Thursday, August 30, 2007

US Nursing Career Part 2: Payment methods for the NCLEX application

Every year, thousands of Filipino nurses aspire to migrate and become a licensed nurse in the US. Here's a practical guide intended to help Pinoy nurses achieve this dream. Because the application process requires several steps and there are ongoing issues related to foreign nurse employment in the US, we've broken down this feature article into a series. Read Part 1 of the Filipino Nursing Herald's Guide to Becoming a US RN by clicking here.

There are different methods for sending payments for the nursing registration application in the U.S.. Each board of nursing will have its own preferred method of payment. Going to the BON payment office is the best way to guarantee that your payment will be received, but if you're so many thousand kilometers away like in the Philippines, there are payment methods that you can use.

The most convenient payment method is using a credit card. Most BON will have a payment form attached to the application form. Simply fill out this form and send it together with your application form. As I've said in a previous post, the best way to send forms is by using a reputable door-to-door express courier like Fedex, DHL, or other courier service providers. Some of them, however, don't deliver to P.O. box addresses, so be sure to get the full street address of the BON. For example, click here to get the street address of CTS for Illinois applications, and click here for the California board's street address. Simply e-mail your chosen BON to get their full street address. If you wish to save, you can also use the EMS service at the postal office.

Some BONs have online payment facilities that let you pay for applications using a credit card. If you're using a public computer to access the Internet or if you're in an Internet cafe, be sure that you go to a trusted net cafe. For your own safety, clear the browsing history, including cookies and passwords, afetr using a public computer. To do this on Internet Explorer, click Tools - Internet Options - and then find the browsing history option and click delete.

If you don't have a credit card yet, you can use your parents' cards or your friends'. Aside from the card itself, get their complete billing address, too, because you'll need to input this the form.

Another payment method is by using a bank draft. A bank draft is requested from a bank branch where you have an account, either a savings or a current account. Some people in the forums claim that PNB provides bank draft services even to those who don't have accounts, however, when I checked with PNB, a bank officer said this wasn't true. Only people who have existing accounts can use the bank draft service.

Each bank will charge you differently for a bank draft. In BPI, where I've used the bank draft service, they charge 1/4 of 1% of the amount you request. There is a minimum charge of $5 plus another fee, called a DST, of P0.30 for every P200 if the draft is paid in pesos. They usually debit the charge or get the payment directly from your bank account.

For instructions how to fill out the bank draft, please review the application packet from yur chosen BON.

Each BON charge different payment fees and the total cost will depend on what other documents they require. Some state BONs have pretty straightforward fees. For example, New Mexico charges $160, Vermont asks for $150, and California charges $107 for the registration by exam application and the fingerprint application. Application for the Illinois BON, on the other hand, is costlier because aside from the BON application itself, which costs $79, you'll also need to pay for the fingerprint processing ($54) and the Credentials Evaluation Service or CES ($278 for the healthcare report or $328 for the full-education report, plus $50 processing fee). If the state BON you're applying for requires the CGFNS certificate, this will cost you $368 plus $50 order fee.

When sending a bank draft, again use a courier service for security reasons.

You can call or e-mail your BON after a few days to check if they've received your payment.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Hotels and other room accommodations near Pearson Vue Manila

Here's a list of hotels and other accommodation providers near the Pearson Vue test center in Makati City. I'll try to add a couple more later on. I advise those who are interested to avail of accommodations to book as early as possible. I'm only providing a list of the places I know which are close to the test center, however, please try to get more feedback from other people about rates and the quality of service they provide.

If you can, call the hotel instead of booking online. Online booking rates are usually higher, and sometimes, promo rates are not posted fast enough.

City Garden Hotel Makati -
Salcedo Suites -
Fersall Inn -
Makati Prime Tower Suites -
Oxford Suites -
Sunnete Tower -
Mandarin Oriental Manila -
Makati Palace Hotel -
CEO Suites -
Jupiter Suites -
Millennium Plaza -
Century Citadel Inn - (63+2) 897-2370, (63+2) 897-2666
Traveler's Inn Makati - (63+2) 897-1771
Tiara Oriental Hotel (contributed by little flower) - (63+2) 7297888 e-mail:

**St. Illian's Inn -
This is a budget hotel in Makati which offers one of the lower rates. It's not as close to Trident Tower as the other hotels, but it's not too far either. Getting to the hotel is a bit complicated, so if you're coming from the airport, be sure to print a map of the hotel's location to show the cab driver.

