I have committed to a career in nursing...now I just have to decide what path way I'm going to take to reach my end goal. I am 26 years old, married and have two wonderful children, one of which is under the age of one. I would get decent financial aide and I have a supportive husband (he is going back to school full time to get his Masters). I'm just trying to work out if I should take it in stages so that I can work along the way or attempt to get my BSN right off the bat. I know the BS takes four years and you don't get your LPN along the way to help with the bills. I'm so lost at what to do. Part of me wants to get my BSN that way I don't have to go back (unless I want to go for NP or something). But with the bridge method I can work along the way and make money as well as attend school. Argh....anyone have any thoughts or experience?? Thank you!!
May 25, '12
If you're final goal is to be an RN, I would recommend going for either your BSN or entering a two year ADN program.
The biggest deciding factor should be the area that you live in. Specifically, what is the job market like for ADN graduates? Are hospitals in your area hiring nurses with associate degrees? How long is it taking new graduate nurses to find a job?
An ADN degree will allow you to sit for NCLEX and obtain your RN in about two years of study. However, in some areas, it's very, very difficult for ADN nurses to get a job in the acute care setting. If this is the case in your area, then I'd suggest going for your BSN. While this route will take longer, you'll ultimately reach your final goal just as quickly as you would following another pathway. There were several students in my BSN programs who had families and worked while attending school. It's definitely doable. You can work as a CNA or in another career field while attending school as well- although being in the healthcare field will help you get a job when you graduate.
Another thing to keep in mind is that some of these bridge programs are very rigorous. They pack a lot of classes into a short period of time. Many programs recommend that you don't work at all due to the workload. So it wouldn't be helpful to you to get your LPN first, and then find you can't fit in time to work during the LPN-RN bridge program.
There's lots of options to consider here. Ultimately, you have to do what's best for you and your family. Good luck!
May 25, '12
You know the old saying . . .The shortest distance between two points is a straight line.
The 'straight line' would be the generic BSN program. The 'stair-step' path, on the other hand, would be the LPN to associates to BSN, and typically takes longer to get to the end result.
I stair-stepped because I did not have the supportive cast that you have. If I did not have to stair-step, I would have had a BSN in four years. However, I earned an LVN license and an RN license (associates) in 5 years due to working full time during those years. I still do not have a BSN.
Since you have the supportive husband, I would pursue the straight line by directly pursuing your BSN degree.
May 28, '12
I guess my question to you is "Do you NEED to work or do you just WANT to work while you're going to school?" If it is the latter I would go right for your BSN. Trust me, as someone who got a diploma in nursing 17 years ago and just finished 4 years of online college to get my BSN, I wish I would have continued on right away after I graduated nursing school. Unfortunately, I NEEDED to work.
May 29, '12
BSN = 4 years. LPN+RN+ BSN = 1 + 2 + 2 = 5 years with a chance of settling or burning out.
May 29, '12
I looked into doing LPN first and then going on to do the RN, but I found it was a complete waste of time. Yes it is only a 1 year program, but where I am going, the RN is a 2-year program, and if you are a LPN, it just saves you from having to take the first semester of nursing classes. So if your end goal is to be an RN, I would just go for the RN. Also, a lot of people say after they become an LPN they are going to continue on to do the RN, but never do. I have 2 friends who went to school to be an LPN, and they both said they were going to continue on to become an RN. Well it has been about 3 years and they have both made to attempt to continue on with their education. They are still LPNs.
May 29, '12
I am in agreement with the previous posters. The step method can look enticing, but it has challenges that make it not really as attractive as it may first appear. Sometimes, it's best to simply bite the bullet and get it done.
2 other things to consider:
1. Would you be happy with the types of jobs you could get in your community with an LPN? or ADN? The job market for new grads from those programs is pretty limited in some areas of the country. Find out what it is like in your area before assuming you would be able to get a good job. Also, would you be able to get jobs with enough flexibility to allow you to go back to school? As a previous poster said, bridge programs can be tough -- and job schedules can sometimes be inflexible. Would it really work the way you envision/hope it would? The step method works for some people, but not for everyone.
2. If you really want/need to work while getting your BSN, you don't need and LPN or ADN to do that. Become a CNA (very short program) and work as a nursing assistant. It won't pay as well, but it won't cost as much to get.
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