and study effectively.
And please, please don't ask me if I've taken my test yet. When I pass, you'll hear me shout it from the rooftops. But if I somehow don't pass, trust me, I really won't want to talk about it.