Getting to Trident Tower (Pearson Vue Manila)
From St. Illian's Inn, you can either take a cab to the Pearson Vue test center or you can walk (1-2 minutes) to Chino Roces Ave. (formerly Pasong Tamo), cross the street, get on a jeepney to PRC (a different PRC from the one in Morayta) and get down Buendia Ave. (your landmark is Mcdonald's). Ride another jeepney to Buendia-MRT or Guadalupe and then get off the old Shell Maya gas station, right after RCBC Plaza. (It seems that the Shell Maya gas station has been demolished and there's some construction work going on there. If you see the RCBC Plaza, then that's your cue that you're already near Trident Tower, which is the first building after the old gas station.)

(Just a note: Hotel or travel firm listings here should not be seen as endorsements for their services. This list should only serve as a guide. Please practice due diligence when choosing a provider listed here. Thanks.)

Tels: (632) 443 6226 / 489 6781
Mobile: (0922) 8750213

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Result of 2007 DOLE voluntary retake of test 3 and 5 June 2006 NLE

Click here for the results

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List of top nursing schools & examinees of the June 2007 Philippine Nurse Licensure Exam

Click here for the results

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Final Results of the June 2007 Philippine Nurse Licensure Exam

Click here for results. Congratulations to all who passed the June 2007 Philippine nurse licensure exam.

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Passports, IDs & NCLEX

I feel sorry for those who were not allowed to take their NCLEX because they forgot to sign their passports. International NCLEX test-takers, including those who will take the test in the Philippines, are required to present their Authorization to Test (ATT) and their passports as proof of identification. The passport is the only form of identification accepted by Pearson Vue, which administers the NCLEX, from international applicants. Sadly, some have been barred from taking the exam on their test date because they forgot to affix their signature on their passports.

This is a very simple matter, actually. Signing your name on any ID is a very basic rule that that requires the smallest of efforts. Unfortunately, some still fall into trouble because they forget to sign their name before presenting their passport to the receptionist at the Pearson Vue test center.

We received a report that said some were turned away from the Pearson Vue test center in Manila because of the lack of signatures on the applicants' passports. Being considerate, I suppose there's a possibility that one might forget to sign one's passport especially when it just arrived in one's hands--never been used for travel abroad or probably never been opened at all.

Usually when you travel outside the country and your passport lacks a signature, the immigration officer alerts you to it and asks you to sign it before he allows you to proceed. In hotels that I've been to, reception personnel also ask you to sign your passport when it's unsigned.

The first time one receives a passport, everyone wants to take a look at it. We Filipinos love to make fun of photos on IDs and, I guess, the passport is the biggest ID of all. Just show your passport to other members of your family and they'll notice everything, including the zit on your nose when you had your passport photo taken. Well, they might even notice your signature or the lack of it. I once had a co-worker who made it her job to check on everyone's signature including the one in our passports, just to see whose John Hancock looked elaborately funny. My neighbor also had a brilliant dog once who barked when it saw people who had poor fashion sense and wore clothes that had mismatched colors. The dog was so smart, I bet that if I had shown it an unsigned passport, it would have bitten off my hand. Everybody else seems to notice an unsigned passport, except it's owner.

In Pearson Vue's Hong Kong test center, there's a sign posted at the door that reminds test-takers to sign their passports before presenting them to the receptionist who conducts the identity check. As though the sign was not enough, the next thing that the Pearson Vue personnel tells you after asking if you already wish to go through with the check-in process is to remind you to sign your passport first. Once you've handed your passport, then the security check begins and if you've still forgotten to affix your precious signature despite repeated reminders, you'll have to be turned away like a dog, well maybe not like a dog, but you'll probably feel like one after throwing away the $350 you've already paid just to get there. Once you're turned away, you'll have to go through the registration process once more and pay another $350 to Pearson Vue.

