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4 Things to Know About Your Last Semester of Nursing School
The last semester of nursing school probably seems a bit surreal for many students. If you've dedicated yourself to years of studying, clinical work and more studying, it might feel overwhelming to realize it's all coming to a close, but remember, the end of nursing school is the beginning of a promising career. The last semester is not the time to stress out or slack off, it's the time to buckle down and prepare for the next steps. Graduating from nursing school will assuredly be a rewarding experience, one that brings you one step closer to a profession in nursing. However, there is some groundwork to be laid during your last few months as a student.
Here are four things to know about your final semester in nursing school:
1. This is not the time for burnout.
With the finish line in sight, it's easy to get a little too relaxed. Nursing school is a huge time commitment and it can be a challenge to prioritize studying over everything else. Remember, now is not the time for burnout. Instead push through to graduation, bringing a satisfying ending to your tenure as a student.
2. It's time to sign up for the NCLEX® exam.
Odds are your nursing program will provide you with opportunities to learn more about this test.1 You have to finish all of your classes before taking the exam, but you'll likely have to sign up well before the end of the semester. Furthermore, it's important to spend a significant amount of time reviewing for the NCLEX® and beneficial to sign up for a review course. The test itself costs around $200, so set aside finances accordingly.1
3. Look into state licensure.
Licensure varies from state to state, although in some cases a collection of states will share common licensure.2 Each state also has its own fee for licensing, so set money aside for this cost as well. Finding easy ways to be thrifty, such as making coffee at home rather than purchasing it on the go, will help you save up in no time. If you already know which state you're hoping to work in, it's a good idea to know how the licensing procedure works and how long it will take.
4. Start applying for jobs.
While you won't be able to start practicing until you've passed the NCLEX® and become a licensed nurse, many hospitals and practices will hire students in advance on the condition that those steps are completed before the time of employment. Start applying for jobs now, and you may have a position lined up before graduation.
1 "Frequently Asked Questions about NCLEX-RN," UNC School of Nursing, http://nursing.unc.edu/current-students/academic-counseling/nclex-rn-exam/frequently-asked-questions-about-nclex-rn/
2 "Nurse Licensure Compact," National Council of State Boards of Nursing, https://www.ncsbn.org/nlc.htm