Thursday, May 28, 2015

Clearing the NCLEX-RN Exam Hurdle—Calmly

Tachycardia—a common NCLEX-RN exam room diagnosis. Nurses are trained to fly in the face of stress, but most of us are nevertheless unable to escape nerves when it comes to test taking.

Like the CFE for accountants and the bar for lawyers, the NCLEX-RN represents the final hurdle for student nurses. It’s what tells you whether you’re in or out of the professional club—following semester after semester of classes and practicums and stacks and stacks of flash cards.

At PRIMED, we know nursing is much more than textbook learning and test taking, but first things first: you’ve got to clear this final exam hurdle—and keep your heart rate down at a healthy bpm while doing so.

One of the best ways to do this is to take stock of all the skills you’ve already got under your belt and figure out how to apply them to the NCLEX-RN.

High on the list of nurses’ special skills is being able to distract people with something bright and shiny while doing something unpleasant to them with the other hand. With the NCLEX-RN, it’s time to use that skill on yourself. For example, every time you start studying a new exam topic, kick off with an Americano or a red velvet brownie cookie. Soon you’ll develop a Pavlovian response to pharmacological test questions that’ll last a lifetime (or at least through the end of the NCLEX-RN).

Nurses are also exceedingly good at combining the theoretical with the practical. When it comes to taking the NCLEX-RN, this means effectively and efficiently synthesizing data before coming up with an end action. Although in the case of the NCLEX-RN exam it means selecting the right answer on the screen rather than, say, administering 10 units of Humulin R, the brain pathways you use to get there are exactly the same.

But exams are scary, you say! It’s not the same thing as real-life practice! My palms get sweaty!

It’s true—exam situations can sometimes get the best of us.

That’s why during PRIMED’s two-day intensive NCLEX-RN Prep course, we give you tools to help with memory retention and recall, along with other tried and true test-taking techniques that you may have forgotten about since your last big exam.

And don’t forget, in addition to the PRIMED instructor, there’s also opportunity to utilize the fellow exam takers you meet during your PRIMED NCLEX-RN Prep course. Along with quizzing each other on nursing concepts, you can share your NCLEX anxieties with one another—just like group therapy.

Whether you plan on being loveable and by-the-book like Zoey from Nurse Jackie or sassy and take-charge like Carla from Scrubs, every nursing career begins with tackling the NCLEX-RN. You may have to bring your own red velvet brownie cookies, but PRIMED will help you conquer exam day nerves, so that you walk into the NCLEX-RN with the heartbeat of an elephant.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Canada + America = NCLEX-RN BFFs

The differences between Americans and Canadians is a favourite topic of debate north of the 49th parallel. Although our two countries certainly have their own quirks, in the end there are more similarities between the US and Canada than differences. This is something that’s reflected in the NCLEX-RN, which replaced Canada’s former CRNE nursing entry-to-practice examination in January 2015.

Though the health-care systems in Canada and the US are of course different, the NCLEX-RN, which both countries’ new nurses must write, is the same. With the NCLEX’s roots in America—having been the standard there since 1994—what does this mean for Canadian nurses?

With any change comes apprehension, and PRIMED’s two-day intensive NCLEX-RN prep course addresses this head on. PRIMED knows that in addition to the nursing knowledge base needed to pass the test, there are a few things to know about the NCLEX-RN itself before sitting down to write it.

First off, you can rest easy: Canadian nurses have had a hand in shaping the NCLEX-RN to make sure Canadians taking the test don’t come up short, and Canadian-based nurses will continue to shape the exam by sitting on future item development panels.

All of our classically Canadian spellings and phrases—imperial vs. metric measurements, color vs. colour, car vs. canoe—have been accounted for, and won’t mean the difference between a right and a wrong answer. For the country’s French-speaking nurses, the translation of NCLEX-RN questions is looked after not just by professional translators, but is checked for context by (clearly very clever) bilingual Canadian nurses.

However, since there is no content difference between the NCLEX-RN administered in the two countries, Canadian test takers need to be aware of the different approaches to care between the Canadian and the US systems. That’s why PRIMED’s exam prep instructors are here to help you build up a strong knowledge of these differences—which simultaneously reinforces all you need to know about practice as a nurse in Canada.

