Confused...should I become an LPN first?

  1. 1
    Hi everyone! Im new on here and I'd like to thank everyone in advance for their responses. I've spent hours upon hours reading disscussions on here and I'm very grateful that this site exists.

    Here's my dilemma...

    I already have my bachelor's in something unrelated to nursing and I want to go back to school to become either a nurse or a physicians assistant. I'd like to get some experience in the medical field fairly quick and I'm not sure if I should become an LPN first. I have to take pretty much the same prereqs to get into either the RN or PA program and I have lots to take before I can apply to either program. I was thinking that I could go to LPN school, continue to take my prereqs, get a job in the field, then decide if I want to become an RN or PA and go from there. Is this wise to do? Please help!

    Thank you everyone!

    sunflower777 likes this.
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  3. 18 Comments so far...

  4. 4
    Quote from terra105
    Hi everyone! Im new on here and I'd like to thank everyone in advance for their responses. I've spent hours upon hours reading disscussions on here and I'm very grateful that this site exists.

    Here's my dilemma...

    I already have my bachelor's in something unrelated to nursing and I want to go back to school to become either a nurse or a physicians assistant. I'd like to get some experience in the medical field fairly quick and I'm not sure if I should become an LPN first. I have to take pretty much the same prereqs to get into either the RN or PA program and I have lots to take before I can apply to either program. I was thinking that I could go to LPN school, continue to take my prereqs, get a job in the field, then decide if I want to become an RN or PA and go from there. Is this wise to do? Please help!

    Thank you everyone!


    Well that is what I did. I have my BA in Political Science. At first I decided to return to school to get my BSN. I took all my pre-req's and applied to nursing school, but was put on a waiting list. I was very disappointed. A week later I found out about a new LPN program that was starting in my hometown. I really didn't want to go that route but I figured it would get me to my goal faster than sitting around and waiting to re-apply to the RN program.
    So I applied and got in :-) A week into the LPN program I got a call from the RN program saying that they had several students drop out and I was offered a spot. They told me to think about it until 4pm that day and after that they were calling the next person on the list. I was excited that I got in but the more I thought about it, I didn't want to wait that long to be a nurse. I could be an LPN in 1 year, but wouldn't be an RN for 2 1/2 more years. I also didn't think I could wait that long to get a job becuase I was running low on money. So I turned it down.

    The LPN program was a grueling, 5 day a week program and it was tough. It was not unusual to go over several chapters one day and have the test on them the next day. I really had to make time to study, some people in my class didn't make it. It required a 80 average in every subject or you fail. It was 3 semesters. The last 2 semesters we were in clinicals 3 days a week and in the classroom 2 days. An LPN program is 75% clinicals and 25% theory, but an RN program is 75% theory and 25% clinicals. So an LPN program will give you a lot of clinical experience, which was very good for me becuase I have bad anxiety and get really nervous in situations where I am performing and being watched. So all the clinical experience has lessened my anxiety and I no longer have to take a pill to calm me down when going into new clinical/work situations. All the experience gave me confidence.

    I just graduated my LPN program in Dec 2010 and passed the NCLEX-PN. I am on the job search and have already applied to a LPN-RN program that starts this summer. If you go through an LPN program then you will definatly know with out a doubt wether or not you want to be an RN, but remember LPN programs are tough and require a lot of your time and energy. I have had several RN's tell me that they don't think they could have done an LPN program. It's because you don't have the time to study and prepare for things like you do in an RN program. I am not saying that LPN is harder. I guess the hard thing is not having much time to do things.

    Good luck to you! I am sure you will make the right decision for you :-)
    itsmeberly, windmill182, DogWmn, and 1 other like this.
  5. 0
    Have you looked into the accelerated BSN programs? Sure there are prereqs, but they are neccessary building blocks you have to know. I am not sure where the previous poster got that RN programs are 75% theory and 25% clinicals. That is not true. You will spend more hours in clinicals working towards your RN than in a class setting. I have my BSN and the nursing program itself was 2 years long. Classroom time was 2 days a week and clinicals were 3 days a week. The good thing about the RN program is that once you have one semester of clinicals under your belt, you can get a job at a hospital as an extern.
  6. 0
    Quote from terra105
    Hi everyone! Im new on here and I'd like to thank everyone in advance for their responses. I've spent hours upon hours reading disscussions on here and I'm very grateful that this site exists.

