To LPN or RN?

  1. Hi everyone,

    I am a 25 year old college graduate living in Pittsburgh that has decided to go into the nursing field. I currently make pretty good money as does my husband. However, I do not believe that we would be able to financially handle me going back to school full time for two years to get an RN. But I believe that if I save up we will be ok if I go to school full time for an LPN. Then, I figured while I work I could go back to school on weekends/Adult Education to get my RN.

    Has anyone out there tried this? Any ideas/advice? Do you think I would be better off in the long run just sticking it out and getting my RN in one fail swoop?

    If you know what the major differences are between LPN and RN in our area I'd be interested in that too.

    Also, if anyone has any comments on LPN and RN schools in the Pittsburgh area I would like to hear what you think.
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  2. 15 Comments

  3. by   dixiechic
    if you want to get into nursing i would suggest go for your lpn if you can't take the time off for rn right now. the experience will never hurt you, only help in the long run. if you like nursing once you are a lpn you can go another year and get your ADN. that is what i did. only three semesters to get the rn degree once i was a lpn. lots of experience. go for it and keep us posted. to my knowlege, and this could be incorrect, there are quiet a few diffences between lpn and rn, the main ones PAY, IV pushes, and admin. blood and blood products. there are probably alot of others but those are the main ones. and i don't think a lpn can draw an Arterial blood gas specimen. anyways good luck.
  4. by   dixiechic
    if you want to get into nursing i would suggest go for your lpn if you can't take the time off for rn right now. the experience will never hurt you, only help in the long run. if you like nursing once you are a lpn you can go another year and get your ADN. that is what i did. only three semesters to get the rn degree once i was a lpn. lots of experience. go for it and keep us posted. to my knowlege, and this could be incorrect, there are quiet a few diffences between lpn and rn, the main ones PAY, IV pushes, and admin. blood and blood products. there are probably alot of others but those are the main ones. and i don't think a lpn can draw an Arterial blood gas specimen. anyways good luck.
  5. by   Enright
    I went from non-nurse college grad to BSN in one year with an accelerated nursing program. My concerns were the same as yours...the opportunity cost of my not working for 2 years was more than we could handle. I strongly recommend contacting the NLN for their nursing school publications--nursing education can be rigid but there are some unique programs out there.

    I've been an aide and now an RN so I can't answer the LPN question. I would recommend getting your RN if at all possible because you are going to have a lot more opportunities and financial advantages that way. Good luck!

    [This message has been edited by Enright (edited January 23, 2001).]
  6. by   puzzler
    Hi Colleen
    My experience was about the same as your position. My decision was to go to LPN school then do the RN school part time while I worked as an LPN. It worked out well and this was with a husband (very supportive) and three children.

    I have never regretted my decision. Good luck in whichever decision you make.

    ------------------
    Sheryl
    If you enjoy word puzzles come visit me at www.CrosswordsForNurses.com
  7. by   NurseNikki2001
    Colleen,
    I just wanted to tell you that I just graduated LPN school in Florida. They have a career mobility or bridge program for RN where I went to school. I think that is the best way to get your RN. I currently work as an LPN in a local hospital and I am starting RN school June of this year. I only go to RN school twice a week and the other days of course I work. Here in Florida the only thing the RN can do that I can not do is adminster blood and narcotics through an IV line. I also can not be charge nurse unless I am working in a Nursing Home Facility.
    At the time I did'nt know if nursing was the career choice for me. That is another reason why I chose to go to LPN school rather that a 2 yr RN program. After I graduated I realized that nursing is so rewarding and I made the right career choice. Therefore that is why I am going forward to get my RN. Good luck and keep me posted. You can email me if you have any questions.
  8. by   purplemania
    In my state the average LPN pay is $8 and average RN pay is $16. The work is almost identical. Not hard to figure out which is worth more.
    I recommend financial aid, loan, sell a car, hock jewerly WHATEVER IT TAKES to get the RN. I went thru ADN program then fast track thru BSN. Talk to school counselors. Can you work at a hosp. doing "anything" and have them pay your tuition??? I have $$$$$ worth of education and spent less than $1000. Go for it and good luck.
  9. by   babs_rn
    Nursing school is very demanding and time consuming and will pull a student far away from his/her family. Everyone married classmate I had (and there were quite a few) was on the brink of divorce by the time the last quarter came around. School on nights and weekends? Never saw a nursing program like that. Classes are usually sequential and are provided with co-requisites. Here in GA all the tech schools (only place to get an LPN diploma) have gone to "technical college" status and are now giving Associate Degrees which makes me wonder why anyone in their right mind would go for LPN anymore when you can get your RN with an AD.

