Military Spouse - Confused about what path to take to become RN

  1. Dear Nurse Beth,

    I am 24, a military spouse, and I am starting school late. I am interested in becoming an RN, specifically in women's health and my dream job is to work at a fertility clinic, as it hits home for me and I have found a real passion for it. I have no medical background. I had originally wanted to go to school to become and LPN/LVN, and then make the transition to RN from there and eventually get my BSN. When I visited a school a few months ago, the counselor suggested that because I do not have any medical experience, and most LPN students do. She was worried I would have a harder time comprehending what was going on. This is something I very much want, but I am so confused on the path I need to take to get there. What is your recommendation?



    Dear Confused,

    I disagree with the counseling advice you received.

    One thing I learned in school is that it is not uncommon to receive misinformation from school counselors.

    Counselors are but one source of information- don't stop there. Read the college catalog. Once you are in school, your classmates who are pursuing the same classes or have already taken them are another source of information.

    Having "medical experience" is neither a prerequisite nor an indicator of success in a nursing program.

    If you want to attend LPN school, then take any required prerequisites the program
    requires (such as English or Math) and apply. You will either be accepted or not. This is usually based on predetermined criteria, including GPA.

    Consider getting your RN instead of taking the LPN route, if it's feasible for you. Study hard.

    If you want this, you can do it. By the way, twenty-four years old is not late .


    Best wishes,

    Nurse Beth

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  2. 16 Comments

  3. by   amoLucia
    As a military wife, she may be eligible for some type of schooling assistance, so she also needs to check out that aspect.

    And being military, there may be the prospect of moving with her spouse in her near future. That could seriously impact her decision making re license and school selection.

    Be it LPN or RN, bridge or accelerated programs, possible relocation with her spouse (or maybe NOT), all are factors she needs to know up front EARLY in order to make an informed decision that will work best for her & her spouse.
  4. by   RN3909
    This is the route I took. I got my Lpn then RN and now I'm almost done with my BSN. I did not have any clinical experience prior to obtaining my lpn. However I do feel that if you can just start in and RN profram, I would do that. I could not do it because of money. I couldn't take two years off of work for the program so I did my lpn in 10 months, worked as an lpn while back in school for my RN which was only two semesters. I did feel I was ahead of the RN students because I had already been working as an LPN. This was deff a big advantage.
  5. by   Mreyes78
    First off, there's no such thing as starting late. I'm almost 40 and decided to change careers. There are certain classes that are necessary whether it's a BSN or LPN such as English, math, anatomy and physiology, chemistry. My spouse moves a lot so what I did was take the common courses for any nursing school at the local community college and transferred to an accelerated BSN program. I have some medical experience, but I found that it's not necessary. A solid foundation in the science type course will help you understand human biology. Just to add, lots of my classmates do not have medical experience and are doing just fine. Lastly, if you have the time, chase the BSN. It will benefit you in the long run.

    good luck!
    Future RN
  6. by   Loloberry
    I am also a military spouse and an RN. I went to nursing school 5 years ago and unfortunately had to live separately from my husband. There was only one school near where he was stationed and it was on the lottery system. I just never won the lottery so I applied where my parents lived. He knew it was my dream to be an RN and so we made it work. It was hard but so very worth it to both of us. I wouldn't trade that decision for anything. I honestly am not sure how to complete a nursing degree before a PCS would come up, but hopefully you can make it work. I also say skip the LPN if your goal is RN. That seems like too much of long road when you already have the time crunch of impending moves. Good luck to you!
  7. by   domo1091
    Hi Nurse Beth! I am also planning to move to SC because I plan to marry my Navy fiancée. But I am concerned wether the hospitals there will hire a new grad ADN with no experience. I am debating if I should just stay here in California but I am also willling to experience a new environment in SC.
  8. by   RN-KP
    I am a military spouse in SC with an ADN. I graduated in December. I had job offers before I graduated. I accepted a position as a new grad in a residency program at a large hospital. I am working in the Emergency Department and I love it. We have a ton of ADN in our program. RN is RN. You can still go back and top out your BSN. The difference is only $1an hour.
  9. by   domo1091
    Hi RN-KP did you graduate with your ADN in SC? Was it difficult looking for a job as a new grad and did they require experience?
  10. by   RN-KP
    I graduated with my ADN in sc about 4 months ago. It was super easy to find a job for me. I had no past medical experience at all.
  11. by   domo1091
    Which hospitals did you apply to? I'm coming from Cali so it might be harder for me to find a job since I'm out of state.
  12. by   Melsmom727
    I'm sorry but I totally disagree that because you have no medical background you'll have trouble keeping up.....REALLY? Follow your heart, experience isn't necessary, that's what school is for. Also go for the RN, save yourself some school as well as tuition fees. BSN if you want either as part of your RN or after once you're working is entirely dependent on how long you want to be in school. As far as your age, you are never too old for education or a new career path!! Good luck whatever you decide.
  13. by   momathoner09
    First of all, like others said, 24 is not too late at all. I started nursing school at 25 and graduated at 27 with my diploma in nursing (already had a bachelors in another field). Now I'm 36 but have only worked 2 years because my husband is on active duty.

    You have to take care of yourself while you are young and before you have kids. I took my NCLEX a month after we got married but since then it's been a mess for me career wise with the military. But- I've been able to get back on track Bc I completed it all before we started moving and before I got pregnant, etc.

    Now almost 10 years later, my husband is getting off Active duty and I have a solid career and I will have to work full time for us to be able to do this.

    I wouldn't do LPN. I would do RN or BSN. I would start the process at the beginning of a PCS. That way you would have the most amount of time in one place. You could do pre-reqs if you need them in a different state. I don't know how those transfer but you won't be able to transfer nursing programs. You are going to want to do that all in one place. This will probably require you living apart from your spouse. That's ok. Think about the long term and big picture. I can promise you it's worth it.

    I turned down a fellowship new nursing position in 2008 Bc of PCS orders and I regret it. Then I got pregnant, the moving started...it all spiraled from there.

    In the military community, this isn't a popular path. The wife is supposed to stay home, pop out children and go to FRG functions. I hated all of that though. All I wanted to do is find my way back to the hospital and once I finally did it was like I could be myself again. Also- military marriage is hard. If anything ever happens, spouses need a career to fall back on.

    If this is something you want, pursue it with everything you have. Make it a priority. Don't listen to people who tell you no. Make decisions in line with your goal. Retake classes if you need higher grades. Apply everywhere. You can do this.
  14. by   tacticool
    Quote from amoLucia
    As a military wife, she may be eligible for some type of schooling assistance, so she also needs to check out that aspect.

    And being military, there may be the prospect of moving with her spouse in her near future. That could seriously impact her decision making re license and school selection.

    Be it LPN or RN, bridge or accelerated programs, possible relocation with her spouse (or maybe NOT), all are factors she needs to know up front EARLY in order to make an informed decision that will work best for her & her spouse.
    She should check out MYCAA through the DOD. $4000 scholarship for programs leading to an Associates or certification.This is rank-dependent.

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