Is it easier to get your Rn by getting your LVN first.

  1. I am a 46 yr old single mom of two year old twins and I am wondering if it is kinder and gentler to get your RN by first doing your LVN and then doing the RN bridge step up program. I am interested in doing this also because of the lengthy wait list for the RN programs. I could get into the LVN program next January but need to wait three years for the RN 2 yr program to start. Any precautions or recommendations about this would be greatly appreciated. I have found that just studying for my pre req classes has been challenging but then again the girls were very very young and it is now just starting to get a bit easier now that they are two.

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  3. by   caliotter3
    The advantage that I see to getting the LVN license first then going to an LVN to RN bridge program is that of ease of entry to the RN education process. Many people choose this route to get around being rejected for nursing programs or being caught up in messy lottery systems or waiting lists that are years long. Otherwise the only other advantage is the ability to work in an LVN capacity to pay for RN school.
  4. by   Jules A
    While theres nothing kind or gentle about either program if you are willing to work in the areas where most LPNs are utilized I think its a great option especially since you can't start the RN program yet anyway. Good luck.
  5. by   djandkmommy
    This is the route I am taking. Not exactly by choice though. I'm making a mid-life career change which was facilitating by getting laid off. Some things happen for a reason, as now I'm able to pursue the career I really wanted LOL!

    Anyway, I was late in applying and was unable to get into an RN program. So I applied for the LPN program with the intention of bridging to RN. The only bummer is that where I am (not sure if this is case everywhere), you can not just move from LPN to RN. You have to have your LPN license before you can apply and that makes it about a 15 month wait for the next RN program (due to the application dates, etc.). So I will be working exclusively and trying to take any courses I can in that 15 months.

    LPN's do not seem to have many options in MA (where I'm from) so I hope that I can find enough work to keep me going while I pursue the RN.

    Good luck with you decision.
  6. by   jjjoy
    From what I've heard, the pace and degree of difficulty of an LPN program isn't necessarily easier than an RN program. Instead of cramming two tons of information into two years, you're cramming one ton of information into one year. Most programs will have a couple of days a week dedicated to clinical rotations in facilities in addition to lecture time, monstrous reading assignments, studying, class projects and writing care plans (a learning tool that can take a lot of time to put together depending on the instructor's requirements).

    Since you are concerned about time for family, know that full-time nursing school with a full-load of courses demands a lot of you, regardless of whether it's an LPN or RN program. Some schools are set up that you can take any non-core nursing courses ahead of time, thus freeing up a bit of time during nursing school. A few schools do offer part-time programs that allow more flexibility. That's about as close you'll get to "kind and gentle" in nursing school since many nursing schools are somewhat akin to bootcamp.

    In making your decision, it would probably be a good idea to find out more about the specific programs available to you. Talk to students and former students if possible. What's the schedule like? Is there a lot of work to do at home? Talk to any nurses you might know if they have any information about the different programs (local reputation, etc). If you don't know any nurses, ask friends and family if they know any nurses they could introduce you to.

    If all else is equal, then, it might make sense to take the plunge right away and get started with the LPN program. Or maybe you decide to wait a few years for the RN program when your girls will be a bit older.

    Best wishes!!
  7. by   Jules A
    Quote from djandkmommy
    The only bummer is that where I am (not sure if this is case everywhere), you can not just move from LPN to RN. You have to have your LPN license before you can apply and that makes it about a 15 month wait for the next RN program (due to the application dates, etc.). So I will be working exclusively and trying to take any courses I can in that 15 months.
    Oh this makes me nuts! The RN students don't have this requirement and at the point where I joined the RN program I had 1 1/2 more semesters of nursing school/clinicals than they did. Check around because in my area there was two that required you to work for 6 months as a LPN but the rest didn't and I got into a direct entry program. Good luck!
  8. by   djandkmommy
    Jules A - I know, it is frustrating! I am looking around my area (southeastern MA) but I have yet to find any that do not require the LPN license when you apply - which would at the beginning of my LPN schooling.

