How Plan and Prepare for the NCLEX Exam

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If you are completing a degree in Nursing from an accredited program, your next step to qualify for a nursing position is to get licensed in the state in which you will work. All states in the U.S. and in Canada require the National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX-RN. This examination will determine whether you have the competencies to qualify for entry level nursing practice at the RN level.

NCLEX-PN is also used in the U.S. for licensure at the Practical Nurse level.

In planning and preparing for the NCLEX, you should proceed with the application procedures and scheduling of the examination so as to avoid the risk of testing delay caused by a high volume of applications.

Applying for the NCLEX

Detailed instructions for the procedures to follow to apply for the examination are given on the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN)websitehttps://www.ncsbn.org/nclex-application-and-registration.htm. Here is a summary of the steps to be taken:

1. You need first to get a licensure/registration application from the Board of Nursing in the state you will be working. After submitting your application materials and paying a fee, the Board will determine your eligibility to take the NCLEX.
2. While waiting for the Board’s action, you can contact Pearson VUEhttp://www.pearsonvue.com/nclex/ through phone or email to register for the examination and to pay the fee of $200 in the U.S. and $360 in Canada. This step reserves a space for the examination for 365 days. Once the Board of Nursing establishes your eligibility and issues a license, Pearson VUE will send you an Authorization to Test (ATT). The ATT gives you the authorization number, your candidate ID number, and the valid period for examination, usually 90 days.
3. You should schedule your examination date with Pearson VUE as soon after receiving the ATT as possible to secure an appointment within their crowded schedule. The examination is administered individually and requires an appointment for a specific time and place.

Preparing for the Examination

The most comprehensive way to prepare for the examination is to study the examination process itself and to review the subject matter being tested.

The NCLEX Process

NCLEX is administered through computerized adaptive testing (CAT) which is a process that is individualized for the person being examined to determine his or her true competence level. The items in the test pool are calibrated for difficulty level, and the computer selects each question given according to how the candidate has scored on previous questions. The kinds of questions asked and the way a person’s competence level is determined is explained in this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fg_lUK3nTk. This second video https://www.ncsbn.org/1216.htm explains how the computerized adaptive testing procedure of NCLEX works and how you will be tested.

Content Review

In the explanations of the NCLEX exam structure above, note that Comprehension and Knowledge establish your base level of competency, and that to pass the test, you will have to score correctly on items that test Application and Analysis. A good way to check on topics and areas which you need to review is to try the NCLEX practice items provided on this website https://brilliantnurse.com/100-free-nclex-practice-questions-2015/. For the items you answer correctly, an explanation of both correct and wrong answers is given. For items that you got wrong, no explanation is given, but this clues you to review that particular topic. This article http://www.allnursingschools.com/nursing-careers/article/nclex-exam/ gives you the subject matter covered on the NCLEX and also lists a number of resources that you can access for preparation.

Besides familiarizing yourself with the testing process and reviewing nursing knowledge, approaching the examination with optimism and facing it as a positive challenge will prepare you to do well on the NCLEX. Good luck!

3 Crawl Space Repair Mistakes to Avoid

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If you implement improper procedures when repairing a crawl space, you’ll have to deal with more costly issues down the road. To save cash, you must gather information about crawl space repairs in order to avoid the most common maintenance mistakes.

Installation and Add-on Mistakes

You won’t eliminate any moisture from your crawl space by installing additional vents. If your home is located in a humid climate, you’ll need to cover the vents to keep humid air out of the crawl space.

As warm air enters a crawl space, it raises to the ceiling and creates an uncomfortable environment. If the interior surfaces remain damp, black mold with grow on the joists. To prevent this issue, ensure that every crawl space and vent has a tight cover.

You must understand that all air that enters a vent doesn’t move side to side. Instead, the currents move up and create the Stack Effect. This means that every current that enters the crawl space exits above the living space in your home. Contractors are now building encapsulate crawl spaces to address high moisture levels in humid communities.

Damp Crawl Space Mistakes

Although spray foam insulation is an effective solution, you shouldn’t use it in a damp or wet crawl space because the insulation will trap moisture. After water is sealed between the wall and the coating, the moisture can’t escape. As a result, mold will grow in the crawl space and wood rot will occur.

