LVN......applying for CNA jobs

  1. Hello, I'm in a dilemma (aren't we all?) I graduated in March 2008 from an LVN program, passed my boards, received my license in July 2008. I thought I was so ahead of people in my class b/c before I graduated I was applying places and even got a contract job at a health/wellness company helping perform health screenings. A few months after having my license, still no luck w/ a full time nursing job. I finally gave into agency work and was hired for a few temp positions (school cases in the classroom setting). Well, now those cases are over and done w/ and nothing else has come up for me as far as an LVN job (of course I've applied numerous places, had leads, had people even refer me). Nothing.

    Sooooo, I'm at the point of applying for CNA positions. Part of me doesn't think I'll mind that type of work b/c I mainly enjoy nursing for the sole fact that I'm helping people. I know that CNA work can be tough on the body, but part of me likes the fact that it's "easier" work b/c I feel so burnt out on applying for nursing jobs and not being able to get the experience I need. I figure if I can at least get my foot in the door at a hospital/facility then I can get hired for an LVN position from w/in down the line.

    I have already contacted my BON for Ca. They couldn't really tell me what I needed to know. They referred me to the Dept. of Public Health. The CNA certification division there told me I could practice w/in the scope of a CNA if I had my LVN, and I would not need to take an exam/course, etc. They have a letter in the mail to me.

    Just curious if any of you have gone "back down" this route. I am sooo tired of searching for ONLY nursing positions and not getting anywhere over a year later. I am open to at least being able to work alongside nurses and in a healthcare setting. The alternatives at this point would be jobs out of the nursing/healthcare field just to pay the bills.

    Any constructive input is appreciated!

    Oh, and nursing is my second "career" so it's a little discouraging....maybe I'll go back to
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    Joined: Mar '08; Posts: 110; Likes: 36


  3. by   mc3
    Hmmh, I was thinking about doing the same thing, only trying for a medical assistant position. I want to work in an MD's office, and here they only seem to hire MA's. My concern is, though, what if I want to go back to (home health) - I'm afraid by doing this it wouldn't look good.....
  4. by   caliotter3
    They took our CNA certificates away from us in 1994. Since then, I have worked as a CNA using my LVN license on one occasion. If at all possible, try to do this in a hospital setting rather than a LTC facility. If you have to, you have to. But this is not something I would recommend without it being necessary. Good luck.
  5. by   treeloc
    Hello and Happy Thanksgiving,
    I'm finding that this is a major dilemna! I graduated in 2005 and without that 1 year of acute care (not being able to use my clinical time)no hospital will employ me. It is very defeating. I get soo depressed about the whole situation. I went to a community college where I had to take all sort of prereqs and actually only have 2 more classes and some bridge classes to get my RN. I started late in life and just don't have the money or drive to pull 1 more year. Times are too hard and one has to keep their job no matter how menial. I got out of school and went staight into assisted living and loved it. I would have stayed on except I relocated to the Riverside area where the pay sucks! The assisted living job payed $18 and then jumped to $22 shortly after I left. Now I am stuck doing home health as a LVN and only get $16.50. Needless to say I'm just a little POed.
    My question is why aren't the schools informing upcoming LVNs that this is the case. There are a few cases where LVNs get in the hospitals but they are few and far between. Here is where "who you know" is the case scenario. I even have a fellow classmate who worked at Kaiser as a ward clerk and then got her license and they still didn't bump her up to LVN. Go figure that. I have learned the LTC does qualify as acute care.. The fact still remains that if no one will let you in to get that 1 yr. of acute, what does one do? I have no other recourse but to climb the ladder within my company, which pays it's employees so little. I did apply to a new company out here, being a visiting nurse, paying $40 a visit, but it's per diem which isn't a steady paycheck. so now I must juggle 2 jobs. It's a pain. Teaching hospitals are a little more lenient in their hiring rules. My suggestion is (this advice was given to me by my field RN) bug the hospitals to death and let your face be seen on a regular basis. She said that is what she did when she first got her RN license. A RN had to do this, so what does that mean to us? She even said she would bake cookies and take them to the nurses stations!
    So, I hope knowing that your not the only one, makes you feel a little better. Some instuctors still work in hospitals (mine did) and I would go to them and let them try to put a good word in for you at the hospital with which they work. I can't since I'm in a totally different county. Good luck and if I come up with a great solution, I post it !
  6. by   Ilovehospice
    Is this something you really want to do or do you feel like its the only way? If it is the only way than I agree with the other nurse try for a hospital and on a neat floor as well. Have you tried any local psych facilities with children as an lvn or hospice. Sometimes you can just try the phone book and look under home health or something and maybe do that. I hope everything goes well.
  7. by   treeloc
    I"ve always wanted to work the ER. I was trained by Companion Hospice as an admission's LVN but found that it was more PR than anything else and the waiting for paperwork to be done was waaay too time consuming. Visiting hospice work would be fine but they didn't have openings for that. I do home health with peds now and the pace is waay too slow also. 1 pt. all day is not for me. I'm a really fast paced 56 yr. old and really want to be on the med/surg floor of a VA. So that's my goal at this point. I've applied to psyche facilities but you need some background in that area which i don't have. I think this whole turn of events came right about 2004. Before then you could be guaranteed to get into a SNF. LVNs had that cornered, but not anymore. Even they want 1 yr. of SNF or acute care. So, slowly but surely I am taking classes in every frickin thing. I'm IV/bloodwithdrawal certified, have my EMT1, CNA, trained in hospice, homehealth, assisted living, just no yr. in acute. Oh yea 1 yr of working in a clinic setting will open doors for you also but the office assistants/med techs have that all sewn up. So... oh well.
    Thanx for the vote of confidence though. I have a boat load of family who work at Loma Linda med ctr. Didn't want to use family but I might have to pull that card.
    Have a great Holiday!
  8. by   didi768
    Know how you all fee. I feel like just getting in to a hospital as a CNA and then once in...start digging around. It's still better pay than cashiering somewhere or woking at Walmart. I get so sick of people saying, "Oh, your a nurse...why are you working HERE then?" Awww shut up people haha
  9. by   fascinoma
    I talked to my home care client's visiting nurse about this issue - she is an LVN - I am doing LVN as a stepping stone to RN since I'm not likely to get my RN finished in under four years any other way. I'm in California, but I'm doing it because even the worst LVN job still pays better than MA jobs tend to.