    But whichever road you may decide to take, don't make the mistake of thinking your life will be any better (or of thinking that you'll actually HAVE a life) during OR after nursing school. It won't, and you won't.

    Best of luck,
    Babs
  10. by   hollykate
    I have to agree with Babs. There don't seem to be too many LPN-RN programs like what you would need. I would recommend getting the ADN, and then going to an RN to BSN bridge. Many of those are offerred in PM's.
    Dixie chic has got the main differences down-excepting, that even RN's can not draw arterial blood gases unless they have been precepted and have documented training in the skill. you can also find the scope of practice at the PA board of nursing web site.
    And to encourage you. I had a life in nursing school. My best friend in the program got married and had two children during nurisng school. We both had to set strict priorities though regarding time and effort put into sertain things. I can't say either one of us had very clean homes.
  11. by   Keysnurse2008
    I HAVE BEEN AN LPN FOR 12 YEARS.IT WAS A VERY DIFFICULT PROGRAM.UNLIKE THE RN PROGRAM I HAD TO ATTEND SCHOOL FOR 5 DAYS EACH WEEK.6 HOURS A DAY.I AM NOW FINISHING MY RN DEGREE.I HAVE YET TO STUDY AS HARD AS I DID IN LPN SCHOOL.I HAVE A 3.7 GPA WITH 86 COLLEGE CREDITS IN.I HAVE GOTTEN LOTS OF EXPERIENCE AND GAINED KNOWLEDGE THAT HAS BEEN INVALUABLE TO ME AS A RN.HOWEVER DONT BE DISILLUSIONED THAT LPN SCHOOL IS A BREEZE.IT IS DIFFICULT.I DONT KNOW ABOUT OTHER STATES BUT I MAKE 19.75 AS A LPN WITH 12 YEARS EXPERIENCE.WHEN I COMPLETE MY RN PROGRAM IN 1 YEAR I WILL ONLY RECEIVE 1.95 AN HOUR RAISE.GOOD LUCK!
  12. by   3651bht
    Going the LPN route was the way I went except it took me 17 years to get my RN. I say go for broke. Go BSN at your state college. They are usually cheaper and can find you more aid and scholarships.... After all they want your business. They need to make money too.... Good luck....


  13. by   LPN 2 B
    I am doing the exact same thing as you. I cannot afford to take 2 years off but I can do 1 year. I plan on working as an LPN and socking away the extra money I will make, and in Connecticut the LPN vs RN pay isn't as different in Texas. LPN's in the LTC make about$23/hour while the RN makes $25 or so.

    I also want to make absolutely sure that nursing is my career for life. I dont want to spend 2-4 years in school spending thousands of dollars, making my family sacrifice, only to find out that I am not cut out for this career.

    One or two years as an LPN then off to RN school if I feel this is THE job for me.
  14. by   Teshiee
    If you speak to a lot of nurses you will find we were LVN/LPN's before we became RN's. Thank goodness becoming a RN has several path ways. For me was what your dilemma was I didn't have 2 years to sacrifice so I did become a LVN first and 4 years later a RN. I know that some RN programs will let LVN start in the last 2 semesters because the LVN courses met the criteria. Check around. I know in Los Angeles many RN programs are testing LVN's to place them in second semester if they don't score high enough. I also found that RN school wasn't hard because of my LVN background. Starting as a LVN does have its advantages.

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