If you use a spray foam in a crawl space that has untreated plates, the insulated coating will pull away from the wall when heavy moisture builds up. This is why you should only use a spray foam in a crawl space that has a foundation sealant, a water resistant membrane, footing drains, and downspout extensions.

You should never use fiberglass insulation to insulate a damp crawl space. Over time, mold will grow on the insulation; then, the fiberglass may drop if the material absorbs too much moisture in the air.

Drainage System Mistake

A typical crawl space is susceptible to moisture issues because leaks can occur quite easily. Standing water usually builds up in narrow crevices after a hard and windy rainstorm. This is why you must install a proper drainage system that pushes water away from your crawl space.

Besides these problems, there are many other repair mistakes that can ruin a crawl space. You can learn more proper repair procedures by contacting a reputable contractor.

Airport Pickup: Do you Always Need to Plan Ahead?

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Just over a decade ago, picking up a friend or family member at the airport was a breeze. One could pull up to the curb at the arrivals terminal and simply wait until the passenger appeared. Obviously, these days are long gone. Airports have tightened up restrictions—for good reasons—and there are now all kinds of security issues to consider when you’re headed to the airport. However, with a bit of planning, you can remove any potential headaches from the equation.

Give Yourself Extra Time
Many airports, such as LAX, will do a brief visual inspection of each vehicle as it enters the airport. This usually just involves an officer nodding to the vehicle to proceed, but prepare for the fact that you may be pulled over so that the officer can take a closer look at you and/or your vehicle. You may be asked for your license, so treat it like a regular traffic stop. Make sure that you have your registration, insurance and other necessary paperwork in the car with you.

Also, if you have any outstanding issues like a broken taillight, try to get it fixed before you head to the airport. Your good deed could turn into a ticket if your vehicle isn’t up to snuff. Remember that airport security can turn on a dime, in accordance with whatever is happening in the world. To stay posted on any specific delays or security issues, check out the TSA website.

Keep Tabs on the Flight
Get your friend’s flight number and check on it periodically. Most airlines allow you to do this through their websites. This way, you won’t be surprised if the flight is delayed—or even if it lands a half-hour early.

Find Out if the Airport Has a Cell Phone Parking Lot
The best thing to do is to wait for your friend in the airport’s cell phone waiting area. Once their plane has landed, have them give you a call or text you. Find out if they’ll be heading to baggage claim; if they are, then don’t leave the parking lot until they’ve picked up their bags. Many of the airport police officers will have no qualms about giving you a traffic ticket for waiting too long—it’s best to err on the side of caution. Stay in communication with your friend as much as possible, but make sure that you’re not using your phone unless it’s hands-free.

While airport pickups are often a necessity, there’s no need to make them more of a hassle than they already are. By planning and staying in communication, you should be able to complete an airport pickup without any difficulty.

Remodeling: Property Value vs. Pleasure

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One of the joys of owning your home is the opportunity to make it into your own unique living space. If you want an extra bedroom, you can create one without penalty. If you want to paint the walls red instead of white, you can do that without anyone telling you that you can’t. However, you may want to think about whether a home improvement project is worth the cost of completing it.

Will You Get Your Money Back?

One of the things that you have to think about is whether your investment will ever be recouped in the long-term. In other words, when you sell the home, will you get a higher selling price because of that addition you put on or the extra bedroom that you made? If not, you may want to hold off on that project or scale it down.

Does It Make Your Home Nicer?

There are times when remodeling your home just makes it look nicer or allows it to function better. Even if you don’t recoup your investment, putting in a new workspace or adding a half-bathroom to your basement may make it easier to do arts and crafts on the weekends or get ready in the morning without getting in anyone else’s way. In that case, you may want to go ahead with the remodel just to avoid stress and help you enjoy the several years that you will spend in your home.

Can You Do It Yourself?

If you can do a project yourself, you may be able to reduce the cost of the project. For instance, if you know how to put in drywall, have experience with electrical work or can do your own plumbing, it may reduce the cost enough that you can get your money back when you sell the home. Even if you are doing a remodeling project for your own pleasure, it always helps to do as much of the work as possible yourself to cut down on labor costs. You may also benefit by learning new skills if you decide to take on the project yourself.

Whenever you remodel your home, you should always take your own needs and wants into consideration. While it may be nice to have a second bedroom or a second half-bath, you never know if that will actually increase the sale price of your home. Instead, focus on the things that you like as that will make any project money well spent for as long as you own the home.