    She said the best thing to do was to get as many other certifications as possible - such as phlebotomy.

    The only thing is, when I talk to working LVNs, the ones I met have been in the field for years and don't seem to be aware of what it's like for new LVNs.

    Can you work as an MA if you're an LVN, without having to go through an MA program? I'm open to this, since I want to stay in school doing pre-RN stuff after I get through my LVN program, the hours of the average doctor's office would give me plenty of time to take classes.
  10. by   didi768
    Don't think you'll have much "down" time in a clinic will you? Especially at this time of year. I wish I could try clinic, but I refuse to let my teenagers be home alone all summer. They are still young teens and I so believe these kids need their mothers at home. My husband doesn't make the best money but we live off coupons pretty much. I'm per diem in home care so it helps. Could always use more money of course.
    Maybe I'll try phlebotomy. How long is program? I need to do something different for a change!!
  11. by   pagandeva2000
    Quote from didi768
    Don't think you'll have much "down" time in a clinic will you? Especially at this time of year. I wish I could try clinic, but I refuse to let my teenagers be home alone all summer. They are still young teens and I so believe these kids need their mothers at home. My husband doesn't make the best money but we live off coupons pretty much. I'm per diem in home care so it helps. Could always use more money of course.
    Maybe I'll try phlebotomy. How long is program? I need to do something different for a change!!
    Most phlebotomy courses (at least in my area) are about 6-8 weeks in length, maybe three hours a week. Will go over very basic anatomy of the circulatory system, then, goes into the color and content of the tubes (you must know the content-such as the purple tube is used for CBC and it's preservative is EDTA if I remember correctly) as well as the order of draw (which tube do you use first when you start drawing). And, some programs have a national certifying exam (which I think you should take), similar to NCLEX...but believe me, not nearly as difficult. You should be practicing on a fake arm with an IV bag with water mixed with red dye, or some instructors have students practice on each other (not good, to me).

    I can say that knowing how to draw blood has given me many opportunities and advantages as an LPN.
  12. by   NurseCubanitaRN2b
    I'm in the same position, except I was working as a CNA while in school. I know several RN's who are working as LVN's (and one of them a CNA) because nobody is hiring at the moment. I'm working as a CNA in the float pool until I can find a LVN position. It's a sad case for us because we've all worked so hard for our education and yet we're only limited. Don't get me wrong, CNA's are very important part of the health care team, but us who are a bit more advanced should have the opportunity to use our licenses. Another sad thing is that we're held up to the standards of our licenses no matter what, but in the hospital setting we can only practice under the scope of a CNA.
  13. by   treeloc
    The only solice I get in this whole matter is that I'm not in the boat by myself. You would think with the shortage of RNs that LVNs would be the resource needed to lighten the work load of the RN. It's the patients that suffers when this happens. We could make such a drastic difference in this dilemna if hospitals and SNFs would hire us and give us the "on the job training" needed so that the pt. to nurse ratio would be more workable.
    I read a posting where a LVN wanted to get this issue addressed by simply writing a letter and having those of us that agree, sign it and send it to the board. I think something like this might work if we had RNs and LVNs alike, complain. There were preceptor programs before and they need to be used again. If I were a RN I would have no problem having a LVN work along side of me until that person could wing it alone. What do you think?
  14. by   fascinoma
    Phlebotomy isn't a hard program, I did it before I was even thinking of getting into nursing. I did a two week fast track program (so I could be done with it by the time that school started back up in the fall), then did a one week externship at a hospital.

    It just takes a while (up to a year!) to actually get licensed in California, and may be hard to get that first job in. Try to work with a school that actually has job placement of some kind.

    In the Bay Area, many phlebotomists make around $18 an hour. I knew a medical assistant (she was *my* usual phlebotomist, when I went for my blood draws) that got into phlebotomy because she already was licensed and had the training, but she didn't want to do medical assisting.

    I am going to be taking LVN as a stepping stone to RN, and I'm keeping my weekend home care job while I do this so that I will not have an issue with being jobless until the LVN job comes along.

    I plan to retake phlebotomy and renew my EMT license/get my ambulance certification. At least even if I can't get work *as an Lvn* I will still be working. Another possibility is working for insurance companies as a paramedical examiner but I don't know if this is a scam or not.

    Maybe it's easier thinking about this because I think of the LVN as "pre-RN coursework".