If there's no sign reminding applicants about their passport signatures that's posted on Pearson Vue Manila's doors yet , then it's time to take a cue from the Hong Kong center. I would also suggest they get the approval of Mayor Binay of Makati and hire MMDA Chair Bayani Fernando as consultant--perhaps they can put up signages all throughout Buendia Ave. and, of course, have them painted in Bayani's trademark pink.

I can imagine the signages already: "Bawal ang walang pirma sa passport. Nakakamatay."

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Update on the June 2007 nurse licensure exam results

Those waiting for the June 2007 nurse licensure exam can sleep well tonight. With the first day of the NCLEX in Manila tomorrow, the PRC won't announce the results of the local board exams just yet, according to my source.

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Pinoy nurses take NCLEX in Manila for the first time

Tomorrow, Aug. 23 is a big day for Filipino nurses as the first batch of Pinoy applicants take the NCLEX right here in Manila.

Pearson Vue, the authorized test administrator of the NCLEX which is developed by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) in the US, began scheduling exams in the Manila center on July 13 this year and testing will finally begin tomorrow.

Contact information:
Pearson Professional Centers-Manila
27th Floor, Trident Tower
312 Senator Gil Puyat Avenue,
Makati City, Manila 1227
Tel. +612-9478-5400 Extension 3 (Sydney office)

Get a map to the testing center here and directions here.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

US Nursing Career Part 1: NCLEX Application

Every year, thousands of Filipino nurses aspire to migrate and become a licensed nurse in the US. Here's a practical guide intended to help Pinoy nurses achieve this dream. Because the application process requires several steps and there are ongoing issues related to foreign nurse employment in the US, we've broken down this feature article into a series. This is Part 1 of the Filipino Nursing Herald's Guide to Becoming a US RN.

What is the NCLEX-RN
To be able to practice as a nurse in the US and its territories, you must be registered in the US state you wish to work in. Each state has a nursing board that regulates the registration process. A major requirement for registration is that applicants must pass an examination that "measures the competencies needed to perform safely and effectively as a newly licensed, entry-level registered nurse".

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) develops this examination, which is called the Nursing Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). There are two types: the NCLEX for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN) and the NCLEX for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).

Choose a State
Before you can apply for the NCLEX-RN, you must FIRST meet the requirements set by the nursing board in your chosen state, which assumes that you already have a US state in mind to where you wish to migrate.

The first step towards a US nursing career is deciding to which of the 50 US states you want to apply. This decision may be based on a number of factors, such as, family (Your family is already based in a particular state), support system (You have a relative or a close friend living there), work environment (You like the weather, attractions, etc.), cost of living (Different states have different wage standards and cost of living rates) or work opportunities (You already have a potential employer), among others.

Once you've already chosen a state, the next step is to find out its requirements for nursing registration. The requirements usually vary, but some common requirements are: submission of an application form, fingerprinting and security background checks; and of course, a passing score in the NCLEX-RN.

If you've picked a state, go the Web site of your chosen states' nursing board. You can simply go to Google and search (example: "California nursing board") or you can get a list of contact information in the NCSBN Web site.

Some nurse applicants choose not to apply initially in their desired state, instead they apply in a different state which has fewer requirements or perhaps process applications faster, and then endorse later on to their desired state. Personally, I think this is often unnecessary and presents some issues later on. First of all, you'll be spending more than what is really needed because, in effect, you will be applying to more than one state and endorsement also requires fees to be paid. If you endorse to another state, you will still be required to satisfy all their requirements, for example, if they require a credentials evaluation, you will still have to comply with this even though it was not asked for in the first state where you applied for registration.

To illustrate further, a number of nurses choose to register initially with New Mexico or Vermont but their real desired state is California. While applying in either New Mexico and Vermont may cut the processing time, it does not guarantee that you will be able to work in the US much faster. You will still need to meet California's requirements to be able to endorse your license and this presents additional problems, which we'll discuss later on.

CGFNS Certification Program
Some state nursing boards require applicants to secure a Certification from the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS). The Certification Program (CGFNS CP) is a three-step process.

