How to Prepare for the NCLEX
The United States has always been a haven for professionals from different parts of the world. Aside from the opportunity to earn more compared to their home countries, technological advancements and discoveries in their respective fields contribute to how practitioners develop passion in what they do. Nurses are only one of many individuals who enjoy this freedom and endless possibilities. Especially now that the US holds many opportunities for medical professionals across the globe, nurses are invited to work here, now more than ever.
However, for nurses to work in the US, an important factor is the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses, or the NCLEX-RN (to be referred to here as NCLEX). For any professional, a license not only acts as a pass to practice one’s craft and be paid for it; it also helps them seek further means to improve what they know and do in their specialization. For potential immigrant nurses, having passed the NCLEX is almost an assured stamp of approval that the license holder can work as a nurse in the US and stay there for a foreseeable time.
For nurses outside of the US who want to enter the country and serve as medical practitioners, the NCLEX licensure exam is necessary. Of course, any test brings anxiety, even for professionals already immersed in their field of practice. But then again, any nurse vying for a US license must go through preparing for NCLEX specifics, starting with the registration.
It’s crucial to start the registration for NCLEX right away.
While the NCLEX is knowledge-based, it also emphasizes analysis and practice of what a well-discerning nurse should do in certain circumstances. To prepare for NCLEX testing means putting in a good six months. This period is just enough to process your registration and map out your strategy for review sessions. Particular to the NCLEX is the procurement of an Authorization to Test (ATT) code. This code has a validity of 90 days, and you must take the NCLEX before the code expires. Failure to test before expiration means going through the registration process again, which will sidetrack your plans to work in the US as a nurse.
Follow these steps to take hold of an ATT code at the soonest:
- Register first at your state’s Board of Nurses (BON). Type your state’s name plus State Board of Nursing (e.g., Washington State Board of Nursing) on a search engine. Next, click on the state’s Board of Nursing website, and search for “Applications” or “Applications and Forms” within that site. Once you are able to locate these forms and know how to fill them out for submission, follow the instructions.
Your nursing school’s 10-digit code will be included in the questions, so make sure to have it handy. Ask your school beforehand what their 10-digit code is. There is a required registration fee, so take hold of making an online payment. If you opt to download the forms and mail your registration with a check payment, make sure to verify the BON’s correct address before mailing.
- Be mindful of requirements unique to the state’s BON. Some states will require language certifications, even if the test is already in English. It could be that the state is only making sure that communication using the English language won’t be an issue once the nurse is working in the US.
Also, some states will only issue a letter of passing instead of an actual license. It might be an issue for nurses who are considering practicing in another state in the future if you only have a mere letter. If it’s possible to have a license created after receiving the pass letter, go for it. It’s also common for nurses in the US to have more than one license, meaning they can practice in different states. Think about this after deciding that the US is your true destination as a medical practitioner.
Register as well with Pearson VUE.
Another entity you have to register with is the Pearson Virtual University Enterprises or Pearson VUE. They will be responsible for administering your test, and your BON will be in touch with Pearson VUE once your application for testing is approved. However, they’ll only reach out to you after proper registration. You may go to the Pearson VUE website, fill out an application form with a valid email address, and pay the $200 registration fee.
For international students, just like nurses seeking employment in the US, you may opt for registration over the phone. Be ready to pay the registration fee via credit card. Availability of their customer services varies per country, so look at Pearson VUE’s customer service information page to find out how you can register for testing overseas.
Once you have received your ATT code, take the test at the best date possible.
Once your state’s BON approves your registration, your ATT code will be sent to you through the email address registered with Pearson VUE. The code will also include a candidate number and an expiration date, usually within 90 days. In these 90 days, you should be taking the NCLEX. Unfortunately, the ATT code’s expiration date cannot be extended for any reason, and registering again for another code means going through the process and paying again.
Hence, you must make good use of the 90 days starting with these tips:
- Schedule an exam date with Pearson VUE that will allow you to study well and give you leeway for rescheduling in case of emergencies.
- Once you have an exact date for testing, put yourself in the mindset that you are preparing for a licensure exam.
- Do your best to be ready come test day.
Be in the company of those who will support your nursing career.
The steps presented above may appear daunting, but efforts to prepare for NCLEX testing will pay off with proper planning and research. One route you can take to be employed as a nurse in the US is to look for staffing firms that will assist prospective nurses with dreams of serving the American healthcare community. Well, search no more. PRS Global is the staffing firm for you.
PRS Global is searching for highly esteemed nurses all over the globe to answer the rising need for nurses in the US. The #1 staffing agency for a workforce of international nurses is always ready to assist their new hires, including preparations for the NCLEX. Shouldered testing and review fees are only some of the possible benefits of saying yes to PRS Global. As an immigrant, you will also be assisted to assimilate into your new role through cultural and community support, help with relocation and living expenses, and even with prospects in progressing further with your healthcare career.
The NCLEX is only one aspect of preparing to be a nurse in the US. For more assistance in getting hold of a career in the US as an immigrant nurse, contact PRS Global now.