Parkland College in C-U, IL

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    Has anyone taken an LPN course? I am going to become a CNA and then enter the LPN program at Parkland College in c-u, IL. I would like to know what to expect as the course content and what to look out for?
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  5. 1
    I am in the RN program at Parkland, and a co-worker is in the LPN program. She's stressing out. It's a new program with a new instructor, so...expect some bumps. Sorry I can't be more positive, but that's all I know.
    jv-thompson likes this.
  6. 0
    Go for your RN. It's not that bad. And, many more advancement options.
  7. 1
    Yes, the LPN program is relative new (started in Jan 2008, I think), but it has some advantages over the RN program.

    o You get a full 3-semester hour pharmacy course, not just 1-semester hour in the RN program.
    o It is a much smaller program than RN, so you get MUCH more support from faculty.
    o It's really a 3 or 4 semester program including "co-requsites" which are really prerequisites, because you'll flounder in either program if you try to take them while you're taking the nursing courses. The RN program is really about 7-9 semesters. The LPN program is officially 2 semesters and the RN program officially 4. HA!
    (SO WHY NOT JUST GET A BSN, you ask? Two reasons: 1) you can do community college part time in a shorter time than you can do a 4-year program part time and 2) where do you think you get a better full-time education as a nurse, 4 years in a 4-year school with lots of other requirements for graduation, or 3-4 years in a 2-year school with few other requirements?
    o You don't have to take the useless "assessment" course that's required in the RN program. You learn the REAL stuff in clinicals in the LPN program.
    o You enter the LPN program at a higher level (CNA certification is required for LPN, but not RN) so teaching is generally much more advanced. Almost all LPN students are currently working in the field.
    o LPNs can get jobs in doctor's offices if they want, but not hospitals, so they work 8 hrs/day, days only, not 12-hour days with possible on-call and rotation as in hospitals.
    o Easy entrance into the "2nd year of nursing education" to upgrade to a RN in only 2 semesters at many colleges and universities (not at Parkland, though).
    o You have to pass the final exam in each course (75% or better) in the LPN program, but you DON'T have to pass the final exam in ANY course in the RN program if your weekly quiz scores are high enough. So if you can cram for short tests each week but then forget what you just studied, the RN program is for you. They do require a "passing" grade on industry-standard tests at the end of courses, but what is "passing" is pretty slippery. Retake the test until you pass, I think. OK, WHY IS THIS AN ADVANTAGE OF LPN over RN PROGRAM? (Hint: which nurse would you like taking care of YOU).
    o The LPN program is less selective (as of this writing) than the RN program, so it's easier to get in.
    o You don't have to take a SAT/ACT-type exam, the TEAS, to get into the LPN program like you do the RN program. You'll have to show math and English competency to enter either program -- by testing or by taking a course.
    o Pass pharmacology in your first semester of the LPN program, and the faculty will support you (but you'll WORK for it!) the rest of the way through. Failure in the RN program is a constant threat.
    o Currently all LPN students who pass pharm are graduating on time. The RN program has the same attrition as most other RN programs: only about half each entering class graduates on time.

    Disadvantages:
    LPNs have less prestige, but the only thing they REALLY can't do that an RN can, is push IV meds. BUT if you don't plan to work as a floor nurse in an acute care hospital, you won't be doing that anyway.
    No hospital jobs in C-U for LPNs, only jobs in doc's offices or long term care.
    There are generally LOTS more jobs for RNs than LPNs.
    Pay might be $1/hr less than RN pay.
    If you want to go on and get an RN at Parkland, it'll cost you another semester of part time study (offered Spring semester only as of this writing) plus a year of full time study. Lots of other schools offer a better deal.

    Of course, these advantages/disadvantages apply only to Parkland College in Champaign. It may (probably is) different at other schools.
    meg2304 likes this.
  8. 0
    Well said!
  9. 1
    I actually disagree with most of what ImmerStudent says. It's inaccurate.

    With the co-requisites the RN program is 4-6 semesters, and no you will not die if you do it in 4-BECAUSE THAT'S ME.