The first step is a credentials evaluation, where you will be required to submit information on your professional and secondary education, as well as license registration in your home country. Typically, transcript of records and license information are sent directly by your school or regulatory agency. In the Philippines, for example, you must request your TOR--using a form that is included in the application packet that you can download from either your nursing board or CGFN--from your school and the school will have to mail your records to CGFNS or your nursing board directly. You must also request the needed license information from the PRC who will send the documents directly to your US registration body.

The second step is the CGFNS Qualifying Exam, which is a test of nursing knowledge.

The third step is submission of a passing score in an English proficiency exam. Applicants usually take either the IELTS or the TOEFL iBT. (More on these later.)

The CGFNS Certificate program costs about $418 and some states require applicants to secure this first before they can be allowed to sit for the NCLEX-RN.

US nursing boards DO NOT require applicants to hold a nursing license in their home countries. However, to be able to qualify for the CGFNS CP, you must hold a valid license in your home country. So, a local license is only needed if you are applying in a US state that still requires the CGFNS CP.

About 23 US States have already removed the CGFNS CP from their list of requirements. Click here for a list of states that no longer require the CGFNS CP.

Credentials evaluation
Often, state nursing boards will require a credentials evaluation in lieu of the CGFNS CP. You can request a Credentials Evaluation report from either the CGFNS or another company authorized by the state BON. I would advice those applying for a Credentials Evaluation to request it from CGFNS because all state boards usually recognize the CGFNS. Other providers of the service may only be recognized in a particular state, so that when you endorse to another state, you will have to file another Credentials Evaluation request with a company recognized by the state.

The CGFNS offers two types of evaluation reports: the Full Education Course-by-Course Report and the Healthcare Profession and Science Report. The latter is usually accepted by state BONs but if you wish to go to graduate school in the US later on, you should get the full course report. Again, follow the procedure mentioned earlier for requesting and sending your school records and professional license information.

Download Application Forms
Once you've found a state and researched the requirements set by the state board of nursing, download the application packet. This packet contains information about the NCLEX, application procedure, requirements, fees, and the application forms.

When filling out the forms, make sure the information you submit is accurate. Double-check names, numbers and dates. Occassionally, applications are delayed because of inaccurate dates of graduation or entry in the school. Be sure to ask your registrar the exact dates and be consistent.

When you download the application packet, request a fingerprint card as well. For information of processing fingerprint cards in the Philippines, please check out this guide.

NEXT: Payment procedures, waiting times, and related issues

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No results yet for June 2007 nursing boards

I can emphatize with those waiting for the results of the June 2007 nurse licensure examination. I know how it feels to wait for something that you know would come out anytime soon but you don't know when exactly, so you anxiously wait up every night for the latest news updates, hoping to see your name among hundreds of other nurse applicants that passed the nursing board exams. It's a terrible feeling but you also know that the agony of waiting would be over soon and I hope that relieves you of some of the pressure and anxiety somehow.

As always, this space will keep you posted of the latest updates once they're available.

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

UK nurses struggle to find jobs

We've known about the troubles faced by UK nurses in finding jobs in their own country for quite some time. As new nurses join the workforce, the dearth of available nursing jobs again hit the headlines.

Although the UK still accepts foreign nurses WITH highly specialized skills (OR, ICU, etc.), it is very difficult to get an employer from there now and perhaps up to the near future.

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Friday, August 17, 2007

US Visa Bulletin for Sept

The U.S. Department of State has released the Visa bulletin for Sept. As expected, the Employment-based category 3 is oversubscribed and the priority date is set at Aug. 1, 2002. This means that only applicants with priority dates earlier than that will be allocated a visa at this time.

The Oct. Visa bulletin is expected to bring better news because the start of the agency's fiscal year usually offers new visa allocations.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Australian recruiters offer to subsidize OFW recruitment

A local recruitment firm and its Australian partner are discussing a proposal for the Australian firm to subsidize the cost of deploying Filipino workers Down Under. If this proposal pans out, Filipinos who are recruited to Australia would have less financial burdens to worry about.

Read the news here.

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Release date for June 2007 nurse licensure exam results

Talking to my source again today, it seems that Aug. 21 might be too soon to expect the PRC to finish compiling the final list of passers. The BON was scheduled to convene starting today but it could take a few more days to prepare the final list.

