What's better: Nurse Extern or LPN???

  1. Hey folks,

    In my area - after year one - a nursing student can take the LPN boards or work as a nurse extern while finishing nursing school. Some people recommend the LPN, and work on med-surg. Then, when you graduate (as a new grad nurse), you'll have a year of med-surg under your belt (as an LPN). Others say, 'find the area that you want to work in and get an extern job. Then (especially if it is a unit hard on new grads, ER, ICU, etc.) you'll have better experience as a new grad.'

    What do you guys think?

    CrazyPremed
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  2. 18 Comments

  3. by   RunnerRN
    I didn't do either, but some in my class became nurse externs, and had great experiences. I think (given the choice) I would choose the externship....your duties and scope will be somewhat closer to what they will be after graduation. Plus, if you extern in your chosen department you will get a very personal view of how that dept works.
  4. by   Curious1alwys
    Extern, all the way!!!

    As an extern, you get to see the job, get experience, without the stress of having full responsibility. Plus, as an LPN you will only do things in the scope of LPNS. You are training to be an RN! Plus, as an extern, you only make a bit less than what an LPN makes in a hospital setting. The only disadvantage to externing is you can't rely on it as your sole income if you need to make a certain amt of money. There is a limit to how much you can work.

    Speaking of externing....I go to two interviews for just that today at 2:30 so gotta go!!!!:wink2:
  5. by   TazziRN
    My school didn't offer either option, but I think I would have liked being an extern. My hospital hires externs during the summers and this summer we had 4 of them. The one we had last summer was so awesome we hired her on graduation.
  6. by   suzanne4
    Schools usually do not offer the externships, they are offered directly by the facilities that hire them. I vote for the externship 100%. Especially if the student is interested in a specialty area, they usually pair up with an RN and can get some of the best experiences.
  7. by   destiny5
    I'm not sure where you're from but in my area being an LPN is a more excellent choice for several reasons. LPN's make more than externs in the local hospital. The LPN's scope of practice is very close to that of an RN nowadays in hospitals. Some even hang blood and give IV push medicines. An LPN is a licensed nurse. God forbid something should happen and you can't continue immediately pursuing your RN goal. You would at least be able to work as a nurse and be earning a decent income while doing it.--You could even get your LPN license and continue to RN or BSN online. Pay the $250 and get a license. It is barely the cost of 2 books and will open up other options for you.
    Externs scope of practice in our hospital is that of a CNA with a little more pay. At our hospital if you are a licensed LPN who is currently in an RN program you get paid $22 an hour. If you aren't in an RN program you make around $15 hr. LTC pays about $18-20 hr. but you may not want to go that route. Granted it is harder to get into a hospital with an LPN license, but they would be more likely to hire you if they knew you were in an RN program.
    I guess what I am trying to say is that "extern" means different things in different hospitals. I would check out all the local hospitals and ask around before I made a decision.---
    An LPN licence v/s no license wins hands down in my book....
  8. by   Curious1alwys
    Well, I won't have to choose....I am officially an Extern!:hatparty:
  9. by   cardiacRN2006
    Yeah! Congrats. I learned a ton from my externship!
  10. by   slou!
    I'm sorry, I don't mean to hijack your thread, but can someone tell me exactly what an externship is? Sorry again
  11. by   CrazyPremed
    Thanks for the replies, everyone!!!

    I'm considering ER after graduation and debating which would be a better choice, extern in the ER, or get the med-surg floor experience (as an LPN), then start in the ER as a new grad. It seems - based on everyone's advice - that I should research the scope of practice of the two options and see what is the best fit. Thanks!

    Anyone else?

    CrazyPremed
  12. by   cardiacRN2006
    Quote from CrazyPremed
    Thanks for the replies, everyone!!!

    I'm considering ER after graduation and debating which would be a better choice, extern in the ER, or get the med-surg floor experience (as an LPN), then start in the ER as a new grad. It seems - based on everyone's advice - that I should research the scope of practice of the two options and see what is the best fit. Thanks!

    Anyone else?

    CrazyPremed

    Hey crazy, I just thought of another thing...When I applied at ICUs before graduation, they all had some sort of requirement of working in an ICU. The said for new grads, they would consider either an externship or final preceptorship as the experience. So the students that did not do either could not get hired directly into the ICU. I wonder if ED is the same way? So that is another vote for externship!
  13. by   meandragonbrett
    Check with the hospital that you are considering being an intern at. Where I am, I make more than the LPNs and can do physical assessments, dressing changes, and draw labs via straight stick (and do appropriate doccumentation of actions). So check and see what would be better for you. Good luck!
  14. by   nursebearfeet
    choose carefully and find out your facts. lpns at my hospital can start iv's, give push meds, do conscious sedation, dressings, caths, ect. their scope of practice is very close to the rn, and the money is decent. either way, the final stop is the same. just find out which will give you the best experience. remember, there is a social difference between the two, it may be a great experience for you to understand from the lpn's point of view. it will help you be a kinder rn, not that you wouldn't be anyway!

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