I want to become an RN. Where do I start?

  1. 0
    I went to a private university for 2 years as basically an undeclared student. I got pregnant my 2nd year and spent several weeks on the hospital and decided I wanted to become a nurse. It will be a challenge for me as a single mom, but this is something I really want. Now I don't know where to start and it feels overwhelming. To even apply to a nursing program you have to all your pre reqs done and I haven't done anything! I would like to get my bachelors in nursing at least. I'm wondering if a vocational school like Kaplan is worth my time? Should I spend some time getting the pre reqs at a cc and then apply to a nursing program? Any advice or just encouragement would be appreciated!

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  2. 3 Comments...

  3. 0
    Welcome to Allnurses.com!

    I would start by slowly completing the prerequisite courses, preferably at your local community college. You will need to earn as many 'A' grades in these classes as possible in order to be a competitive applicant for nursing school.

    Vocational schools are an option, too. However, they tend to be staggeringly expensive. Why saddle yourself with intractable student loan debt by attending a for-profit vocational school when a quality nursing education can be attained at a cheaper community college or state university?

    Personally, I completed a 12-month LPN/LVN program at a vocational school, then attended an RN completion program.

    Good luck with whatever you decide.
  4. 0
    Yes I would recommend taking your pre-reqs at a community college. You should also go talk to a advisor at your school. They will let you know what particular pre-req you have to take. Also I know alot of single mothers who decided to take the CNA route first!
  5. 0
    If I were in your shoes, I'd probably check out all the RN programs in the area. That means going to their info sessions, finding out what specific prerequisites they require, and if there are any prerequisite courses for those RN school prerequisite courses. Then I'd seek out an advisor at the local CC's and find out what they can do for you. Chances are they'll have to evaluate your transcript/coursework so far to be able to give you an idea what'll be needed. Then take classes slowly enough that you aren't going to exhaust yourself studying and taking care of family and get as high grades as possible. You want mostly, if not all, A grades. That's your goal. You may not reach it, but by going for it, you'll give yourself the best possible grades and therefore highest GPA you can.

    Somewhere along the way, hopefully early on, you should consider getting a CNA certificate as that'll teach you some of the basics of nursing and give you a window into the actual world of nursing. It'll also give you good experience practicing time management.

    You should also simultaneously work on graduation requirements so that if you get in, you're ready to graduate upon completion of your RN program. When you're qualified to apply to your 1st program, start applying. As you become qualified to apply to other programs, apply there too. You want to maximize your chances of getting into a program. I'd normally advise staying away from the "for profit" schools simply because they're generally VERY expensive and you probably don't want to be saddled with that amount of debt as a single parent.

    Once you start applying, don't stop. If you stop, you'll have to start all over from the beginning. Also, use that time between starting the applications to work on anything else you need for graduation from any of the schools.

    Also, since you're a single parent, definitely look into financial aid programs, specifically grants, waivers, and scholarships that are paid directly to the schools. Do your best to minimize your debt going into a program.

    Once you're in a program, it'll often be very difficult to work and go to school at the same time. You'll need some support as well, to look after your child while in school. You easily could be in class 4-6 hours per day and attending clinicals 6-12 hours per day. If you have to work, that gets so much tougher...

    In my case, I have to work full-time and go to school full time in order to make things happen. This is, clearly, not ideal. It is however something that I must do. Because of this necessity, I have not seen much of my family over the past 2 years. In effect, I get to see them in the morning before I leave, some afternoons, and occasionally over part of the weekend. From their perspective, I am effectively a parent that shows up every now and then. This is something that I discussed with my family before I started school. They know that in about 1 more year, I will be finished with school and ready to return to home life. At least, that is the plan.

    So this is what you have to plan for, starting now, all the way through the end of nursing school.

    I wish you all the best!


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