contemplating going LVN/LPN

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    So to start off, I'm in the United States Army Reserves and reside in Sacramento, CA. I wanted something to get my foot in the door to medical and the only thing they had to offer was Ophthalmic tech/ Optician. Needless to say, these jobs are rare to land even with experience and everything they require.
    Before I joined, I wanted to become a Rn and possibly obtain a BSN, but could not afford to go to school without getting into outrageous debt. Now that I'm in the military, they pay for almost all of my schooling for 3 years and a $40K student loan repayment incentive.
    Two of the schools I'm looking at (Kaplan College and Carrington College) both have LVN programs. Kaplan is only a 12 month program with a tuition of $31K (I only come out of pocket about $3K). They are also military friendly, which in my case as a ophthalmic tech, I do quite a bit of humanitarian missions so them letting me pick up where I left off is a BIG plus. Carrington on the other hand is a 18 month program, which will cost me more from my military benefits and more out of pocket in the long run, they aren't as military friendly as Kaplan, but they have the LVN to RN program.
    Now to my questions. Do most hospitals or convalescent homes look at how long the program is at that school and in some way stereotype against tech schools or the duration of the programs? And my other question is do hospitals look at military experience? Giving quality eye care to about 100 patients a day in the poorest Providences in Panama is no easy task so we can perform under pressure. lol

    Any input you may have, please leave feedback. I would greatly appreciate it.
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  3. 18 Comments so far...

  4. 1
    I personally would go for what I love. I would look and see who could make me the best at what I wanted. So I would look at nclex success scores, percentage of people that make it through based on the exact school.

    Not sure how many scholarships you will get, but if it is a one time deal I would just go for the RN.

    There are many schools, just make sure it is certified so the military would take it. I personally would go for a school that has a higher rating, tutoring, and students that are successfully find positions. I would pay the extra amount if need be to get the right education.

    Great job on getting your education paid for.
    Kevin_USAR likes this.
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    I've looked everywhere in my area for just a straight RN program without having to bridge from an LVN first and found nothing. The NCLEX scores are both good so far this year. Kaplan had 8 students take it and had a 98% and Carrington had 23 students take it and had a 93% pass rate and both are accredited. I have friends in the military currently in Kaplan's Medical Assistant program and looked online to make sure they were both certified for military personnel.

    As far as tutoring goes, neither of them have them, but the smaller class makes it easier for me to learn (I'm the type of student that HATES asking questions in a class).

    I can't find any information about the employment after the program. Do you know of any websites that could go into detail on that? The schools' website only shows the passing percentage of the NCLEX Exams.

    I only had to raise my right hand and take an oath under the constitution of the United States to get these benefits courage to join while at war.

    Thank you for your input!
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    I would look into additional schools, and even into driving or moving to get to a great school.

    You may have limited finances, so use the money wisely. I would consider a state school instead of private where you "may" get financial aid also, and you would have enough money to finish your BSN. Also, be sure and get one where you get plenty of hands on, and were they have nursing skills area, and simulation areas where you can practice outside of class. A great tutoring center that actually assists would be great too. The interaction is essential in nursing.

    The lvn/lpn route to BSN is a great one, but you don't want to use all of your money on the lvn/lpn and then not be able to continue to the BSN.
    Last edit by swansonplace on Jul 22, '13 : Reason: .
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    Hi Kevin,
    First of all, thank you for your service to our country! I reside in Placer County, just north of Sacramento and am a clinical nursing instructor. I would encourage you to eventually obtain a BSN degree. A lot of hospitals are preferring to hire BSN degree nurses as they are striving to attain Magnet Status, which is a program that recognizes excellence in nursing through improved patient outcomes and patient satisfaction. I encourage you to do a web search to learn more about this program.

    There are several ADN programs in the Sacramento area that are competitive as far as admission to their programs. You don't mention whether you have completed any of the prerequisite courses that most of these programs require, such as Anatomy & Physiology, Chemistry, Developmental Psychology, Nutrition, etc. I would encourage you to make an appointment to go and speak with an advisor (no charge for this!) at Sacramento City College to learn more about their program and whether they have an articulation agreement with Sacramento State University to continue on for your BSN degree. In addition to good grades, many of the programs also look at whether you have any previous healthcare experience. I wish you the best in your journey to becoming an RN!
  8. 0
    Quote from Kevin_USAR
    I can't find any information about the employment after the program. Do you know of any websites that could go into detail on that? The schools' website only shows the passing percentage of the NCLEX Exams.
    Overall, the unemployment rate for new grad nurses in the state of California is 43 percent.
  9. 0
    Quote from swansonplace
    I would look into additional schools, and even into driving or moving to get to a great school.

