Finally, Your LAST Semester Of Nursing School (now what!?!?)

last semester of nursing school

A few years ago, the last semester of nursing school seemed like a lifetime away. Now that you are in the last leg of your nursing studies, it feels surreal reminiscing about all the worry you once had at the beginning to middle of your course.

How long will nursing school take? Am I ready for my next test? How many semesters are remaining? Will you meet the next deadline? How do I internalize all these nursing guidelines? Why am I so overwhelmed?

Now, you are this close … *pinches fingers* … to being over and done with all the worry and what not of nursing school. Congratulations. But no matter how much hope and relief that brings you, you know that things get harder, tasks increase, and expectations rise towards the end.

To put your mind at ease, here is what to expect and what is expected of you these last few months or weeks before you embark on your professional nursing career.

What To Expect During Your LAST Semester Of Nursing School

Just because it is the last semester doesn’t mean it is not going to be busy. If your last semester is yet to start, you might look at the curriculum for the semester and think … “oh, I am only required to take three classes and a senior practicum? Huh, that won’t be so bad!”

Well, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Your semester will be one of the busiest because you’ll be doing the following:

1. Preparing For Your Exit Exam

In your last semester, you will typically encounter an exit exam. It is similar to the professional licensure exam, NCLEX, and is used as an indicator of how you will perform at it.

Some schools use the HESI, but most use the ATI. You have to pass this exam by a certain score in order to graduate.

They cover everything you have learned up to that point, so you will spend a huge part of your last semester preparing for it.

2. Completing Your Clinical Hours

Since you are on your last semester, you have probably already done several clinical training rounds. However, your last semester’s clinical hours are more significant.

You are required to grasp everything about the profession and prove to your supervisors and advisors that you can carry out all the nursing duties confidently. You will come across medical terms that you have ever heard of, but cannot recall anything about them, and be required to keep them at the tips of your fingers.

Carrying a notebook will come in handy when you come across these words or instructions that you need to remember.

You will be on your feet for at least 12 hours which is a very long time, especially since you are used to sitting in class for only a few hours per day.

3. Attending Lectures

Apart from working on your clinicals and practicing for your exit exam, you also have to attend your lecture classes. Previous studies have revealed that nursing students deem lecture attendance as a crucial part of their learning and believe that missing a lecture impedes their understanding of the subject.

The significance of structure in nursing education has been considered important to minimize psychological stress in nursing students. Attending lectures is known to be crucial in structuring nursing students’ students by offering a favorable learning environment in community with other students.

In addition, attending lectures helps nursing students gain basic knowledge about the subject and offers them an opportunity to ask questions. It also enables them to access hand-outs and tips for passing their exams.

4. Putting In Job Applications

You wouldn’t want to waste any time after you graduate. That is why as soon as your final semester of nursing school begins, you should create or update your resume

If you are lucky, you might get hired before you graduate. Although you cannot start practicing until you have passed your professional licensure exam, you can be hired on the condition that you complete all the necessary steps before you start working.

5. Completing Projects

There are lots of projects that you have to do in your final semester of nursing school. They include, but are not limited to:

  • Volunteering in the community
  • Presentations
  • Research projects
  • Group projects
  • Theses
  • Presenting and defending a senior project

Completing these projects is crucial. As such, you should ensure that you complete all your projects if you want to successfully finish your studies and become a valuable member of the nursing fraternity.

6. Planning Your Graduation

If you are planning on celebrating your graduation, you have to think about all the details. Where will it be held? Will it be open? Who will you invite?

Planning for your celebration is fun and exciting only if you have enough time to do it. If it creeps up on you the final days before you graduate, it may be quite overwhelming. To make it less daunting, follow the following tips when planning your graduation:

  • Set a date, time, and location,
  • Decide how much you want (or can afford) to spend,
  • Come up with a guest list and order your invites,
  • Decide on the food, drinks, and snacks,
  • Decide on the decorations,
  • Decide on the fun activities that will keep guests engaged,
  • Decide on whether you will handle everything, or you’ll outsource to service providers, i.e. photographers, caters, decorators, etc.

Planning ahead makes the entire process less daunting. Be sure to take a deep breath before it starts. And, don’t fret about what you forgot or what might not work. Also, be sure to ask for help from family members and friends. The more help you can get, the easier the process can be.

7. Preparing for NCLEX

As you well know, the NCLEX is the exam that you need to take after graduating before you can become a nurse. It is set by the Board of Nursing, and ensures that you have all the necessary knowledge and practical skills needed to be a registered nurse.

It is just as important … if not more important … as your nursing school’s exit exam. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for your NCLEX.

  • Take a reliable NCLEX prep course
  • Don’t evaluate yourself during the test
  • Make a study plan
  • Be well prepared for the examination day
  • Believe in yourself
  • Gain familiarity with the current NCLEX test plan
  • Have ample time to study instead of rushing in the last days

Authorization To Test (ATT)

Before you schedule your NCLEX at a Pearson Professional Center, you need to apply for your ATT. To get one, you need to request registration or licensure from the Nursing Regulatory Board (NRB) of the state where you are seeking to practice. You have to pay a fee to the NRB along with your application materials.

Once you have been made eligible by your NRB, you will receive your ATT through the email you used to apply. Once you receive it, you register with Pearson VUE through one of the following methods:

  • Online, where you pay with your debit, prepaid, or credit card.
  • Phone, by calling Pearson VUE NCLEX Candidate Services at 866.496.2539 and pay your fee using your debit, prepaid, or credit card.

Keep in mind that submitting your registration does not automatically qualify you for the ATT. You have to meet all the eligibility requirements as per the NRB of where you are seeking licensure.

