A Few Words to the Wise


With the encouragement of my family, I have started looking into an RN program. Recently, my facility has done away with LPN's, and we are all now CNA's.

In my research, just a few things to remember:

1. Be 100% sure of what (if anything) is reimbursed. There are LOT'S of expenses that are not.

2. Be mindful that your facility may not have a position for you when you complete your studies and become an RN. Not to say other facilities in your area would not hire you, but to be hired at your facility, there needs to be a position--and for most LPN's, the gateway to an RN that is feasible is an Associates. Which any number of facilities require or "prefer" a BSN.

3. If hired by your facility, be mindful that you will more than likely lose seniority, going back to square 1, as you will be a "new grad" even if you worked as an acute care LPN for 152 years. And the loss of pay could be a deal breaker.

4. Also be aware that as an RN, you more than likely will no longer be able to work as a CNA in your facility. Therefore, you would be out of a job.

Now, this is going to be worth it if you are a newer LPN, and you do not have a lot of seniority in your facility. Who it is seemingly not worth it for is the multi-year LPN's who are at a top tier pay grade with many years of seniority.

In discussing reimbursements, it is stunning how much is not paid. So be careful when you are told "we will pay for it". That is not entirely true. They will not pay for it, they will pay you back for SOME of it.

Real story: An LPN who was at the facility for 30 years was told that the job was being taken away. Demoted to a patient care associate position.

Hurry/Rush to get a ADN, which they were told that the facility would "pay for"--come to find out not even 1/4 was reimbursed. A 53 year old with student loan debt. AWESOME. not.

When said LPN received a ADN, were told that the min. requirement to work at the facility was a BSN. Also, that the position of "patient care associate" was no longer available to them, as policy dictates that an RN can not work under the scope of their license in the facility.

Said nurse left the facility, lost seniority, lost pay. Was unable to secure another nursing position. Now is looking into choices-- to get more in debt to get a BSN, and perhaps not a job (since then the original facility is on a "hiring freeze" with ratios that are unreal and bare bones staffing) or to say forget it all together and work in another field entirely.

Bottom line, if you are a newer LPN, and you would like to work in acute care, go to school sooner rather than later. Nothing guarantees a job, however, don't put your time and effort being a multi-year LPN to be without in the end.

If you are an older LPN, you may want to move out of acute care all together. Seek opportunities that an LPN can do. And each state and facility has thoughts on what an LPN can and can not do.

I am, for one, learning the hard way. And I am not sure that at my age, I am willing to play Russian roulette with my family's livelihood. I am not sure I am willing to take on more debt, with no guarantee at the end of the day. I am not sure it would be worth it.

Just my two and a half cents--we all have to make choices that are right for us.

Best wishes to us all.

Has 13 years experience.

I'm sorry you are going through this. I cannot believe that after you obtain the education they required now they still won't hire you for a position. Is this a LTC facility? I know many employers will agree to "pay" for your education, but you have to be willing to stay for so many years, and you have to pretty much accept any position they give you otherwise they want that money back stat. I wish you nothing but the best. I am terrified I am going to end up in a similar position when I am done with school. Too many grads and not enough jobs because employers are forcing unreasonable patient ratios on current working nurses. Shoot I'm terrified of how I will keep the lights on, and food on the table for my family while in school.

I know there are many somewhat affordable BSN options now that you have your RN. Please do some research and see which will work best for your current circumstances. In the meantime I certainly hope you find a great position soon. I know there are a few employers out there hiring. Keep networking. Keep applying. Keep talking to us - it does no good to keep this frustration building up inside of you.

Specializes in Pediatrics, Emergency, Trauma. Has 18 years experience.

The writing on the wall happened to me in 2005; they abruptly stopped hiring LPNs at my facility as soon as I received my license; the plan was they were going to hire me, but that fell through, went and blazed my career outside of the hospital setting and started looking into my BSN.

It took me 7 years to get my BSN through working and life getting in the way plus schooling, but I do enjoy bridging that gap; I am starting a ER position on Monday that is making what I made as a LPN hourly at a rehab hospital, and it was top tier because I was per diem and worked full time hours, but I won't trade my experiences that made me a better nurse if I didn't make that leap to become a LPN and those out of the box experiences.

It has been quite an adventure. :yes:

Specializes in LTC Rehab Med/Surg. Has 16 years experience.

Twenty years ago, when I went back to school, I was faced with LPN or RN. Since I knew nothing about being a nurse, it was simply a stroke of luck that I picked the 2yr course, over the 1 yr course. ADN over LPN.

It seems it'll be a race to retirement to see if my ADN will cover me before BSN becomes mandatory.

I can't imagine what I'll be faced with if it doesn't.

