Nursing school whether PN or RN program is TIME consuming.
I went from CNA to LPN to RN (BSN).
LPN is VERY intense...you are learning nursing theory, the nursing process, A&P, fundamentals, Chronic Adults, Pharmaclogy Med Surg Nursing, Maternity/Post Partum, Peds, Leadership within or over a year, depending on how long the program is designed. Classes/Theory may last only 2-3 weeks, including Clinicals fir up to 3 days for 3 weeks. I worked 16 hrs shifts every other weekend when I was in that program. You had make time to learn theory, skills, care plan writing, etc.
RN programs...where to start??? The "Art and Science" of Nursing begins with fundamental building blocks prior to the major theory and scope of professional nursing practice. You have to do Anatomy & Physiology, Microbiology, Chemistry, Math, English Composition I & II, Nutrition, Humanities...Philosophy or History, foreign language can be an option if you are going for your Bachelors. These "Art"classes help with learning about different cultures, the why if some dynamics between cultures, how to communicate efficiently; The Science courses give you a background into the human body, the chemical and atmospheric pressures that occur within the body, and how nutrition drives the body's response. These will transfer into how to identify and intervene on the body's process are affected, how to communicate effectively during the nurse-pt relationship, especially when doing pt teaching and providing resources, how to double check med dosages, and provide evidence base practice through research.
The prereq's can take up to two years alone. The nursing major is for 2-2.5 years...2.5 is how long my BSN curriculum was; it included research nursing, and we had to prepare a research proposal. The professional nurse scope is much broader than the practical nurse scope, so there is a difference in practice. You get Fundamentals with the overview of nursing theory and the nursing process; Health Assessment, Chronic Health Med Surg, Pharmacology, Adult Med Surg, Peds, Psych, Public Health, Acute Care Med Surg. My BSN included Pathophysiology in the coursework.
I was able to work as a LPN 30+ hours a week through self schedule; I did 2 10s and 1-2 8s a week; I had two days of evening class clinicals every other weekend. I found myself going down to 20 hours in my senior year, because it was a LOT of work, and the material increased in its complexity. I really didn't work during my last semester...just enough to be able to pay my household bills and brown bag my lunch.
That's the nifty gritty of my experience.
I suggest you research jobs in your area FIRST before you consider which nursing school. There is a surplus of nurses, and a lot of hospitals are leaning towards BSN, depending on the area. Next, research the prerequisite/required core requirements prior to the major coursework if you choose a RN program. If you have ample opportunities to be a LPN, you can try LPN; however, when I finished my program, I left my Magnet hospital because they stopped hiring LPNs-this was in 2005, and it's getting to the point it's everywhere. I was on a post and they are discussing how hard it is to land a job in a hospital as a LPN.
I say go for the RN...if you can go BSN, then go for it too, either by bridge of the traditional route. Just research your states BON, find the approved programs, and interview the programs. You are choosing to attend their school. Go to information sessions, research tuition costs, financial aid; ask questions, and go from there. It will take persistence, endurance, and tenacity to choose, enroll, and complete a nursing program. Good Luck!