What's significant is that the PRC is in the final stages of releasing the results already and we would finally know who passed or not in a week or two.

To all who took the June 2007 licensure exam, you're already in the homestretch of your wait. Goodluck to all!

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Updates on June 2007 Nurse Licensure Exam

Here's the latest update on the June 2007 Philippine nurse licensure examination. Got this information from a very reliable source.

The BON will convene to deliberate on the results of the June 2007 board exams starting Aug. 16. I understand this will take about three days. Exam results COULD be announced on Aug. 21, or maybe even as early as Aug. 20. Of course, the PRC may still turn around and release the results much later than that up to Aug. 31, but at least we know they've already started the process of finalizing the results.

I'm not sure about what goes on during the deliberations. From what I've gathered, officials perform some statistical treatment on the raw scores to determine the cut-off passing mark. From this, they can determine who passed or not.

There's an unconfirmed RUMOR that initial reports showed only 29% passed the June boards, but, my source says the numbers are now higher and can only go higher once the deliberations are done.

I'll post more information on the June 2007 nursing licensure exam once they're available.

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Basic IVT training schedules

Here's a list of IVT training programs in Manila and nearby provinces for the month of Aug. and Sept.

14-16 Lung Center of the Philippines
15-17 San Juan de Dios
16-18 Martinez Memorial Hospital
16-18 Ospital ng Maynila
26-28 Unciano Hospital Antipolo

11-13 Bulacan Provincial Hospital
26-28 Angeles University Foundation
18-20 Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

Getting to Pearson Vue Manila office

Test-takers of the NCLEX will sit for the exam for the first time right here in Manila starting Aug. 23. This is indeed a big relief for Filipino applicants and by extension, all other applicants from other neighboring ASEAN countries. Compared to Hong Kong, accommodations and the cost of basic goods is surely much cheaper in the Philippines.

Earlier, we uploaded a map to locate the Pearson Professional Centers-Manila test center. If you're taking public transportation and need directions to the test center, here's a short guide to help you.

Getting there:
From Quezon City -- The fastest way is by riding the MRT. Get off Buendia station. Walk towards the Shell gas station, across it is a jeepney terminal. Get on any of the jeepneys plying the Buendia route and ask the driver to drop you off at RCBC Plaza. After you get off, cross the street and walk towards the Shell Maya gas station. Trident Tower is a building or two after the gas station.

Another option is by taking a bus from Buendia station after getting off the MRT. Take the Ayala-bound bus and ask to be let off at RCBC Plaza. Walk towards the back of RCBC Plaza where you'll see the Shell Maya gas station.

From Marikina -- A number of FX or shuttle vans travel to Makati daily. Take an FX to Makati. Usually shuttle vans turn around before reaching RCBC Plaza, but ask the driver if he'll pass by RCBC Plaza. If not, ask to be let off either along Buendia Ave. and take a jeepney from there to RCBC Plaza or along Ayala Ave. where you can walk towards RCBC Plaza. When you reach RCBC Plaza, walk towards the Shell Maya station. Trident Tower is a building or two away from the gas station.

From ParaƱaque -- You can take a bus or a shuttle van to Makati. Most shuttle vans let you off at the Landmark mall terminal. From Landmark, take a jeepney to Pacific Star building at Buendia and from there take another jeepney towards RCBC Plaza.

From Taft -- Take a bus to Makati, preferably one that will pass by Buendia Ave. Get off at Shell Maya gas station, right after RCBC Plaza. Walk towards Trident Tower right after the gas station.

If you take the LRT, get off at the Buendia station, and ride a bus to Makati. There are two types of buses: one that passes along Ayala Ave. and one that passes along Buendia Ave. take the bus that goes through Buendia and get off at Shell Maya gas station right after the Ayala-Buendia intersection. You can still take the bus that passes through Ayala Ave. but you have to get off before the Ayala-Buendia intersection. You can walk to RCBC Plaza and Shell Maya gas station from there, and then to the Pearson office.

From the Domestic Airport -- you can get a cab to Makati or take a bus to Makati. You can either get off at Buendia Ave. or get off Taft Ave. and take the MRT to Buendia station. Once in Buendia, take a jeepney across the Shell gas station to RCBC Plaza. Trident Tower is a building or two away from the Shell Maya gas station.

