LPN licensure midway through RN program?

  1. Hello!

    I'm approaching the end of the 1st year of an ADN program. It may be possible for me to take the NCLEX-PN this summer. If so, and if given the chance, do you think it would be more beneficial for my future as an RN to work as an LPN in an extended care facility during my last year of the ADN program, or to work as a nursing assistant in an acute care facility?

    I'd love to hear some advice.

    Thanks in advance!
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    About 777RN

    Joined: Mar '09; Posts: 310; Likes: 114
    from US
    Specialty: 4+ year(s) of experience in Geriatrics, dementia, hospice


  3. by   caliotter3
    You must keep school as your first priority. Work has a funny way of detracting from one's ability to do well in school. If you must work, it would be easier to do CNA work as far as stress is concerned, but for your nursing resume, the LPN work would look better to future employers. However, you have to remember to keep school number one. If you can't do that, then you should consider whether you should be working at all while finishing. Taken from my experience.
  4. by   777RN
    Thanks much, caliotter3! I appreciate your reply. I have read many of your posts all over this site and have learned a lot from them.

    I agree: Work can detract from school. However, in my case, I HAVE to work. (I worked full-time during the first semester of the program and am working part-time now as a nursing assistant in an ECF/SNF.)

    My main focus is having a chance to improve my skills. As an LPN, I would mainly pass medication at an ECF, as hospitals in my area do not hire LPNs. Do you think I would I have a chance to learn/do more as a nursing assistant in a hospital?

  5. by   elkpark
    I used to teach in an ADN program in a state which permitted students to do this. Many of the students wanted to (or needed to, financially), and some of the other faculty actually encouraged students to. The local LTCs would paint them a glowing picture in interviews about the great orientation they'd get, how the facility would be happy to work with their school schedule, how much support they'd have at work, etc. -- none of which turned out to be true. The students suddenly found themselves "thrown to the wolves," minimal orientation, trying to medicate 50 or 60 clients on evening or night shift, little or no flexibility about their schedules -- and most of the students who tried to do this either came close to flunking out of school, or did. Either nursing school or making the transition from nursing student to practicing nurse is difficult enough by itself, without trying to do both at once.

    I agree you would be better off (in terms of stress level) continuing to work as a CNA rather than going the LPN-in-LTC route. If you can get a CNA job in a hospital, that would give you exposure to a broader range of experiences, and, in my experience, hospitals are pretty flexible about working with CNAs who are also nursing students. Assuming you are going to be a good CNA employee , it would also give you an advantage in pursuing an RN position at the hospital after you graduate.

    Best wishes for your journey!
  6. by   777RN
    Elkpark, thanks very much for the advice and the well wishes. I have learned a lot from many of your posts on this site as well. Following are a few more specifics regarding my situation (just in case they sway your opinion ).

    Currently, I work every weekend as a CNA at the LTC where I would work as an LPN, if I were to pursue the license. They have been VERY flexible with my schedule (which allowed me to work full-time during the first semester of my program), as they are with LPNs in LPN-RN programs; it is a large hospital-owned LTC/rehab. The weekends-only schedule may be available to me as an LPN as well. Generally, our nurse-to-patient ratios on midnights are 1:30. Typically, this LTC gives new nurses a one-month orientation, but I've seen them extend it by a few weeks for some who asked for more time.

    So, if I were guaranteed part-time, weekends only, with reasonable support, do you think it would be more beneficial to get LPN experience during the last year of my program? Although I would like the extra money from LPN wages during the last year of school, my primary reason for considering an LPN license midway is to strengthen my skills.

    Thanks again!
    Last edit by 777RN on Apr 10, '12 : Reason: Error
  7. by   nozyrozy40
    What state are you in?? Some states have done away w/ allowing RN stdents to sit for the NCLEX-PN after completing their first year.
  8. by   777RN
    Nozyrozy40, I am in Michigan, a state which, in general, does not allow students to sit for the NCLEX-PN after the first year of an ADN program. However, there are a few exceptions; some programs are structured to allow students to take the exam after the first year.