Leave the Past Behind: Focusing on a Financial Future

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Is there a purchase you’ve made that leaves you cringing when you think about it today? Was there a debt you took on that nearly crippled your finances? Perhaps there was a relationship that suffered due to financial stress.

First of all, you are not alone. Every person you see today has made a poor decision with his or her money – multiple times. Millions are battling debt fatigue or have already declared bankruptcy. Money fights have become the leading predictor of divorce,according to Kansas State University researching, Sonya Britt.

Perhaps you have experienced one or more of those things. They are difficult roads to travel, perhaps some of the most challenging of your life. Before you throw in the towel and say things will never improve, read these four steps to help you leave the past behind and reboot your plans for your financial future.

1. Reboot your financial goals. You’ve tried budget after budget and spreadsheet after spreadsheet. Still, your greatest chance of financial success lies in spending, saving and giving more intentionally. Start by simply writing out some new financial goals.

For example, what one expense can you reduce or eliminate from your budget? How much money would you like to save for emergencies in the next 30 days? In one year, how much debt would you like to have paid off?

2. Reboot your inspiration. There are so many families going through financial hardship today. Many who have overcome that hardship are telling their stories via the Web, either in blogs, vlogs, podcasts, e-books or other online resources. It’s amazing what a jolt of inspiration can do.

Here are nine inspiring stories of ultimate financial freedom to get you started.

3. Reboot your accountability. Whether you’re single, engaged, married, or single again, you need accountability as you pursue the financial goals you created on step #1. This can be your spouse or a trusted friend. It may be difficult to ask for help with something like money, which is so rarely talked about openly, but the person you ask will probalby respect you more for it. In fact, he or she needs just as much accountability as you.

4. Reboot your attitude. This is by far the most important step to take. It’s time to forgive yourself for past financial mistakes. It’s time to let go of the guilt you felt when that bankruptcy happened or your relationship ended or that foreclosure took place. It’s time to move away from the anger you’ve harbored against that person who hurt you financially.

Your past doesn’t define you. Don’t let it try. It’s time to think about tomorrow.

Daily Fitness Goals: Small Actions Lead to Big Changes

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The road to health and fitness can be a long and rocky one, with lots of detours and curves. Making behavioral changes of any kind can be incredibly intimidating, but there are steps to incorporate those changes into your life in a way that lasts. The key is to make changes gradually. Doing so will increase the likelihood of turning them into habits that stick. You really can make small actions lead to big changes when it comes to reaching your fitness goals.

Share Your Goals

You don’t have to go it alone when you’re working toward a challenging goal. Let those closest to you know about your efforts. Doing so will keep you accountable, and you’ll gain a cheering section. Having outside support and motivation is helpful toward remaining on track.

Take a Walk

Believe it or not, just going for a short walk can make a big difference in your overall health and your weight. If you’re unable to go for long periods of time, set yourself a short goal of 10 minutes at first. Gradually, work your way up to larger increments of time. Walking for a half hour each day can truly have a significant impact on your fitness goals. You’ll notice your endurance improve, while your body becomes more toned and pounds are shed.

Get a New Water Bottle

You need to stay hydrated when exercising, and adding regular water intake to your daily routine is good for your health in general. It can also help you to feel full so that you don’t overeat. As simple as it sounds, drinking more water can be a real challenge for some people. One way to make it a bit easier is to get a new water bottle with a look that is appealing to you. Perhaps a bright color will entice you to take a swig more often. It has been proven that we are more likely to choose something that is convenient, so be sure to keep that bottle with you throughout the day. This same premise goes for healthy snacks. By keeping fruit, almonds or veggie slices on hand to munch on, you’ll be less likely to splurge when you find you’re suddenly starving.

Add Music to Your Workout

Whether you’re taking a walk outside or at the gym, listening to music can be a great motivator. Upbeat tunes lead to improved mood and energy. They may even be able to help to push you onward a bit when you feel like slowing down. If you already have a regular playlist as part of your exercise regimen, switch it up and add new tunes to shake up your routine a bit.

These are some small and easy steps to take that can really have an impact on your fitness goals. Don’t forget to incorporate some healthy eating goals, as well. You can do this!

First Time Homebuyers: The Importance of Home Inspections

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A home represents the single largest investment that most consumers make. First time homebuyers are a group at particular risk for making mistakes during the complicated process. Inexperience and excitement can easily compromise a new homebuyer’s best intentions.

