What's best for me, RN or LPN?

  1. Hi, I'm 29 yrs old, a mother of 2 and one on the way. I'm seriously considering RN or LPN. I must take a few courses first like Bio, Math (to bring up my marks); I'm starting that in September. I was a stay at home mom for my other kids, but this time I've decided to do things differently (I'm due next month). One day I'm all excited and determined I'm going to go all the way with RN, and the next day I change my mind to LPN again. I just keep going back and forth, back and forth. I'm a little obsessed. I'm very excited about going back to college and doing something for myself. It's all I think about. BUT...here are the things that worry me about taking RN. First of all, the price of the course. If I get a loan and quit or fail I'm so screwed . We cannot afford that at ALL. Also, I wasn't strong in math in high school, and heard people say that if they had not been strong in math they wouldn't have made it through it. Now, if I take LPN everything is covered for, daycare, gas, the course itself etc. But here in Canada, you can't go from an LPN to an RN. In other words you don't get any credit towards your RN at all. It's completely two different things. It would take me 2 yrs to do my LPN, and then if I decide to go for my RN, it would take me another 4 yrs. In a way I feel if I don't go for my RN right away I'm just wasting time. I also wonder if I have what it takes. In high school, marks were really NOT my priority. I was into boys and parties. I finally graduated but with very LOW grades. Now that I'm an adult my priorities have changes of course, but I'm scared RN would just be too hard for me. I don't know, maybe I don't give myself enough credit. It's such a hard decision. Thanks in advance!!!
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  2. 15 Comments

  3. by   CA CoCoRN
    Quote from char1976
    Hi, I'm 29 yrs old, a mother of 2 and one on the way. I'm seriously considering RN or LPN. I must take a few courses first like Bio, Math (to bring up my marks); I'm starting that in September. I was a stay at home mom for my other kids, but this time I've decided to do things differently (I'm due next month). One day I'm all excited and determined I'm going to go all the way with RN, and the next day I change my mind to LPN again. I just keep going back and forth, back and forth. I'm a little obsessed. I'm very excited about going back to college and doing something for myself. It's all I think about. BUT...here are the things that worry me about taking RN. First of all, the price of the course. If I get a loan and quit or fail I'm so screwed . We cannot afford that at ALL. Also, I wasn't strong in math in high school, and heard people say that if they had not been strong in math they wouldn't have made it through it. Now, if I take LPN everything is covered for, daycare, gas, the course itself etc. But here in Canada, you can't go from an LPN to an RN. In other words you don't get any credit towards your RN at all. It's completely two different things. It would take me 2 yrs to do my LPN, and then if I decide to go for my RN, it would take me another 4 yrs. In a way I feel if I don't go for my RN right away I'm just wasting time. I also wonder if I have what it takes. In high school, marks were really NOT my priority. I was into boys and parties. I finally graduated but with very LOW grades. Now that I'm an adult my priorities have changes of course, but I'm scared RN would just be too hard for me. I don't know, maybe I don't give myself enough credit. It's such a hard decision. Thanks in advance!!!
    Have your child first. Devote as much time and energy as you can to your babies. THEN, when they (especially the baby) are at an age which you feel is acceptable for them to be away for you for a significant amount of time (class and clinical time), and when you feel you can balance study time with mommy time...do it. When that time comes...only you will know. Realize that either ed. path will take time. Time which you will be pre-occupied and possibly not the most attentive mommy. You won't want to regret either decision: school nor mommyhood. So consider wisely...then make yourself a plan...make the plan knowing that it's flexible and not unchanging.

