Do I attend LVN school or Surg Tech school?

  1. I need help deciding between LVN school or Surgical (scrub) tech school. Betwen the two jobs, I'd rather be a Surg Tech after comparing the job descriptions, but feel I would be limiting myself in knowledge and advancement. If I go the LVN route, the idea would be to get licensed in one year instead of the 2 yrs required for RN school, then get a job on the weekends while in an LVN/RN transition program, (assuming I can find a job and program in the same town), then look for a hospital surgery internship if that's still the area I want to get into. It seems a waste to spend a year pursuing Surg Tech, only to have to start over in nursing school anyway to get where I untimately want to be. Then we're talking 3 years total! TOO MUCH! I'm already sick of school and not interested in a BSN to become 'management material' (already have an MBA), and don't need constant patient interaction to be happy. Knowing that I saved or improved someone's life is enough satisfaction. And with all the varied surgeries going on and my interest in pediatrics, I can't envision first assist ever being boring, but could easily see how Surg Tech might be if that's all anyone ever did. Other factors to consider...many major hospitals in my area aren't even hiring LVN's, just RNs. They use more surgical techs, but they aren't hired for weekend only work (the experienced ones get that).
    I heard today there may be scholarship money for the Surg Tech program. Is Surg Tech training worth a year of your life if it were free, delaying nursing school a year? Money is a factor. I need a paycheck NOW. Another factor - I can't say I'd never want to move out of OR down the road. With RN, you can go anywhere in the hospital. I have no healthcare industry experience. I'm in my 40s and would only do it for 20 yrs max anyway, retiring at 65. At my age, should I just do Surg Tech, look at it as just another job instead of a career, take my meager paycheck and do something else on the side for my happiness? Should I tolerate LVN duties as a means to an end and forget Surg Tech? I have to stay interested and challenged and don't need another boring dead end job. Had plenty of those. Thanks in advance for posting.
    P.S. - We hear the whine of a 'nursing shortage', yet there are several times as many applicants for schools as there are seats, and no one is willing to pay for more seats....not the govt., not the hospitals. Go figure.
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  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   suzanne4
    A first assistant position does require that you have a BSN. The actual job title for that is RNFA (Registered Nurse First Assistant).
  4. by   hiotw75
    Quote from suzanne4
    A first assistant position does require that you have a BSN. The actual job title for that is RNFA (Registered Nurse First Assistant).
    I thought 'first assist' was just a general term to describe the RN who is closest to and most directly involved with helping the surgeon. Is there a law somewhere that says that such a person must have the job title 'RNFA' or have a BSN? Doesn't the hiring organization decide that? If I were doing the hiring, I'd put an experienced RN with a Phd in Physiology ahead of a new grad with a BSN. What's so magical about BSN? Isn't it just a RN with more 'administration' courses? Thanks for posting.
  5. by   CHATSDALE
    Maybe Being A Lpn Would Make You More Open More Opportunities Than The Surg Tech....i Don't Know How The Pay Scales Compare..but I Believe That You Probably Wouldn't Have To Start From Scratch To Work In Surgery If You Have A Lpn License...i Know A Lpn Who Is Taking A Course, Training On Job In First Class Hospital, She Is Choosing This For The Hours And To Have A New Challange If You Put Your Heart In What Ever You Choose You Will Have Job Satisfaction...good Luck
  6. by   bmw804
    I have also looked at this opportunity, but here in Ohio the OR scrub techs don't seem to get paid very much and you are limited to what you do. The surgical assistant program is very intense 2 years, and they don't want you to work at all. The salary pay is very good, but I think you are still limited. I have always wanted to work in surgery, but I can't stand for hours at a time without sitting down. I don't mind walking, but I can't still for that long.

