L plates
It will take time to sink in that you’ve passed – Image ©iStock.com/nadger

The big summer OSCE extravaganza is over. For many nursing students it’s just a wait for results and then it’s “RVN time”. For those who need to resit (and it’s never that many), the focus returns to exams.

But what do you do if you’ve passed and suddenly have all this free time on your hands?

You’re qualified. You made it – I’m sure you’ve celebrated a little, and probably shed a tear. I recall terrifying our post lady when I opened my results in front of her (still wearing my pyjamas) and sank to the ground weeping… I HAD PASSED!

It takes time to sink in that you’ve passed, but it means you can have a life again, you can take on new roles at work, and there is a whole new world of CPD – so what should you do first?

Personally, I would suggest taking a few months to work through the following phases:

  1. Relax. There is no pressure to decide future careers right now.
  2. Enjoy your job without the pressure of college work and your nursing progress log (NPL).
  3. Consider which parts of the job make you most excited. This can help shape your future career decisions. Do you love the clients, hate nights, prefer cats to dogs?
  4. Take pride in doing your job well. Just because you’re no longer required to complete your NPL, it doesn’t mean standards should slip.
  5. Start looking at CPD. You’ll be surprised how your thirst for knowledge comes back after a short break.
  6. Chat to your practice. Does your employer have plans to utilise their new asset (YOU)?

You’ve graduated at a really amazing time – the list of career options for RVNs is growing daily. You are also a rare species; there aren’t enough veterinary nurses, so the options to work where you want, travel, locum, go abroad and do charity work with amazing species and really expand your horizons are there for the taking.

But most of all, enjoy your nursing – your patients need you.

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