    Since you seem a bit unsure as to which degree to attempt, shadow both an LPN/LVN and RN when you are closer to deciding. Do research as to their practice areas and scope, and the future of each "beyond the hospital walls". Also check the trends for RN/LVN usage in your region to see how your job prospects will be post-completion.
  4. by   TheCommuter
    R.N.s possess more career mobility, receive more respect, and earn more money. However, I am a LVN student who wishes to bridge to R.N. someday. I attend a California LVN school and the program lasts approximately one year. Some of the best classmates are the mothers with children. They seem to do well on tests and know how to balance school and home duties. Also, only a basic knowledge of simple math is needed in order to excel in the LVN program. I'd rather be an R.N. I hope I've assisted your decision-making process.
  5. by   char1976
    Hi, thanks for your reply. Actually, I already have tow children. I've been a stay at home mom with two kids for 5 yrs (was the HARDEST thing I ever did) It was very HARD to be 100% dependant on my husband and not leave the house for days and days. To have NO social life and be dependant on others because you don't work outside the home was VERY depressing to me. My children HAD to have felt that. This is my third child. By september, the two I have now will be in school. This time around I want to do things differently. My self esteem was sooooo low, I had lost my identity. Now that I feel I'm starting to find myslef again and my identity, I should stay motivated by going out there a.s.a.p. My mother in law would babysit for the first year, and then the daycare is right inside the college when it would be time to bring him there. I already feel guilty about wanting to do this but In a way I think it would be good for my children too. I want them to see me as a fighter, and a strong independant woman. Not the insecure mommy that almost never smiled that I was as a stay at home mom.
    Oh, and pardon my spelling errors, English isn't my first language.
  6. by   PJMommy
    Do what you have to do. I could have written your post after I tested out stay-at-home-mommy for a year. Every one is different. Every mom is different. I envy those who are content and happy being home all day with their children...but I'm not one of them. I love these kiddos like crazy but my personality is such that I go a little bit crazy if I'm not out of the house and/or getting "mommy time".

    I went back to school with four children...the youngest was 6 months when I started pre-reqs and he was 2 y/o when I finished. I never regretted going back to school. My mom-in-law was great - she babysat, she came over with a home-cooked meal, etc. And I was a better mommy because I was excited to get out of bed every day.

    Good luck.


    Quote from char1976
    Hi, thanks for your reply. Actually, I already have tow children. I've been a stay at home mom with two kids for 5 yrs (was the HARDEST thing I ever did) It was very HARD to be 100% dependant on my husband and not leave the house for days and days. To have NO social life and be dependant on others because you don't work outside the home was VERY depressing to me. My children HAD to have felt that. This is my third child. By september, the two I have now will be in school. This time around I want to do things differently. My self esteem was sooooo low, I had lost my identity. Now that I feel I'm starting to find myslef again and my identity, I should stay motivated by going out there a.s.a.p. My mother in law would babysit for the first year, and then the daycare is right inside the college when it would be time to bring him there. I already feel guilty about wanting to do this but In a way I think it would be good for my children too. I want them to see me as a fighter, and a strong independant woman. Not the insecure mommy that almost never smiled that I was as a stay at home mom.
    Oh, and pardon my spelling errors, English isn't my first language.
  7. by   DutchgirlRN
    Quote from char1976
    One day I'm all excited and determined I'm going to go all the way with RN, and the next day I change my mind to LPN again.

    Having been both an LPN (26 yrs) and now an RN, I see the huge difference it makes, I graduated with my RN at age 46. I wish I would have gotten my RN from the beginnning.
  8. by   Cindy_A
    I would say go for the RN, since you don't have a bridge program like we do here in the States, I think in the long run you would be better off. I was an LPN for 3 years, then became an RN. As an RN you do earn more, plus have more job opportunities. Don't let how you did in high school make you think you can't do this. You are older and wiser, and have a goal. You sound very determined, and I'm sure you will do just fine. Good Luck!
  9. by   CHATSDALE
    better to get rn if it would be financially possible...if not go for lpn...even if you cannot bridge you will have a step up when you go back because you will know b/4 you invest the time and money what you can do and what you can not do
    and laws change you may at some point be able to bridge good luck
  10. by   char1976
    Quote from PJMommy
    Do what you have to do. I could have written your post after I tested out stay-at-home-mommy for a year. Every one is different. Every mom is different. I envy those who are content and happy being home all day with their children...but I'm not one of them. I love these kiddos like crazy but my personality is such that I go a little bit crazy if I'm not out of the house and/or getting "mommy time".

    I went back to school with four children...the youngest was 6 months when I started pre-reqs and he was 2 y/o when I finished. I never regretted going back to school. My mom-in-law was great - she babysat, she came over with a home-cooked meal, etc. And I was a better mommy because I was excited to get out of bed every day.

    Good luck.
    Wow! Thanks so much! That's so encouraging to know I'm not the only one that felt this way. Although I still have no clue if I'm going to take LPN or RN, atleast I have support and your posts were very helpful
  11. by   Fiona59
    It is possible to bridge in Canada. Check your provincial requirements.

    Where do you live, I've never heard of someone not having to pay for an LPN programme. Student loans were a fact of life in my class. Enough to cover tuition, books, and part of the child care. But you have to have some money to document on the paperwork.

    The math required depends on where you apply. Usually math 11 will do the trick. So, if you remember your fractions, decimals, etc. your fine.