    I think nursing has such a wide variety of opportunities. It all depends on what you are looking for.
  7. by   LPN2Bin04
    hi. i dont know if ill be of much help to you in your quest for an answer to what you should do, i just thought i would let you know my position. I just graduated lpn school june 17th and just took my boards TODAY! im so nervous. anyway, the reason i am replying to your post is that i was hired as a scrub tech at our local hospital here. Here, they hire LPNs for scrub tech positions. the reason i chose this position is that i wont only be working as a scrub tech, but ill get to work the recovery room and work out in other areas of the hosp. like med/surg, icu, OB, etc. ive been training since i graduated and so far, im hanging in there. i have my days when i wonder if im really cut out for this, ya know...those ones where the drs are cranky and dont have time for you to be learning. anyway, just check into the places you might possibly work and see how they hire. I think it may depend on facilities policy as we have no BSNs in our dept. even our manager is just working on her bsn. good luck in whatever you decide. i hope it all works out the way you want it to.
  8. by   UCLARN
    You're also forgetting that in order to accept students, they have to have enough nursing instructors/professors. Universities/Colleges also need to stop cutting out their nursing programs as they are doing here in southern california.




    Quote from hiotw75
    I need help deciding between LVN school or Surgical (scrub) tech school. Betwen the two jobs, I'd rather be a Surg Tech after comparing the job descriptions, but feel I would be limiting myself in knowledge and advancement. If I go the LVN route, the idea would be to get licensed in one year instead of the 2 yrs required for RN school, then get a job on the weekends while in an LVN/RN transition program, (assuming I can find a job and program in the same town), then look for a hospital surgery internship if that's still the area I want to get into. It seems a waste to spend a year pursuing Surg Tech, only to have to start over in nursing school anyway to get where I untimately want to be. Then we're talking 3 years total! TOO MUCH! I'm already sick of school and not interested in a BSN to become 'management material' (already have an MBA), and don't need constant patient interaction to be happy. Knowing that I saved or improved someone's life is enough satisfaction. And with all the varied surgeries going on and my interest in pediatrics, I can't envision first assist ever being boring, but could easily see how Surg Tech might be if that's all anyone ever did. Other factors to consider...many major hospitals in my area aren't even hiring LVN's, just RNs. They use more surgical techs, but they aren't hired for weekend only work (the experienced ones get that).
    I heard today there may be scholarship money for the Surg Tech program. Is Surg Tech training worth a year of your life if it were free, delaying nursing school a year? Money is a factor. I need a paycheck NOW. Another factor - I can't say I'd never want to move out of OR down the road. With RN, you can go anywhere in the hospital. I have no healthcare industry experience. I'm in my 40s and would only do it for 20 yrs max anyway, retiring at 65. At my age, should I just do Surg Tech, look at it as just another job instead of a career, take my meager paycheck and do something else on the side for my happiness? Should I tolerate LVN duties as a means to an end and forget Surg Tech? I have to stay interested and challenged and don't need another boring dead end job. Had plenty of those. Thanks in advance for posting.
    P.S. - We hear the whine of a 'nursing shortage', yet there are several times as many applicants for schools as there are seats, and no one is willing to pay for more seats....not the govt., not the hospitals. Go figure.
  9. by   busykim
    Just thought I would give my 2 cents. I went the surg tech way before- because I too wanted to do something "quick" and 13 mos. of school looked better to me at the time than 4+ years and no guarantee of getting right into the RN program. I'm not saying I regret it, because my 4+ years as a ST in a surgery center gave me confidence and also reinforced my original desire to be an RN. So I went back to school and just graduated in May and now am a RN !!! Have you had the opportunity to "job shadow" someone and see if you really want to be a ST? I personally found it boring standing in the same cold OR all the time, and wanted more versatility for the long run. I even did an extra semester elective internship as a "circulating nurse", and I liked that better--but still wanted a little more "action". I guess what I am saying is- if you know your personality, and what your real preferences are...than go that way. I found that for me it helped getting to job shadow, and precept to find my real niche...and found I fell in love with the ER.
    Good luck with your decision and I hope you find your own niche. P.S. I too am an older student, and it's never too late. If you are 40 years old, you will still be 42 in two years--just with an ST or LVN after your name!! Kim
  10. by   whalloran
    By the time I finished my surg tech program I knew I wanted to be a nurse. My advice: Go straight for nursing. Tech pay is very low and you will work your butt off alongside the RN's who will earn up to 3X your pay. Good Luck!
  11. by   briemoran
    I am a Surgical Tech in California and I Love my job, although I am now thinking about becoming an LVN or RN. It took 13 months to get through my surg tech program, but find my job very rewarding and currently work in Labor and Delivery, but starting another job Per Diem in the main OR as well. If you like hands on and the blood and guts then Surg tech is for you, since RN's and LVN's don't get to experience that unless they are scrub Nurses.

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