From Ayala MRT station -- If you prefer to get off at the Ayala MRT station, take an Ayala Loop jeepney and get off at Makati Medical Hospital. Walk towards Ayala Ave., cross the street to RCBC Plaza and walk towards the Shell Maya gas station. Trident Tower is a building or two away from the gas station.

Special note: Makati is notorious for its horrendous traffic jams. So, scout the area before your test date and go early to the test center on the big day itself.

If possible, don't schedule an early morning or late afternoon exam to avoid rush hour.

You don't have to stay near the test center, but there are several hotels, condotels, and places that offer accommodations in Makati. We'll provide a list of hotels near the test site soon.

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Filipino caregivers in the UK get work extension, pay hike

Here's great news for Filipino nurses, caregivers and midwives in the UK: the British government has reversed its policy of denying work extensions to non-EU health workers and even raised salaries from €12,500 British pounds (P1.156 million) to €14,600 (P1.351 million) annually.

Across the UK, health workers, called carers, working in nursing homes had faced deportation after the UK began denying work extensions to those who come from non-EU countries. This ensued because of a policy, drawn up earlier, that favors workers from EU-member states.

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Friday, August 10, 2007

Doctors leaving as nurses; opportunities in Japan, Australia

Just got back from a trip, so I haven't been able to update lately. I've got a whole chest-full of new ideas that I plan to write about and I think I just might have the extra time now to write more, so expect better things from this blog.

In the meantime, I was surfing the Web for some relevant news that I missed while I was away and here are some of the noteworthy issues that you might also like to look up:

Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA)
Sen. Aquilino Pimentel was quoted in the papers this week saying the controversial JPEPA might be ratified by our Senate. This legislation will, among other things, open up work opportunities for Filipino caregivers and nurses in Japan. Initially the number of workers have been limited to 400, but hopefully this would increase in the future.

Australia needs nurses
Raul V. Hernandez, honorary consul to Melbourne, said Australia would need 10,000 nurses in the next three years.

Philippine doctors leaving as nurses
The issue of doctors leaving the country as nurses heats up with renewed animosity from the Health Secretary.

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Thursday, August 2, 2007

Five things you can do while waiting for the June 2007 licensure exam results

The Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC) says that the results of the June 2007 Philippine nurse licensure exam won't be available until Aug. 15 or onwards, so while waiting, here are some things you can do to relieve your stress and make the most out of this quiet period.

1. Go to a park, a beach, or a nature trail. If you haven't done so already, now is the time to breathe in some fresh air and take in the soothing effect of nature's healing charms. Forget the mall, you've been there every day after school or clinical duty.

2. Cook for your parents or your loved ones. If you don't regularly do this, now is the perfect time to show some appreciation for your parents. If you're the regular cook in the house, prepare something special--a dish you've never cooked before. Remember that a happy stomach is the source of all happiness. For guys who don't know how to cook, this is highly recommended because the effort already makes it extra special.

3. Bring a cake or anything simple but tasty to your school dean or registrar. While you're back in school, have them fill out your NCLEX application form as well and request for a letter of recommendation while you're at it. This waiting period is the best time to start your application for a nursing license in the US.

The first thing you need to do, is to decide which US state you want to work in and then determine what requirements they need (More about this in my upcoming posts).

4. Visit your favorite clinical instructor. Bring a simple gift, it doesn't have to be anything fancy. When filling out application forms later on, both for local and international employment, you'll always be asked for references, and clinical instructors (especially head nurses or even chief nurses) make good references. Don't just place their names on your application though, talk to them first and get their approval. Give them a heads-up so that they won't be surprised if someone called them to ask about you.

5. Pick up a book. Start reading again. Pick up a fiction book or something that's not nursing related and alternate reading with a nursing book that prepares you for the NCLEX-RN. The Saunders Comprehensive Review for the NCLEX-RN and the Saunders Q & A Review for the NCLEX-RN are must-haves, as well as LaCharity's Prioritization, Delegation Assignment.

These are just some simple things you can do while waiting for that big announcement. Goodluck!

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Sample NCLEX Training Videos


Yahoo! News Search Results for nurses