    Check with the schools, usually there's a test you can take that will tell you which courses you need to upgrade for the LPN. I went with people who had graduated in the 70 and 80s and they didn't have to upgrade their science or math. Different story for the RN programme, but again this depends on which province ur in and if your a status indian.

    Most of the board is American, and their funding is totally different from Canadian as are the educational requirements. (please don't flame me people its true). We don't have many part time programmes, and I've never heard of a night or weekend programme for nursing in either level. We also have some killer waitlists depending on where you are.
    Last edit by Fiona59 on Feb 22, '05
  12. by   Antikigirl
    I am very curious and suprised that no one asked "why do you want to be either?". That really makes a difference in what you choose or if you have considered other opporunities in healthcare...

    For instance..I am RN, but ADN...I chose to go into nursing because when I was pregnant my docs were absent and obscure..not tending my needs as a first time pregnant woman, but the nurses were...so I studied hard on pregancy and the nurses were so impressed they told me (one demanded) I get into nursing....I got a grant for nursing school and went in..so my choice was clearer than picking LPN vs RN...

    But...now that I have been a nurse...I am very very disatisfied with how inflexable nursing and family life can be. SO I wished I had looked deeper (or knew to look deeper) into other aspects of healthcare. Since I can no longer afford school, I am rather stuck...and for the first time in my life have a regret (my goal thoughout my life has been have NO regrets....). I would gladly give up nursing for MRI tech or Ultrasound tech now..but no money to do so!

    Look into other aspects as well...being a 'nurse' may have expectations you will find, and those you don't...so weighing the real reasons behind your choice is essential! If it is because "you want to help people"...well, you aren't thinking hard enough...

    Write down your initial expectations of nursing...then see if those are realistic goals you wish to take on with small children in your life....Money..heck yes, that is helpful...but remember...at what expence??? Really take a DEEP look into why...this may indeed help with the flip flop between LPN or RN...or another choice all together

    Good luck to you...and no, I am not down on Nursing..I just took a wrong turn sometime in the process..but it can be corrected...a VERY nice thing about nursing...you have the opportunity to change and take different paths within the field....
  13. by   char1976
    Quote from Fiona59
    It is possible to bridge in Canada. Check your provincial requirements.

    Where do you live, I've never heard of someone not having to pay for an LPN programme. Student loans were a fact of life in my class. Enough to cover tuition, books, and part of the child care. But you have to have some money to document on the paperwork.

    The math required depends on where you apply. Usually math 11 will do the trick. So, if you remember your fractions, decimals, etc. your fine.

    Check with the schools, usually there's a test you can take that will tell you which courses you need to upgrade for the LPN. I went with people who had graduated in the 70 and 80s and they didn't have to upgrade their science or math. Different story for the RN programme, but again this depends on which province ur in and if your a status indian.

    Most of the board is American, and their funding is totally different from Canadian as are the educational requirements. (please don't flame me people its true). We don't have many part time programmes, and I've never heard of a night or weekend programme for nursing in either level. We also have some killer waitlists depending on where you are.
    I'm in NB. I already know where as stand as far as upgrading goes. I've seen a career guidance councelor, I know what the requirements are, and my upgrading starts in Sept.
    Yes it's all payed for, babysitter, gas, the course ect... It's something we have here called "Employment insurance". If I've worked the required amount of hours in a years time, I get maternity leave benefits and it just keeps on paying as long as I am in College. This doesn't work with university courses (courses over 2yrs length), only college.
  14. by   BWitt71
    I'm currently an LPN in the United States and I'm working on a home study course to obtain my RN. I've been an LPN for nearly 10 years now and I've exhausted every opportunity that an LPN might have available to us. I'm working towards my RN because I want to have more job opportunities and flexibility (not to mention more money). Becoming an LPN first was a good decision for me, but everyone has a different opinion.

    As far as the price of the course - we did have a program within the school (for LPNs) that I attended for low income families which DID cover the full cost of the tuition and books. It paid for uniforms. It reimbursed for daycare and mileage for the use of our own vehicles to/from school & clinicals. I don't know if this is similar to what you have found, but I wanted to throw it in for one of the others folks who posted a reply in regards to this.

    I don't know how things work in Canada, but in the States - we have student loans that you do not have to begin paying on until 6 months after you have graduated from school and then the monthly payment is fairly nominal.

    I would suggest considering going directly for the RN ONLY AFTER you have made the commitment to go through with the process. I would never suggest anyone make this big of a decision if you don't know what you want to do in life.

    Nursing is a very rewarding career. However, it is very difficult as well - during school as well as on the job. Once you've decided to go full force, I don't think you will regret making the decision.

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