    You may have limited finances, so use the money wisely. I would consider a state school instead of private where you "may" get financial aid also, and you would have enough money to finish your BSN. Also, be sure and get one where you get plenty of hands on, and were they have nursing skills area, and simulation areas where you can practice outside of class. A great tutoring center that actually assists would be great too. The interaction is essential in nursing.

    The lvn/lpn route to BSN is a great one, but you don't want to use all of your money on the lvn/lpn and then not be able to continue to the BSN.
    I would consider moving, but my only income would be from the cost of living in that area the school is located so it would be hard for me to pay for all my bills and rent.

    State schools here are a joke. It's all lottery based so to even get into the program may take a few years. for instance, my friend has been in the lottery for the x-ray tech programs ( at 2 different colleges) for about 3 years now. That is the main reason why I am choosing a private school.

    I would be using all my GI Bill benefits doing this, but in my contract, I get a $40K student loan repayment so if I have to take any student loans to obtain my BSN, they would cover that much and I would come out of pocket the rest.
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    I like state schools for the following reasons:
    1. Get more education and a higher degree for the money
    2. You have enough money to complete the plan
    3. You will see the professor live
    4. When you finish, the school name will be more recognized
    5. You will make more money over the life of the investment vs. a private school with less education.
    6. Take a look at the income difference between a medical assistant and BSN. The BSN is a better financial investment given your education is paid for.

    I understand the down side of having to move, and not liking the one around you. So go to a different one. or take part of your prereqs online at a state school (being sure the GI bill pays for it) and complete last part where ever you need to go.
    Last edit by swansonplace on Jul 27, '13 : Reason: .
  11. 0
    Quote from Dona58Lisa
    Hi Kevin,
    First of all, thank you for your service to our country! I reside in Placer County, just north of Sacramento and am a clinical nursing instructor. I would encourage you to eventually obtain a BSN degree. A lot of hospitals are preferring to hire BSN degree nurses as they are striving to attain Magnet Status, which is a program that recognizes excellence in nursing through improved patient outcomes and patient satisfaction. I encourage you to do a web search to learn more about this program.

    There are several ADN programs in the Sacramento area that are competitive as far as admission to their programs. You don't mention whether you have completed any of the prerequisite courses that most of these programs require, such as Anatomy & Physiology, Chemistry, Developmental Psychology, Nutrition, etc. I would encourage you to make an appointment to go and speak with an advisor (no charge for this!) at Sacramento City College to learn more about their program and whether they have an articulation agreement with Sacramento State University to continue on for your BSN degree. In addition to good grades, many of the programs also look at whether you have any previous healthcare experience. I wish you the best in your journey to becoming an RN!
    Thank you for the support! I recently went to Panama for a humanitarian mission and we had an officer that has her BSN and that's why I would want to obtain that as well. She is a BSN on the civilian side at a hospital in Ohio and she said that having that status there is like gold.

    I apologize for not listing the courses I have. I have anatomy & Physiology, medical terminology, and few more but I don't have my military transcript handy at this moment. I actually spoke to an advisor at Kaplan College a couple weeks ago and they are an accredited school and the credits will transfer wherever I plan to take them. they also have a bridge program as well from LVN to RN and Sac State has a RN to BSN program.

    thank you for your response!
  12. 0
    Quote from swansonplace
    I would really look at the schools, and the amount of money you have. I would go out of state if need be. The GI Bill, and maybe financial aid should help a lot. This is your chance to have the career and life you want. So make the investment in yourself and your education.

    If need be, look into taking your first two years online at a state school. It must be accredited in a certain manner for the GI bill to pay, but look into it. Then for your last two years you move.

    Congrats on making the commitment to join the military. Just be sure and used it wisely as you can really make great life choices and career choices with your education paid off.
    The school I went to recently broke it all down for me financially without the GI bill taking place. the tuition for the LVN program is 31K initially, but with grants and military discount, it comes down to 8K. I'm waiting for a response to my application for the Post 9/11 GI Bill to see if I was approved (which I should be). I would be obtaining 50% of the 8K paid for my the lovely Uncle Sam and payments on the rest.

    thank you. I didn't really join for all the education benefits. I honestly didn't know they had all these programs for education when I joined. I sure glad they have them though!


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