Safety First

Horror stories about homes purchased with significant structural or mechanical system problems are far too numerous. Even homes that look great to the untrained eye are often plagued with expensive problems. Inspectors are trained to uncover faulty construction issues and code violations that can threaten the safety of your family and friends. Shaky deck handrails, subpar electrical wiring, rodents, bad plumbing, toxic substances and chimney hazards represent just a few of the common issues that lurk inside many homes. Inspectors are trained professionals who will provide a detailed report about the condition of the house. According to Bankrate, one of the biggest benefits of using an inspector is the fact that they are hired by you to uncover all the problems of the house and can be trusted to be impartial since they get paid whether you buy the house or not.

Investment Protection

If you pay too much for a home that needs substantial repairs, you undermine your investment and may end up regretting the purchase. Since a home purchase represents a high price in terms of both time and money, it is important to obtain accurate information before deciding on a fair price to pay. After the inspection results are reviewed, you can renegotiate the price to reflect the condition of the home.

Another reason inspectors are necessary is to protect you from buying a home with too many issues. Based on the inspection report, a buyer is allowed to back out of the contract citing problems in the final report. This important report provides a way out of a bad deal.

Budget for Future Expenses

According to Investopedia, an inspection will provide invaluable information about upcoming costs so you can plan for future costs. An experienced inspector can provide advice about how long the appliances should last and when the roof will need to be replaced. Smart buyers factor in these costs when making a decision about a fair price to pay.

Conclusion

There are practical reasons to hire a home inspector before buying a home. Ensuring that the home is safe and represents a solid investment opportunity are two of the main reasons to get an inspection. By tagging along with the inspector, he can point out future expenses so you can budget in maintenance expenses to guarantee that your new home remains in good repair. Knowledge is definitely power when it is time to buy a home.

Business Owners: Increase Business with a Loyalty Program

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Many businesses struggle to stay profitable while dealing with increased local and online competition. Markets saturated with companies that offer similar products and services should offer a loyalty program that will increase customer retention and satisfaction.

The Monetary Benefits of Loyalty Programs
There are proven benefits to customer loyalty programs. For example, they help acquire new customers and retain old customers. In fact, loyalty programs and data analytics go hand in hand because sales, marketing and customer service data is beneficial for understanding to and adapting to customers. Loyalty programs are also a useful tool to win back customers who have defected or temporarily turned to a different brand. Loyalty programs also companies to focus on profitable customers and weed out unprofitable customers. That is, business owners can simply select the highest spending customers for their loyalty program.

The Conceptual Benefits of Loyalty Programs
The benefits of loyalty programs aren’t just limited to financial rewards. Loyalty programs are a great marketing tool that will raise awareness of the brand and company. As a result, the company will enjoy a good reputation among customers and competitors alike. Additionally, the company will gain exclusive marketing data and insight into which incentives work best. A loyalty program will help build mutually beneficial relationships between the company and lifelong customers. In the end, a loyalty program will increase the customer lifetime value (CLV) rates.

The Most Popular Loyalty Program
A simple point system is one of the most popular loyalty programs. For example, many grocery and retail stores offer membership cards that allow the users to collect points which can be redeemed for discounts or free items. In fact, all major credit companies offer cash back benefits using the simple point system. The most effective point system allows consumers to choose their reward category. For example, credit card owners can choose target spending categories, such as gas, groceries or restaurants. Keep in mind that consumers are often confused by complex reward systems that equate points to money or percentage discounts for future purchases.

Tiered Loyalty Program
There are obvious differences between a silver and platinum membership level. A tiered loyalty program helps companies reward both low and high spending customers. For example, low spending customers can receive short-term base offerings while big spenders can receive long-term, lucrative benefits. Tiered loyalty programs work well with industries with higher prices and commitments, such as hotels, airlines and insurance companies.

VIP Benefits with a Price Tag
Sometimes, loyalty programs can come with a basic membership fee that opens the door for exclusive benefits. For example, many wholesale retails, such as Costco, offer membership cards that come with unique discounts and rebates. This system is most effective with businesses that require frequent purchases. The membership fee removes standard inconveniences that regular customers must experience. For example, Amazon Prime is an excellent of how paying customers are rewarded for their membership.