    Also, the RN staff are very supportive and helpful. Class size is 30-38 per semester, but labs and clinicals have 8-10 students. A good number.

    The "useless" assessment for the RN program is to weed out slackers who think they can handle RN school. It's not a tough program, it's work. It just means parkland doesn't have to sort through 100,000 apps.

    Yes LPN's work in offices, and RN's work in hospitals. RN's care for acute patients, LPN's generally don't. RN's make more money and have more independence. LPN's cannot do a legal head to toe assessment. They cannot manage inpatient care without an RN. LPN's are becoming an thing of the past, being relegated to nursing home. Cutting edge clinics have a mix of RN's and MOAs/techs.

    "easy upgrade" to RN? I sure hope not. There's a big difference in level of practice and knowledge base. You must work and earn it the same way every RN does. Bridging to RN something I would recommend to every LPN, but don't expect to dance right through it.

    This nonsense about not having to pass the finals in the RN program? Not the case. It's much more demanding than the LPN program and you must pass every final, in addition to maintaining high grades on quizzes.

    Yes, failure can be a possibility in the RN program. That's because there is a higher standard for RN's. We must be competent and knowledgeable on a lot more pathophysiology and care than an LPN.

    RN jobs are growing at a faster rate than LPN jobs. There's a reason.
    mandajeanice likes this.
  10. 1
    You don't have to take the useless "assessment" course that's required in the RN program. You learn the REAL stuff in clinicals in the LPN program.

    We don't learn the "real" stuff in clinicals? Last time I looked, I perform assessments on real, breathing human patients in clinical. And I learned my skills in that "useless" assessment course. Guess it wasn't all that useless after all.

    You have to pass the final exam in each course (75% or better) in the LPN program, but you DON'T have to pass the final exam in ANY course in the RN program if your weekly quiz scores are high enough. So if you can cram for short tests each week but then forget what you just studied, the RN program is for you. They do require a "passing" grade on industry-standard tests at the end of courses, but what is "passing" is pretty slippery. Retake the test until you pass, I think. OK, WHY IS THIS AN ADVANTAGE OF LPN over RN PROGRAM? (Hint: which nurse would you like taking care of YOU).

    If we weren't required to pass finals, no one would bother studying for them. Typically the points are weighted heavily enough that if you fail the exam, you don't pass the course. Your argument that the RN students don't retain what they learn is bunk; if they didn't have to retain it, no one would pass the NCLEX.

    Currently all LPN students who pass pharm are graduating on time. The RN program has the same attrition as most other RN programs: only about half each entering class graduates on time.

    Well we had better hurry up and lose half of our class. I am getting ready to enter the last semester, and we have only lost one student because of poor academic and clinical performance. The last I heard he was planning on applying to the LPN program (no kidding.) The only other students we have lost so far have been lost due to personal issues, not academic failure. We have only lost about 5, I think, and all but one have simply dropped to part time status so they aren't with us, but they are still in the program.

    Pay might be $1/hr less than RN pay.

    My husband makes about $24 an hour as an RN at a local hospital, and he graduated in 2008. You're telling me that LPNs make $23 an hour? I had no idea.

    It seems you know a great deal about both programs. Have you attended both? Your tone conveys a sense of bitterness.
    mshaw23 likes this.
  11. 0
    I was also considering going the LPN route through Parkland. I ended up applying to the nursing program and was accepted (currently third semester). I would recommend going for the RN. There are so many more opportunities as a Registered Nurse. The LPN-RN bridge (which is what I was aiming for after completing the LPN program) is tricky to get into, so I hear. The program is fairly new and has several bumps. One of the first semester nursing instructors told me that Parkland was looking into getting rid of the LPN program again. (They had gotten rid of it in the past and brought it back a couple of years ago.) The whole "Healthcare Reform" thing is also something to consider. I read an article that stated LPN's won't be used in the future, and nurses could be required to have a BSN to practice, as opposed to an ADN. Of course, that could always change again, but it is something to think about. I took my biology classes with several LPN students, and they were not pleased with the way the LPN program was conducted. Good luck to you in whatever you decide to do!


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