Nurse makes millions selling her licensing exam study sheets


Emergency nurse Stephanee Beggs, RN, BSN, has made more than $2 million in three years selling her handwritten guides to study for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).

Ms. Beggs, 28, sells one-page study sheets or bundles of sheets, sometimes with colorful drawings, conversation bubbles and underlining, that boil down concepts for particular conditions into easy-to-understand language.

The biggest seller on Ms. Beggs’ online marketplace Etsy site, RNExplained, is a bundle of study guides covering eight core nursing classes. The notes range in price from $2 to $150. More than 70,000 customers have bought the $60 bundle, according to the website.

Ms. Beggs’ business developed in a “very unintentional” way when COVID hit with just months left in her nursing program at Mount Saint Mary’s University, Los Angeles, she told this news organization.

Classes had switched to Zoom, and she had no one to study with as she prepared to take her board exams.

“The best way I know how to study is to teach things out loud. But because I had nobody to teach out loud to, I would literally teach them to the wall,” Ms. Beggs said. “I would record myself so I could play it back and teach myself these topics that were hard for me to understand.”

Just for fun, she says, she posted them on TikTok and the responses started flowing in, with followers asking where she was selling the sheets. She now has more than 660,000 TikTok followers and 9 million likes.

Ms. Beggs said that every sheet highlights a condition, and she has made 308 of them.

Traditional classroom lessons typically teach one medical condition in 5-6 pages, Ms. Beggs said. “I go straight to the point.”

One reviewer on Ms. Beggs’ Etsy site appreciated the handwritten notes, calling them “simplified and concise.” Another commented: “Definitely helped me pass my last exam.”

Ms. Beggs says that her notes may seem simple, but each page represents comprehensive research.

“I have to go through not just one source of information to make sure my information is factual,” Ms. Beggs says. “What you teach in California might be a little different than what you teach in Florida. It’s very meticulous. The lab values will be a little different everywhere you go.”

She acknowledges her competition, noting that there are many other study guides for the NCLEX and nursing courses.

Nursing groups weigh in

Dawn Kappel, spokesperson for the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, which oversees NCLEX, said in an interview that “NCSBN has no issue with the current content of Stephanee Beggs’ business venture.”

For many students, the study guides will be helpful, especially for visual learners, said Carole Kenner, PhD, RN, dean and professor in the School of Nursing and Health Sciences at The College of New Jersey.

But for students “who are less confident in their knowledge, I would want to see a lot more in-depth explanation and rationale,” Dr. Kenner said.

“Since the NCLEX is moving to more cased-based scenarios, the next-gen unfolding cases, you really have to understand a lot of the rationale.”

The notes remind Dr. Kenner of traditional flash cards. “I don’t think it will work for all students, but even the fanciest of onsite review courses are useful to everyone,” she said.


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