Most can agree that an update to the CRNE was long overdue, and the NCLEX-RN, with its fancy computer adaptive testing, brings Canada’s nursing entry examination happily into the twenty-first century. Taking the same NCLEX-RN north of the border as south in many cases even means one less hurdle in getting licensed to work in America, which is great for any nurses hoping to do a bit of work-led travel.

The NCLEX-RN exam and its format is overall a win for Canadian nurses—it just requires a pinch more knowledge of how our neighbours to the south approach practice.

PRIMED will make sure you’re up to speed on all the new factors the NCLEX-RN brings, including learning more about how our nursing pals down in America do what they do.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Conquering NCLEX-RN Knowledge Gaps

Endocrinology. Geriatrics. Neurology, pediatrics, pharmacology. We’ve all got our specialties and we’ve all got an area or two that makes us groan.

But not only do nurses need to be superheroes of multitasking and critically thinking, walking, talking medical encyclopedias in their jobs, it’s also the approach needed for tackling the NCLEX-RN. There’s a lot of ground to cover, there’s a lot of knowledge to file away in your brain, and there’s a lot of different scenarios to be prepared for.

That means part of attaining the impressive status of “Registered Nurse” is identifying both what you know back to front and also what you need to focus on to level up.

That’s where PRIMED comes in.

With the guidance of PRIMED’s instructors, who build the research and preparation foundation for you, getting up to snuff on all areas of the NCLEX-RN transforms from an overwhelming prospect into a finely tuned game plan. No matter which of the four NCLEX-RN concepts the computer spits out at you—Safe and Effective Care Environment, Health Promotion and Maintenance, Psychosocial Integrity, or Physiological Integrity—you’ll know you’ve got it covered after working with PRIMED.

PRIMED’s intensive NCLEX Prep course begins with an overview of key areas, then moves into detailed review of the most important areas of the exam—including test questions for each section. Taking the time to test knowledge and comprehension along the way helps students to evaluate any areas they’re struggling in.

This means all your study energy is targeted and used in the best way possible. Maybe you’ll even have some energy left over to, say, go on a night out or take an afternoon hike (it could happen!).

In addition to identifying which subject areas you should focus on and providing a number of NCLEX Prep Tools to keep you going on your own, PRIMED also offers private and small group tutoring. Jumping off from the NCLEX course, a PRIMED instructor will customize the tutoring session to your specific study needs, helping you to fill in all the bricks of the NCLEX-RN.

A solid study foundation combined with targeted subject revision gives you the confidence to walk into the NCLEX-RN test room knowing you’re familiar with every room on the blueprint. There’ll be no under-the-stairs closet you forgot to check for cobwebs. Not when you’ve been PRIMED.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Guiding Lights of PRIMED’s NCLEX-RN Prep Course

It’s a cliché everyone has heard: Those who cannot do, teach. All you have to do is look at PRIMED’s instructors to know that that’s a load of hooey.

Not only are PRIMED’s NCLEX-RN Prep instructors enthusiastic educators, but they’re practicing Canadian health care professionals at the top of the game. They know what it takes to excel as a nurse, and they also know what it takes to excel on the NCLEX-RN before you get there.

The people leading your NCLEX Prep session have a graduate-level nursing education, which means they most definitely know their stuff (read: they have *a lot* of letters behind their names). All of PRIMED’s instructors are also active nurses and nurse practitioners, with a passion for passing along their hard-earned knowledge.

They’re with PRIMED because they’re invested educators who want to help the next generation of health care professionals—their future co-workers—succeed.

Each PRIMED facilitator brings her or his own unique experiences and knowledge base (which you can learn more about on the PRIMED website) to your NCLEX study experience. And while maybe the instructor’s specialized research into pubic hair removal in women won’t come up during the NCLEX-RN, you know she’ll be able to field any question you have about sexual reproductive or women’s health as you study up for exam day.

Basically, you can rest assured your PRIMED instructor isn’t reading from the answer key like Mrs. Krabappel and her fellow teacher cronies in The Simpsons. PRIMED’s NCLEX-RN Prep facilitators are knowledgeable, practicing professionals who will use their very own brains to help beef up yours

PRIMED knows experience and knowledge is what’s needed in a nursing exam prep course instructor. We also know you need to want to listen to them in the first place.

An engaging teaching style is just as important as the ability to answer any study question. As is a spot of empathy—PRIMED’s instructors have each stared down the pass/fail tunnel, and they’ve helped many other nurses pass through to the other side.