    Here's my dilemma...

    I already have my bachelor's in something unrelated to nursing and I want to go back to school to become either a nurse or a physicians assistant. I'd like to get some experience in the medical field fairly quick and I'm not sure if I should become an LPN first. I have to take pretty much the same prereqs to get into either the RN or PA program and I have lots to take before I can apply to either program. I was thinking that I could go to LPN school, continue to take my prereqs, get a job in the field, then decide if I want to become an RN or PA and go from there. Is this wise to do? Please help!

    Thank you everyone!

    LPN school will not really help you at all in what you want to do. I would suggest just focusing on college and getting the best grades that you can. LPN school will not be a help in deciding on a RN or PA route.
  7. 0
    Quote from TheMrsRN
    Have you looked into the accelerated BSN programs? Sure there are prereqs, but they are neccessary building blocks you have to know. I am not sure where the previous poster got that RN programs are 75% theory and 25% clinicals. That is not true. You will spend more hours in clinicals working towards your RN than in a class setting. I have my BSN and the nursing program itself was 2 years long. Classroom time was 2 days a week and clinicals were 3 days a week. The good thing about the RN program is that once you have one semester of clinicals under your belt, you can get a job at a hospital as an extern.
    I am speaking in the programs overall. In an LPN program you do not get nearly as much book work as you do clinical experience, but the book work you do get you dont have much time to study for. It is just a fact that LPN's get more clinical experience. I am not down grading an RN program, they are awesome. LPN programs are designed more to teach skills without as much theory behind the skills. As you know, RN programs teach you a lot of theory behind the skills. I am not just speaking of once you get into the actual RN program. I am including all the pre-req's that are required for the RN program, because they really are part of the program. You can't get in without taking them. A & P 1 and 2, micro, chemistry, psych, stats, etc.. I am including all of the classes you have to take. So overall in the program it really is 75% theory and 25% clinicals. I am not saying that you are literally in clinicals less than LPN students are. You just get a whole lot more knowledge to back up your clinical experiences.
  8. 1
    If you want to be an RN go and get your RN.
    LPN's aren't being utilized in any capacity that will help your position anymore.
    No significant experience. No greater skill. It is a waste of time.

    Bite the bullet and go right into an RN program. Saves you time and money.
    ExtraShotNoWhip likes this.
  9. 0
    My friend earned a bachelors degree in a major unrelated to nursing about 10 years ago. She wanted to return to school to become an RN a few years later, but her undergrad grade point average of 2.6 was not competitive enough for admission into most nursing programs. She enrolled in an LPN program at a local community college and secured employment after graduating. She enrolled in an LPN-to-RN bridge program and is now employed as an RN.

    The original poster's options are really dependent upon his/her current grade point average and how much work he/she is willing to put into school.
  10. 0
    Makes sense to me that if you eant to be an RN...go to school for RN. If you find you dont like bedside work, there are other office/research type jobs available esp to someone with a BS already.

    Also, LPN school is not a way to circumvent prereqs..theyll still have to be taken when you go for your RN (or some LPN programs may require a few as well.)
  11. 0
    If you're just looking for a little taste of healthcare quickly so you can decide if it is for you, either volunteer or work as a CNA. And since you're looking at RN or PA, I would only look into volunteering or CNA in a hospital. Hospital can be much different than long term care.
  12. 1
    I've been a LPN since 2008 and i'm currently in a RN program and will graduate in may. I did the LPN first for the same reason, i didn't want to wait on experience. The only downfall is that you more than likely won't be able to take your pre reqs during the LPN program if it's anything like mine was. It was a one year, monday through friday, 8am-4pm program. It was pretty gruelling and kept me busy especially since i was still working part time at the hospital 3 days a week. So when i graduated i started taking pre reqs which took me about a year and a half then entered the RN program. So it takes some time, but you do get the experience which has helped me greatly in the RN program!

    best of luck to you!
    DogWmn likes this.


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