I can put myself in your shoes. Just the thought makes me anxious.

I'm sorry life has thrown you this curve, and I hope everything works out.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

226 Articles; 27,608 Posts

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 17 years experience.

I'm so sorry this abrupt career change is being thrust upon you, JadeLPN. The nursing employment marketplace is doing hideous things to new grads and seasoned nurses alike, mostly because the corporations that employ us have the upper hand.

As an aside, I do not regret earning my RN licensure after four years in the LVN role. Now I'm basically being paid more money to perform a role that is almost the same as what I did during my LVN days.

Good luck to you for trudging on bravely in this uncertain climate.

kbrn2002, ADN, RN

3,751 Posts

Specializes in Geriatrics, Dialysis. Has 21 years experience.

Gosh that just sucks! I am so sorry. What an miserable situation to be in. I sure hope something bigger and better comes your way soon.


38,333 Posts

More than one of my employers in the recent past has been verbal about their policy of refusing to accommodate an LVN who obtains an RN license. If somebody has to work somewhere else for one year before returning to that employer, why bother to return at all? Go ......

jadelpn, LPN, EMT-B

51 Articles; 4,800 Posts

Just as an aside, my story about the LPN was NOT me, but a dear co-worker who just was given the ultimate shaft. Which stinks.

So I have been mindful about what choices I have, as I do not endevour to be a CNA--especially after over $10,000 in debt for an LPN program to get out of being a CNA (and I LOVE CNA's!! I admire them, what they do, etc.)

It is also a control thing. I don't like taking care of patients that are getting at best half baked care from nurses who have too many patients, not enough hours in the day, and are well done burnt. I am so type "A" that it drives me nuts to have patients who need this or that (pain med, no assessments for hours.....charting done "at the end of the day" and important stuff is missed, red bottoms.....) and not one nurse who can take even 5 minutes to do any of it, as there's 8 more just like em down one hall and up the other.

Sick stuff. And management sits back and laughs and laughs.....

A 20 year career for me, many accolades, many memories of taking care of people in life, and death and the like...people I knew, loved, did right by.....and now it is down to the "I have an 'issue' because the LPN position was eliminated..." I don't have an "issue" I have a hole....like my co-worker LPN's......tiny place, tiny facility, tiny town.....but big wigs pushing lots of people around.

So, back to topic. If you are gonna go for that RN...do it NOW. Like yesterday. You do NOT want to be older, in debt, near retirement...looking for a job after 20-30 (heck, even 10) years down the line with one facility. Well into my 40's and nearing 50, I am just about all set, loved being an LPN, worked my butt off.....and not sure if I even want to take on something that will cost me far, far more than I will gain. If I want intellectual stimulation, I would get a degree in philosophy or art history..... and have a useless piece of paper that costs 20 grand. (and to those who have degrees in philosophy or art history BRAVO, love it! and may you always have a job you love.....but realistically, there's not many positions requiring these things in small town USA...)

kbrn2002, ADN, RN

3,751 Posts

Specializes in Geriatrics, Dialysis. Has 21 years experience.

LPN's in my little corner of the world fortunately haven't been forced to go back to school to keep their jobs or even worse being made to go back to school on the off chance that they will get hired in their brand new RN role with a loss of seniority and pay. That being said fewer and fewer places are hiring new LPN's. It seems as long as you have your position it is pretty safe, but as LPN's leave employers are either replacing the position with an RN, or not replacing it at all. Even some of the LTC are going primarily RN, my place of employment included. We only have 2 LPN's left now. On yet another hand, there are always ads in the paper for LPN's in assisted livings and memory care so the jobs are still out there.


5,345 Posts

Specializes in burn ICU, SICU, ER, Trauma Rapid Response. Has 16 years experience.

I am going to guess that the OP lived and works someplace south of the Mason - Dixon line in a "right to work" state.

I can't imagine any faciliety treating nurses like the OP describes. Maybe the day will come but I hope I am long out it by then.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

226 Articles; 27,608 Posts

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 17 years experience.
I am going to guess that the OP lived and works someplace south of the Mason - Dixon line in a "right to work" state.
Nope! According to OP's profile, she lives and works in Massachusetts, one of the most unionized and bluest states in the country.

I am truly sorry you are going through this. Are you able to move? I live in Georgia and there are still plenty of LPN jobs here, even though there is only one LPN program left in Atlanta. I used to work in assisted living, and the trend I saw was to switch the certified medication aide jobs to LPN jobs. I now have a nurse extern position at a hospital, and there are LPNs working on the floor too. I don't see the LPN role going away any time soon here. I hear my professors saying that all nurses will need to hold BSN degrees in the near future, but I really don't see the reality of that in the Georgia LTC/ALF job market.