Luckily, PRIMED’s NCLEX-RN Prep facilitators have got all of the above.

Here’s another cliché for you: Better together. This one, at least, is true. You really couldn’t ask for a better guiding hand as you prepare for the NCLEX than PRIMED’s instructors.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The NCLEX-RN, CAT, and U

Technology, right? It’s hard enough to keep up with the latest online banking options, let alone all the new apps that are hip with the kids. With the change from the CRNE to the NCLEX this year, nursing in Canada has taken its own technology leap.

If you’re one of those people who thinks that phones are getting a little bit too smart these days, maybe the computerized adaptive testing (CAT) used by the NCLEX-RN is a tad daunting. Or perhaps you’re all for CAT given all the benefits it brings, but you haven’t yet had a chance to test this new examination frontier.

Either way, PRIMED is here to help prepare you not only for the questions thrown at you on the NCLEX-RN, but also on how to best interact with your new robot friend, CAT.

First off, it’s important to understand the differences between CAT and traditional multiple-choice examinations.

While a paper exam allows you to go back and check on previous answers, with CAT, that’s no longer an option. Only onwards and upwards!

Equally important is being prepared for the different types of questions that this new technology allows. Where once there was only paper and pencil, now there are multimedia elements. Although the bulk of NCLEX-RN questions are multiple choice, a certain number will be “alternate question types”: multiple response, hot spots, fill-in-the-blank, charts/exhibits, ordered responses, audios, and graphic options.

Perhaps the most impressive part of CAT is how it customizes the NCLEX-RN to each graduate and international nurse sitting it. Every answer given affects the next question asked. During the two-day NCLEX Prep course offered by PRIMED, you’ll learn how CAT adapts to you and how to be the most effective test taker possible.

No matter how you feel about the digital revolution, none of us can really deny the advantages each technological innovation brings.

Nurses rely on all sorts of technology to help them be more effective and efficient in their jobs—from cutting-edge therapies right down to digitized healthcare records. The introduction of computerized adaptive testing to nursing in Canada is really just another part of this.

Thanks to CAT, the better prepared you are for your NCLEX-RN, the shorter your exam is likely to be—with the possibility of answering as few as 75 questions, compared to the CRNE’s set 200. By getting PRIMED ahead of your exam appointment, you could find yourself in that NCLEX-RN hot seat for a lot less time than you ever imagined.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Strength in Numbers: Going the NCLEX-RN Distance

When looking back down the long path of an undergraduate degree, there are a few things all of us wish we could tell our freshmen selves. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should wear your pyjamas to class. Though delicious, pizza does not for three square meals make. Buying a fancy coffee a day really does double your tuition costs.

But most of all—after all those hours in lecture halls, all those papers written, all those IV needles jabbed and placed (and placed again)—what you really wish you could tell your freshman self is how important a solid study plan is to your learning success.

All-nighters aren’t your friend, and only going over the stuff you’ve got down pat is just a way to make yourself feel better about starting a TV marathon. After you’ve got a degree under your belt, you’ve come far enough to know that exam success means an attack plan, hundreds of pages of notes, flashcards, and, most important of all, study buddies.

Because the best learning doesn’t happen in a vacuum, does it?

That’s why PRIMED’s NCLEX Prep course takes place in what’s called a “Cooperative Learning Environment.” That may sound like just a fancy term for “classroom,” but what it really means is something beyond four walls and a roof. A Cooperative Learning Environment means a cohort of nurses working toward the same goal as you and an instructor encouraging you from the finish line.

Before you walk into the NCLEX-RN exam room, PRIMED’s two-day intensive course offers the key building blocks of a good study plan: an overall content review, focused sessions on key areas, and plenty of practice questions. But PRIMED’s course goes above and beyond this by offering the opportunity to work through a variety of common clinical scenarios together with fellow students and the instructor.

Not to mention, of course, the continuing support of fellow NCLEX exam takers and the PRIMED team after the prep course finishes.

You’ve got a running buddy to help get you through those last 500 metres of that half-marathon you’ve been working toward, right? Think of PRIMED as your multi-headed trainer/cheer squad combo to get you totally pumped for NCLEX-RN race day.

Let’s do this thing! Gatorade is on us (metaphorically speaking—drinks aren’t allowed in the testing room).