I decided to write this to help people who are in their early stages of deciding to get into healthcare, or become a nurse, since, this is All Nurses.com
...I just posted this for a fellow member, and what I am about to write I hope it clears up confusion or gives done sort of guide to get the reader in the right direction...OK here it goes:
IF you want to be a nurse, you have a choice.
LPN: usually a 12-13+month program (my program was 13 months)...usually no prerequisites required. Learning nursing care and theory under the scope of a Practical Nurse. After completion, sit for the NCLEX-PN. Once licensed, work with a limited scope of nursing practice-varies by state...for example as a LPN in PA, I was able to manage central lines as a IV therapy certified LPN...the only restriction was blood products, Nutrition through a central line, and chemo...the scope has broadened recently, as well...but again, depends on the state...also the facility. If you bridge or go the BSN route, prerequisites are needed.
RN: Two year (Associate Degree Diploma/Hospital Based program) or or 4+ year (BSN) program. Encompasses prerequisites in Sciences, Mathematics, English Composition, and Arts and Humanities, including Philosophy, Ethics in 4 year program. Nursing care and Theory in the scope of a Registered Nurse, extends to Public Health, Research Nursing and Leadership Nursing in 4 year program. After completion, sit for the NCLEX-RN. After licensure scope covers LPN as well as chemo, blood products, assessment , leadership scope, etc. No " nursing care limitation scope" of practice. Can be certified in specialty: Critical Care, Emergency Care, Wound Care, Pediatrics, Perioperative Nursing, etc.
I was a LPN for 7 years. I am a new grad RN now, completed BSN program. I will say I did a lot if the nursing care that can encompass a nurse due to licensing and facility requirements because the areas I worked in...the BSN did strengthen the rationales of WHY this is essential to my practice, and helped me gain more strength in areas like critical care, leadership, Peds, public health, and helped me gain more knowledge in my assessment skills.
I don't know your personal life path, however, I will suggest that you research the professional scopes of both LPN and RN from your states board of nursing. I also request you research you area on what NURSE they are hiring...I say this with caution, because of the current economic situation, which may change, however, the BSN will put you at an advantage for career and future prospects should you desire to further your education in the nursing field. I know LPNs in my area who are having a hard time getting a job because of the overstaturation of ADN's and BSNs, which if you have a BSN, more chances they want to talk to the person with the bachelors before ANYONE else. Just do your due diligence, choose from accredited schools from the AACN and the NLNAC (I think that's the agencies) and price shop...you may have to apply for financial aid, so be aware if tuition costs as an undergrad-there is a limit...also, shop around for post-graduate help, like volunteer programs, student loan repayment programs, if you get loans. Those programs are for RNs and up...you don't get much help with nursing scholarships and loan repayment as a LPN.
Study hard, Aim for B+s and As..get help soon, in all courses. Please join nursing groups early as a nursing student...they are a great source to help light the future's way.
So these are the suggestions that I have laid out for you...it is a process, if someone was able to do this for me 14 years ago, I may have been an RN BSN for 10 years, instead of LPN for 7, new grad for 7 months, I can't tell you if it would've made a difference...I've enjoyed the ride that my path has carved. It has made me a well rounded nurse and team member. From CNA, LPN, to RN, I really don't have ANY regrets.
...you can also test out for 'med aide' once you pass Pharm....
I didn't know that until I was well into the program.
Being an aide is a great step, though. You need to start making connections early. You'll thank yourself when you graduate.
Last edit by MedChica on Jan 22, '13