More information on ATT validation dates

  • The Nursing Regulatory Board specifies the validity period of your ATT. On average, they are valid for about 90 days.
  • The ATT contains your ID number, authorization number, and expiration date.
  • The NCLEX must be taken within the validity period of the ATT. If it expires, you have to re-register again.
  • If you have been made eligible and you haven’t received you ATT, or have lost it, call the NCLEX Candidate Services to replace it.
  • The validity dates cannot be extended for any reason.

Remember to Save Money

Nursing school is not cheap. And your last semester will cost you a bit more than the others, so you should have at least $1000 saved up to proceed through without any hiccups.

If your school uses the HESI as the exit exam, it will cost you anywhere between $35 and $70. If it uses the ATI as the exit exam, it will cost you about $95. Some schools even have a practice exit exam followed by the main one, and you have to pay for both.

You also have to pay:

  • Between $30 to $500 for your nursing school pin
  • $100 to the board of nursing to apply for your license
  • About $40 – $60 for stuff for your pinning ceremony
  • $200 to register with Pearson VUE
  • For supplies such as textbooks, cord fees, NCLEX review material and graduation fees among others.

Some of the costs and fees you will be required to pay are not included here because they are unique to each nursing school.

Stay Strong, You Are Almost There

With the finish line in sight and so many tasks waiting for you, it is easy to burnout. The thought of sitting through one more lecture or writing one more paper may sicken you, your anxiety levels may be skyrocketing and you cant just bring yourself to complete an assignment on time.

My favorite way of staying motivated when nursing gets hard is to read some of the quotes by Florence Nightingale, the lady who revolutionized nursing and made modern nursing into what it is today.

To keep you focused and motivated, here are a few tips that will assist you:

  1. Celebrate your successes and appreciate how far you have come.
  2. Set goals as you are going through the semester and challenge yourself to achieve them.
  3. Seek help from your teachers, colleagues, tutors, mentors, or public figures. You can get highly motivated simply by talking to them about what you feel.
  4. If you are religious, pray for strength and guidance.
  5. Keep your eyes on the prize. Remember the reasons why you wanted to be a nurse and remember you are on the final stepping stone.

Check out this motivational video to lift your spirits!

Why Work With Nursing.com?

It is quite comforting knowing that you are going to understand all the information that you are learning. Nursing.com is that friend and ally that you need to help you if you are struggling or need to pass your nursing school and NCLEX.

So, why should you work with us?

  • On average, nursing.com students improve their lowest grade by 12 points.
  • Our students have a 99.86% NCLEX pass rate.
  • It is used by top students at NYU, Texas woman’s university, Rutgers, and Grand Valley State University, Pennstate, and The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill among others.
  • We have an endless number of study materials, practice questions and teaching styles to suit every student’s preferred learning style. We also have a unique teaching method called the Core Content Mastery Method to help students master complex content faster and in a more engaging way.
  • You can study anywhere, anytime, through our mobile app.
  • You are guaranteed of passing the NCLEX.

This point needs some clarification. In the aforementioned point on preparing for the NCLEX, I pointed out that you need to take a reliable prep course. What makes a reliable prep course?

Some aspiring nurses take “adaptive” exams that just give you 100 questions and rationales and tell you how likely you are to pass the NCLEX … which technically is not adaptive. Then, when you reach the examination center and start answering, you realize you actually have zero preparation. The results? 109,689 NURSING SCHOOL GRADUATES FAILED THE NCLEX LAST YEAR.

Our prep course, SIMCLEX, is the world’s most accurate NCLEX simulator. It is exactly like the NCLEX in all aspects, so you will get comfortable with the style and format of the big exam.

SIMCLEX is completely adaptive so it responds to you, just like the NCLEX … and that is just the tip of the iceberg. It also shows you 75 to 265 questions similar to the NCLEX, which have been taken and vetted by tens of thousands of nurses around the world. The questions also come with a time limit, so you can really get a feel for the right tempo.

After submitting your test, you get fully personalized study suggestions based on your results. Once the test performance is reviewed, the AI checks for three of your weakest areas and provides study suggestions in a few seconds. How can anyone fail with such features?

If for no other reasons, then work with us because of the samples of student reviews below.

– “I thought it was very similar to the NCLEX! The questions are difficult, but seemed to be about the same as the ones I had on the NCLEX…”

– “… I passed by NCLEX in 75 questions. For those who are asking if SIMCLEX works, my answer is yes yes yes. Not only did I use SIMCLEX to give an idea of my strengths and weaknesses, I was able to use the lecture content to hone in on the weaker areas…”

“… the whole course is set p to help you succeed!!! the SIMCLEX is so helpful to see where I am lacking and help me to get to the point where I feel confident about passing the NCLEX…”

The Deal..

Here is the deal you get once you decide to work with us.

  • You are allowed to test the website and our materials to know if they are the best fit for you … which we guarantee they are. The first three days of your trial cost you only a single dollar.
  • If along the way you decide we are not what you are looking for, you don’t have to go through the lengthy process of needing to contact or wait a certain period before you cancel your subscription. Its immediate and you don’t need to talk to anyone.
  • Our NCLEX prep is completely risk free. When you sit for your NCLEX without properly preparing then you fail, you have to pay for it again. And nothing is to say you are not going to fail again. If you prepare for your NCLEX using our simulator and pass it, we shoulder the risk of you failing the NCLEX. If you do, we pay you back the amount you used to pay for it… PLUS the same amount.

Conclusion

It’s a bit overwhelming and somewhat terrifying that your entire future rests on passing ONE exam. But it doesn’t have to be. You have already come so far and achieved so much that a single hurdle couldn’t possibly stop you no matter how insurmountable it seems.

Most nursing graduates don’t fail the NCLEX because they don’t know enough – they fail because they are not fully prepared. If you are struggling with nursing school and need to improve your grades and pass the NCLEX, take control of your future now!

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