To say that the process one should undergo to become a registered nurse in any state in America is tedious must be an understatement. But hey, if one is dead serious about it, nothing is impossible.
Today I went to the bank to ask for a demand draft (manager’s check) of USD 70 payable to Board of Registered Nursing-California in order for them to submit the NCLEX-RN result of, ehem, my wife (applause, applause!) to CGFNS/ICHP in Philadelphia for that office to evaluate her documents and if found complete, they’ll issue a Visa Screen Certificate. This Visa Screen Certificate is required to secure by the nurse applicant in order for her/his US employer represented by US Immigration lawyer to petition her/him for a Visa (working non-immigrant visa or an immigrant visa).
Back track 4 years ago when we were on vacation in Auckland, New Zealand, she was just convinced by the author of this blog to take IELTS/International English Language Testing System in Manukau Institute, Auckland, NZ with barely a day of review. It was fortunate for her that few steps from my cousins’ place where we stayed for 7 weeks was a public library where my wife listened to audio CDs of IELTS’ practice / simulated tests plus she browsed some review books in less than 12 hours of preparation. And she made it with band score 7.0 (which means GOOD USER of english language; perfect score is 9.0) . But since all we had then were Visit Visas extended for a year, we (including me) didn’t have a chance to land a job in Auckland (OK, we did hunt jobs in between, just took chances). So we flew back to Manila, did the same routine and after 2 years, my wife’s IELTS result expired. Before its expiry date, she retook it this time in Manila and the gods were on her side since she got another band score of 7.0 without any review. DON’T GET ME WRONG here, I don’t promote no-IELTS-preparation but I’m just being factual with my wife’s experience. Actually, in my own honest opinion, what she did with her IELTS 2x were both risky.
About 9 months ago, she decided to sit in our classes at now called Allgen (www.allgen.net) for intensive review of NCLEX-RN. She temporarily dropped her work as a clinical instructor in a college of nursing to focus on her review. It was really a BIG SACRIFICE on her part. She attended live lectures religiously, did several practice tests in classes & listened to rationalization and sat in simulated exam- review on the web which was also done in the center as part of the review package. She jot down essential notes not only from review lectures & copied rationales from her on-line review but also made her own cue cards sourced from various NCLEX-RN review books.
Prior to her review for NCLEX, she did register, apply and schedule her exam after receiving her eligibility notice and ATT (authorization to take test) and paid the necessary fees, whew!
I am a witness to all of her efforts just to ace it to NCLEX-RN. I stood not only as her supportive husband, but as one of review instructors to her and her batchmates at the center. Even at home during weekends, I recall she did locked herself for 2 to 3 hours just to concentrate on reading review materials. Two days before she takes the exam, she requested me to accompany her to St. Jude’s (patron saint for the hopeless cases) Church in Manila where we both asked guidance, divine interventions and a miracle that could move mountains! On the day of her exam at Trident tower in Makati, she obediently followed my “over-the-counter” advice and wore her RED shirt for good fortune (told you I might be chinese in my past lives, LOL. read my previous entries here) and true enough, most of examinees that day wore the same shade, possibly for the same reason. It wouldn’t hurt probably if we sometimes follow who, Confucius? LOL !
Her official exam started a little past 9AM. I was waiting at Starbucks Coffee in RCBC Plaza, the nearby building of the NCLEX-RN venue in Makati City. After 2 hours and 20 minutes and a cup of grande iced caramel macchiato and a slice of cake, I already received a text (SMS) that she’s on her way to where I am waiting. I met her at the lobby of the building. Just like other examinees who took it, she had the same reaction post exam. She was distraught; in shock instead of being thankful that she hurdled CAT(computer adaptive test) conducted by Pearson vue for Board of Registered Nursing across US. My wife cannot speak for few seconds the first time I saw her. Until I heard she uttered that her computer stopped at question # 75 after 2 hours. She barely recalled the specific questions that came out. All she can attest until now is the fact that the exam was so difficult & mind-boggling. We were supposed to attend to our respective classes in the college of nursing where we were working as instructors but I decided it would be better if I’ll be the only one to go to work that afternoon and she’ll go home straight to rest. Afterall, she rightfully deserved it.
She started applying for Visa Screen Certificate by the end of October last year. And as stated at the start of this entry, process is on hold until Board of Registered Nursing-California receives the fee through bank demand draft that I sent this morning through DHL for them to forward the NCLEX-RN result to CGFNS/ICHP. In between all these processes since last year, I accompany her to various agencies to attend orientation and see what these offices affiliated with US hospitals have to offer.
I’d like to share my two-cent-worth of advice to those (mostly Filipino) nurses (particularly those who sat in my classes in both academe and review centers) who are aspiring to work in the US :
KNOW WHAT YOU WANT & AIM FOR IT.
I highly suggest to nurses wanting to take the path that my wife has trailed to attend review classes where not only the basics are taught but discipline, focus & motivation towards a goal are instilled. In a difficult undertaking such as registration of nurses in the US, one needs professional help. Remember even the Filipino boxing champ Manny Pacquiao always prepares for his fights. He trains well to win as Nike puts it. One thing is for sure, exerting efforts to any endeavor will surely yield success in the end. Nothing is put to waste if you devote your entire heart to it. Even those who failed the first try or the second surely gained something from the experience.
The journey is long and difficult but it’s up to the traveler to make it worthwhile.