To recap, loyalty programs are very beneficial for sales, marketing and customer service purposes. The two most popular loyalty programs are point systems and tiered programs.

3 Ways to Cut Costs on Fall and Winter Clothing

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Updating your wardrobe each season can be quite expensive. While it’s important to have clothes that are appropriate, updated, and in good condition, there are ways to look great without spending a fortune. Here are three key ways to cut costs when you begin to shop for fall and winter clothing this year.

1. Invest in Transition Items
A few key pieces can help you wear many of your warm weather clothes well into fall and winter. Look for functional knee high boots, thick tights, scarves, jackets, and other items that can help you stretch the length of time that you get out of your favorite pieces. Think layers, a trendy look that will keep you warm and save you money. Pair longer, looser tops with skinny bottoms or vice versa to avoid being weighted down.

2. Look for Bargains
Bargain shopping doesn’t mean buying the cheapest possible items. Rather, it means seeking out high value items at affordable prices. Choosing durable, well made clothing that lasts through several years makes more sense than purchasing inexpensive items that will only make it through one season–even if you are spending a little more upfront. Planning ahead so that you can shop the clearance racks off season can help you save money, too. According to Time magazine, the best time to buy winter clothes (especially coats) is in January and February. Shop discount and consignment sites, both online and in person, for the items you have to have. You should also think outside the box; perhaps hold a clothing swap with your friends to hand off items you don’t wear anymore and get some great new pieces. Or, sell your unworn clothing on consignment and use the store credit to buy things you’ll actually wear.

3. Care for the Clothing You Already Own
Once you invest in the fall and winter pieces that are meant to last, take proper care of them so that they look great for years. Follow washing instructions carefully, remembering that it’s not necessary to wash many pieces after every single wear. According to the money blog Wise Bread, you should always fold heavy sweaters instead of hanging and store with cedar blocks to avoid moth infestation. Using wood or fabric hangers rather than metal protects the clothes you do hang from damage.

By following these three steps, you’ll be able to develop an enviable fall and winter wardrobe for pennies on the dollar.

Insurance Claim Adjusters: How to Work with Them

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Everyone dreads being involved in an accident. However, once they happen, the victims should immediately file a claim and seek monetary compensation as guaranteed by their insurance policy that they faithfully pay. Below explains how to best understand and work with insurance claim adjusters.

Understand the Claim Adjusters’ Background

First, understand that there are different kinds of insurance claim adjusters. There are adjusters who inspect property damage, vehicle damage appraisers who inspect cars after accidents and claims examiners who review documentation and evidence. There are also insurance investigators who deeply probe into clients who they suspect are guilty of fraudulent or criminal actions. However, most people will deal with a car or home claim adjuster. They must determine whether the insurance policy covers the claim and if so, what the appropriate payment should be. They will perform research, gather information, negotiate settlements and authorize payments.

The Vehicle Claims Process

A person who is in a car accident may deal with the three different types of adjusters. There may be one to investigate personal injuries, one for property damage claims and one for vehicles that are totaled. However, most minor car accidents will involve an initial investigator who will perform a comprehensive assessment. Upon receiving the claim, the adjuster will enter the data into their software program so they can prepare their report paperwork. After a few days of receiving the report, they will contact the claimant and perform a short review of the incident and schedule a face-to-face interview. If there are any injuries, the adjuster will ask for written release of the related medical records. However, there is no law that requires an immediate, in-depth report of the accident. Therefore, claimants should take their time to gather their thoughts, write out a detailed narrative and consult with an attorney if necessary.

The Vehicle Repair Process

Adjusters will require an estimate from a reliable repair shop. Claimants should ideally take their car to the dealer or a shop that offers high quality repairs. A car dealer will most likely charge higher amounts than the adjuster is willing to pay, but it is better than going to a small shop with limited experience and mediocre repair quality. When negotiating with an adjuster, the claimant should be firm and persistent while avoiding being demanding and confrontational. Keep in mind that claims adjustors most likely have a heavy case load and are under deadlines with complex paperwork. Therefore, claimants who are disagreeable may experience bureaucratic loopholes that reduce their claim amount or even deny their claim.

Overall, claimants should understand that adjusters will attempt to minimize costs while resolving the claim. Therefore, claimants should perform research, ask the right questions and cooperatively work with their adjuster to successfully process the claim.