How is the transition from CNA to LPN?

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    I have recently graduated a CNA program in Lakeland- FL and last week took my State Board Exam, to which I passed. I went to a local nursing home to apply for a job, and already had a drug test done right there. They are working on my background check now, while I'm waiting for my certificate to show in the mail (11 business days after my exam). I will be going to the orientation on Jan. 17-18, and I am very eager to start! They seem very nice there, happy faces, very tidy and clean environment. That really impressed and encouraged me! Well I am thinking of taking the LPN course next yr at the local Votech. Classes start in July. I must still take my TABE and the registration to the LPN course is at the end of Jan 08. So I have to have everything ready for it. I have 4 questions: 1st one is - I read that there is a federal law that the nursing homes have to pay you back for your CNA tuition and State board fee, is that true? 2nd question - I am planning on continue working as a CNA on that same nursing home after I start my LPN course, but I imagine I will have to work part time because of the school hours/ study schedule, etc. Do most nursing homes pay for your LPN course if you sign a work contract with them? 3rd question - What is the difference in pay between CNA and LPN? 4th question - how is the transition from CNA to LPN, in terms of study (obviously LPN is longer and more details, etc) and job stress level? Thank you so much for reading my post. I am new in the healthcare sector, and I do not know what to expect!!!
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    Welcome and congratulations on finishing your CNA course. I don't know of any laws in my state requiring nursing homes to pay back the CNA for their costs. Many here do offer to pay for their employees to get their CNA or GNA but you would have had to arrange that up front. I'd check with your employer after you get settled in because many will offer tuition reimbursement if you decide to pursue nursing school. Most of the gals in my class that were CNAs worked a lot of hours on the weekends while in LPN school. I wasn't a CNA so I don't know anything about how hard that course is compared to the LPN program but I'm sure someone else will write in that knows the answer. Good luck!
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    1. Not sure, never heard of that.
    2. Yes most LPN programs are very intense because so much info is packed into such a small time frame. It is probably best not to work very much while you're in school. However being a CNA you have lots of flexibility in your scheduling, so you could probably stay PT or PRN.
    3. As a CNA in a nursing home I started at $8.50/hr a few years ago, making about $1200/mo working FT, and then about $500/mo working PT. My starting pay as a new LPN in a nursing home was $18.25/hr, making over $3000/mo. It was a huge difference for me.
    4. CNA prepares you do very basic tasks without too much critical thinking. Being a CNA helped by preparing me to deal with the undesirable nursing tasks and also helped me in dealing and talking with patients. Other than that, it was in no way anything near the LPN program. This is probably something you won't be able to realize until you are a nursing student or nurse. Both are stressful, but being a nurse you bear that great responsibility because you are licensed, which is a even greater stress.
    Congratulations and welcome to nursing! CNA is one tough job!
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    hi there! First off, let me say congratulations on passing you CNA test!

    1. I don't know if it's a law, but I've heard that if you take your CNA test and pass it, that the nursing home (or agency that you are applying to work 4 reimemburses you.
    2) yes, most agencies that hire you will pay for the LPN program. You have to sign a contract saying hat you will work for them a certain # of yrs and then you'll pay back the money when you gradaute. In my opinion, if you plan to work as a CNA while doing the LPN program the you should go for it as CNA's schedules are very flexible and that you're not held legally accountable for the tasks that you do.
    3. I don't know the differnce in pay for CNA and LPN.
    4. In terms of study being a CNA is physically hard. You have to learn how to perform basic care and what to report. You are not held legally responsibile (notice I said legally becuase it's the LPN'S and RN's whom are legally in charge). As in LPN, your role is physically and mentally hard and it invovles learning more complex information such as why something happens and what can you do to treat or prevent it. You also have to know sterile procedures, passing out meds, peds care, geriatric care, glucose testing, monitoring IV's, gving injections, assessing for abnormal sounds, documentation, and much much more. Being an LPN is very complex and you have to be able to think critically. You are not only responsible for you're actions but the actions of those below you as well.
    I really hope this helps. And Good luck in nursing!
    TLWSTNANOH likes this.
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    I don't know of any nursing homes that will reimbuse you for obtaining your CNA, unless you were already working for them in another position prior to this one; and even that is not a guarentee that I am aware of. Many states work differently, so, I am only speaking for mine (New York). I do know that most times, they pay to recertify you every two or so years.

    The same goes for attending school to become an LPN (again, I am speaking for my area of the world). Most times, they have special funds that will have tuition reimbursement, or may pay for the tuition to become an LPN, but this is not for everyone. Most people have to work at that place for at least a year or more and have a good record (such as no call ins or an excellent evaluation). To be honest, most times, it depends on who you know; who is advocating for you.

    The difference in pay again, depends on where you are working. You might look up the salaries for CNAs and LPNs where you will be working, or there are websites that provide statistics regarding salaries for different employees within your state. I get about $250 more a pay period than the CNAs at my hospital (we get paid bi-weekly).