    If I find anything, I will be sure to post it here!
  9. by   rhondap1
    I am 45 y/o and just finished the LPN program and waiting to take my boards. I got in the Fast Track program (only takes 12 months). We have a local university that offers a one year LPN-RN bridge program. I can start this August and finish August 2010 with my RN. I chose this route so that I can work while getting my RN, plus it will cut at least 18 months off of the regular RN program. If you can't start the LPN until next Jan, see about taking some of the pre-reqs you might need to get into the RN program. That way you will have them out of the way and can go right into the RN from the LPN. Good Luck!!
  10. by   TheCommuter
    It might not necessarily be easier to earn an RN license by becoming an LVN first. However, your LVN license will enable you to have good earning potential that will make living through RN school easier.

    It is, in my opinion, better to work as an LVN while attending an RN program instead of flipping burgers at a fast food place or cashiering at a convenience store.
  11. by   Old and New
    Aside from earning potential, which is more personally satisfying? LPN or RN?
  12. by   picurn10
    I'm a single mom and this is exactly what I decided to do. I had all but one pre-req done, but that mean I was going to have to wait another 6mo for the application process to begin again, and then hope I got accepted the first time, and I didn't want to wait. For me it's more important to get working.
    I was a bit hesitent at first because I never planned to get my LPN and was under a LOT of misconcpetions about what LPN's can do, where they can work, etc... For instance, I really thought LPN's could only work in nursing homes and do a little more than CNA's. Wow, I was totally wrong. All but two of my local hospitals hire LPN's, and on all floors but ICU. The skills are almost identical with the exception of pushing IV meds and doing an initial assessment.
    For me it's been great because LPN students have about 3x as many clinical hours as an RN program. RN students in my area do 4 semesters with 1-2 clinical days/wk, take a month long break in the winter and a full summer off. We do 11 1/2mo straight, with up to 4 clinical days a week, and finish with a month of "leadership" which is a 40hr/wk in a hospital. On top of that, while I'm in RN school (the programs I'm looking at are 2 class days/wk and 1 clinical/wk) I'll be able to work as a nurse and gain all that extra experience while making decent money!!!! When I start RN in August, I'm going to have four days a week without any school, so I plan to work 2-12's and spend the rest of the time with my ds. I know it's going to be hectic, but I think it'll be doable and so worth it in the end.
    The other major perk is that LPN to RN bridge programs are easy to get into compared to RN school. In RN school they have a set number of seats and once they fill them, that's it. With the bridge, they accept anyone who meets their requirements. So now instead of crossing my fingers, and going to whatever school would take me, I know get to chose between the top three program in my area! That is a HUGE advantage in my book.
    Plus, you'll make more as a new hire RN because you'll have nursing experience under your belt. You can often get the hospital you work at to pay for your RN, and promote you on graduation from RN!
    I will say, the other misconception I had was that LPN school would be pretty easy. I have my degree in psychology with a minor in philosophy so I went in thinking, "how hard can it be?" Well, I wouldn't say it's academically challenging so much as it's just a ton of work. The first half we had 3-4 and sometimes even 5 exams a week, plus modules, papers, and projects, and all our clinical prep time and time spent in clinicals. I worked for the first couple of months, but there was just no way I could keep up and take good care of my son. My program is 8h/day 5days/wk so it's not easy, but it's doable.
    I think it's a fantasic option and higly recommend it to people!
  13. by   Desilina
    April&em thank you for breaking down your plan; it is very much how I might have to go about my studies in the future. I wasn't sure how to make it happen but I think this method of working and attending school might work for me too. Could you keep us posted??

  14. by   BRONXBOUND
    One benifit of being an LPN is -if you fail out of rn school or the nclex rn you will be able to stay afloat and pay your bills, thats coming from experience.