For most minority nurses, nursing school experiences are critical in defining our perspective on nursing and in determining success in nursing. Nursing school defines our resiliency, how well we develop confidence in nursing and how we will continue on to career advancement. We interviewed Travon Sharpley on his experience First hand with nursing school and NCLEX preparation.
Colea Owen, MBA, BSN, RN
Nursing School is the foundation that Career Success is built on
My name is Tra’Von Sharpley and I graduated from Bryant and Stratton College in 2016. I had a very eventful nursing experience there, for one me being the only male student in the accelerated nursing program, but also being the only black male going for nursing also
Travon: I found out the same day of my pinning ceremony that the school had decided to fail me by 1.6% in critical care nursing the first time around which forced me to miss my pinning ceremony, tell my family hey guys I know I had you call off work, and find baby sitters for this special day but yeah, I didn’t make it. I was completely distraught, and my confidence was completely ruined. I also say that I had mentally checked out.
Despite wanting to give up and call it quits, I went back and complete the course again this time receiving a higher grade and graduating in August of 2016.
The Reality of NCLEX
(only 85% of new grads pass their NCLEX on the first try, and out of second time test takers only 46% pass the second time around)
Travon: The first time I took the NCLEX, I really felt that I was studying the correct way. I would meet with the school that I graduated from, and they would give me handouts that really didn’t seem to help. Bringing this up to them, and their solution was “this is just something I have to get use to, because it has helped others so it’s not the material it’s how I’m learning it.” I kept trying to memorize information until I felt that I just could not remember anymore. Taking the test was the most frightening thing in my life. I sat down and it started okay, but 83 questions in and then test shut off. As soon as it shut off I knew I had failed.
"I wanted to prove to people that I can be black, and be a male and know just as much as every other person out there"
I felt like I had let my family, and friends down, but more importantly I let myself down. I felt that walking into the this test I had so much riding on me becoming a nurse. I knew I wanted to continue with my schooling and already go back to school to get my BSN or even my MSN. I knew that I wanted to move out of state. I knew that I wanted to be the first one in my household to successfully make it, but after this test I started to believe that maybe I was only fooling myself. Maybe I couldn’t be a nurse, and I thought other nurses out there would judge me if I told them the truth that I failed so I came up with a story about taking the test.
Finding Resources is the Hardest Part
Going into this course I was very skeptical. I thought that it has already been about a year from me graduating and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to recall information. I also felt that if I answered things wrong, I would get judged about information that I didn’t know. At the beginning of this course I would say I was willing to learn but didn’t really expect a lot out of it.
(Confidence is usually the BIGGEST determinant that affects test taking ability )
Travon: I believe that this course has helped tremendously. I wish that I would have found this course earlier in my journey. Not only did this course help with my confidence about going into the test, but it has also helped with teaching me how to read the questions, how to take time to actually understand the information, and how to use critical thinking techniques to come to the correct answer.
First, I was able to create affirmations that helped me over coming my fears of testing and the feelings of inability that comes with failing the test. Next, I was aided in learning how to read the questions and how to take my time with each question. Then, I worked on how to use test taking skills and how to strengthen my critical thinking skills.
The thing I liked the most about this course was the individualized teaching plan. With having this individualized plan, I was able to focus on areas of studies that I needed the most, and rework the plan as we went along, to ensure that we didn’t move off a topic until I felt that I had somewhat of an understanding of the topic at hand.
How did you feel about taking the NCLEX after taking the course?
After taking this course, I feel a lot more comfortable with answering question and even talking about the Nclex. I feel that I may need a little more time to study but I am confident that after taking this course I will be the RN that I was meant to be, and I will be back on my journey to getting my BSN or MSN.
Side Note: Travon completely ACED his NCLEX the second time around (ALL OF THIS WINNING!) we did additional tutoring sessions until he was comfortable and he also sought out his previous Dean to meet and review class notes. Don't forget to use all of your resources!
Telling your story takes courage...Thank Travon by leaving him some words of encouragement below!
I've ran into too many nurses who has had horrible nursing school experiences (myself included) and have lacked confidence afterwards. Its a process, but this is NOT how nursing should be. There are additional resources out there to help, and BGBS is one of them. We focuses on building a community of support and engagement, recognizing achievement and providing the tools that encourage successful career advancement. Lets us know your story- Did you pass the NCLEX on the first try?