    I did experience a bit of role confusion when I transitioned from a tech to an LPN, because now, I have to respond when an aide comes to say something to me about a patient. I cannot brush it off anymore, I have to be prepared to give answers and act. I still report to an RN, though, but because I have a license of my own, I have to bear in mind that I have to always act as a 'prudent nurse' would. Now, I began to see why nurses would become impatient or upset if I didn't do something on time. I have been an LPN for a year and a half, now, and there are still times that I have to wake myself up and say "I AM a nurse, now". You get used to it, though. And, while you are working and going to school, you will begin to see how important the role of the CNA really is because we can't do everything. Good luck and congratulations on your first step to nursing!
    Serendipity, PCT likes this.
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    I read that there is a federal law that the nursing homes have to pay you back for your CNA tuition and State board fee, is that true?
    I have never heard of such a law.
    2nd question - I am planning on continue working as a CNA on that same nursing home after I start my LPN course, but I imagine I will have to work part time because of the school hours/ study schedule, etc. Do most nursing homes pay for your LPN course if you sign a work contract with them?
    Some corporate-owned nursing homes might offer a small amount of tuition reimbursement toward an LPN program. For example, I work at a large nursing home that offers $1,000 per year in tuition reimbursement if you'll agree to work for them for at least 1 year as an LPN. I have not known for any of the smaller "Mom & Pops" style nursing homes to offer tuition reimbursement.
    3rd question - What is the difference in pay between CNA and LPN?
    I work in DFW, Texas. At my facility, CNAs start at $9.00 per hour, and LPNs start at $18.00 hourly. Since I work at one of the lower-paying facilities in the area, the pay gap is wider in other regions.
    4th question - how is the transition from CNA to LPN, in terms of study (obviously LPN is longer and more details, etc) and job stress level?
    The CNA program and job description are more task-oriented. The focus is on getting the tasks completed safely, effectively, and properly. The LPN program involves a mixture of task orientation with educational theory. CNA school teaches you skills, whereas the LPN program focuses on the theory behind many basic nursing skills.

    For example, you'll learn to elevate the head of the bed in a CNA program without any rationale for doing it. In an LPN program, you'll learn that an elevated head of bed facilitates ease of breathing, helps minimize the risk of aspiration, and aides in lung expansion.
    magichospital likes this.
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    Quote from Bluemoon576
    job stress level?
    Oops! I forgot to mention the job stress level of the 2 positions.

    My life as an aide was very low-stress. I focused on showers, feedings, changing diapers, toileting, dressing people, and ensuring they looked clean and stayed safe while I was in the facility. I almost always left work on time, and my charting was minimal. As an aide, I was task-oriented.

    My life as an LVN is filled with stress due to the added responsibility. If an aide fails to do something or report a change in condition that results in a patient death, my license might be on the line, because I am legally responsible for what they do (or fail to do). My shift ended at 10pm last night, but I stuck around until 12:30 completing a mountain of paperwork. I can choose to neglect my charting, but it might bite me in the butt later on if a patient's family decides to sue.

    Family members always complain to the licensed nurse on duty, and I have to be the one to appease them. Some doctors are snippy because they feel superior to nurses as the result of their educational attainment. Some patients and visitors are very abusive and demanding toward nursing staff. Other fellow nurses can be very unpleasant, too. All of these things contribute to a massive stress level.
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    there isn't such a law. they don't have to reimburse you for anything. They might decide to pay for your nursing school, you'd have to sign a contract with them , probably. before you do, make sure you ask what the conditions are. make sure you ask if they pay for your school before you start working for them. i always asked upfront, at the interview, so i'd know where i stand. they might tell you they'll pay for your school, you start working for them and then when the time comes, you discover the conditions aren't that great. that's what happened to me. the very same people that told me yea, we have tuition assistance, told me later on i wouldn't do it if i were you. so i ended up paying out of my own pocket.
    the money is nice (for me i was making only 2.65 more than a CNA!), nicer is the change from doing a lot of physical work to starting using your brain again! the responsibility that came with it scared me at the beginning, i'm getting better though, have more self-confidence. and try to play by the rules, no matter what, and you'll be out of trouble.
    the transition from the CNA to LPN was difficult in another way: i wasn't a CNA anymore, the CNA's attitude was: she thinks she's better than me, the nurses attitude wasn't very nice all the time, either: she thinks she's smart enough?? i found out very fast who my real friends were and got hurt in the process, too...didn't know people can get sooo mean. got into a few fights, time went by, stood my grounds and after a few months of hell, things got better and better and better.
    good luck to you. DO go back to school!
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    "nicer is the change from doing a lot of physical work to starting using your brain again"!

    Dessyrell,
    How dare you insinuate that CNA's don't use their brains. We may not have the education that an LPN or RN does but we do have brains. We also have compassion, something that most RN's lose once they become an RN. Numerous times I have considered schooling for LPN/RN and changed my mind because I love who I am when I am around the elderly population. My patients enjoy my company, my love and my compassion toward them. I consider them my family. Most times after I put in my day, I sit and read a book for a resident or simply sit and have a conversation with a resident. I work full time for a very large nursing care facility in PA, I get paid very well for what I do ($14 per hour w/full benefits, 401k, employer contribution retirement plan, etc), I am 46 yrs old and my family is grown and away at college. I am very happy and fulfilled being a C.N.A; the residents look forward to seeing me every single day. The work is hard but very fulfilling. My C.N.A schooling was paid for where I was accepted and I was paid to go to school ($9 per hour).
    Please if you are out there considering becoming a C.N.A and you are a loving, compassionate, hard working individual that thinks quick on your feet, then go for it. It is a very rewarding career. The healthcare industry needs more of us, we are the people the residents depend on everyday, that certain smiling face. C.N.A's do use their brains and don't let anyone tell you that they don't.
    **I realize this post is long after Dessyrell's post but I had to reply to his/her harsh comment**
    Last edit by PACNA on Apr 15, '10
    aalsina, Aspiretobe, and futurernjap like this.
  12. 0
    Quote from PACNA
    **I realize this post is long after Dessyrell's post but I had to reply to his/her harsh comment**
    Keep in mind that Dessyrell's post was written in January 2008, which was more than 2 years ago. Is it really worth it to get emotionally riled up over an old comment that most of the people on this forum have completely forgotten about? It is all about wisely picking our battles.

    Please pay careful attention to the dates of the posts and discussions when conducting searches.


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