Can you take care of your own?

Nurses LPN/LVN


Hello all,

I'm just going to put it all out there. I'm poor, as a matter of fact, according to statistics...I am living below poverty. I don't want much in life, but I DO want to buy a nice home for my family to live. I was just wondering if being an LPN provides you w/ steady work and a steady pay check. I know there are variables to every circumstance, but in general, is nursing a good career for someone to take care of their family and home? Has anyone else been in my position, completely destitute, became a nurse and now your life is better? Advice/suggestions/experiences welcome...Thank you!

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych.

The answer to your question depends on the cost of living in the city where you reside. You might struggle if you live in a very expensive city. On the other hand, you can enjoy middle class comforts if you live in an area with a low cost of living.

I completed my LVN training in southern California. Since the cost of living there is high, many of my former classmates have roommates or live with family members because they cannot afford to live alone.

I've been living in Texas for nearly seven years. In the city where I live, one can buy a decent house for $100,000 or rent a decent 1-bedroom apartment for about $500 monthly. As a result, many of my single LVN coworkers live in nice houses with low mortgage payments. They drive nice cars and still have money left over to shop, spend on recreation, or invest in retirement.

Specializes in critical care.

I admire your commitment to do better. Living in poverty is hard! And our country has this terrible pre-conceived notion that those who are in poverty choose to be there, collecting checks and being lazy. It's terrible! Most people WANT a better life! Good for you wanting to work your way there!

To become an LPN, you'll need to check your local community colleges for their programs' requirements. These programs are highly competitive. You'll need to take the pre-requisites, get As in them if you can, so you can get in. You may not make it in the first time you apply, but not all hope is lost! You can try again next time!

Fill out the FAFSA as early in the year as possible. If you fill it out in January or February, you may be eligible for more funds than if you wait until later. Depending on your income and tuition, you may be able to pay for all of your education with the pell grant.

LPN programs generally take a year to complete and are very, very rigorous. Many people who are accustomed to straight As are perfectly content with getting Cs because they're happy to simply pass the classes. You will put in a lot of time and effort but it will be worth it in the end!

When you are done, you'll be competing with your classmates for jobs. There are many places you can apply (hospital, home health, etc), but many places prefer experienced nurses, and twice a year they have all of the new nursing grads beating down their door at once. Yes, the media says there is a nursing shortage, but there is not a new graduate nurse shortage. Finding a job might be hard and might take months.

Ultimately, when you are done, you are looking at a hard career. Read through this website and you'll see many common themes. There are bosses with unreasonable expectations, patient families who expect you to walk in water, doctors who treat you like you're "just a nurse", long and thankless hours, patients who may or may not be thankful for your efforts and who will lie to you about their medical histories, and let's not forget that we are walking into a world where we will see illness and death regularly. These things will wear you down.

Around here I believe LPNs make about $40k. I'm honestly not sure if that's an average pay or not. You may be able to get by on that amount of money, but in my opinion, you would need a second income if you're hoping to buy a house and not worry about the random mishaps that happen, like dying cars. I am sure there are frugal people out there who can flourish just fine on that income, though!

My point is, don't go into it for the paycheck. I'm not trying to sound dismal, I promise! If you can read this whole post and think, "yes!!! I can do that! I WANT to do that!" then please do it! That means you may be cut out for this and the nursing world needs spirits like you to help populate it. But if you're cringing after reading all of that and feeling like it is too much, then don't do it for the paycheck. Nursing school is so much work, only to go into something you decide you hate. Time is currency, too, in my opinion, and for all the time you would spend, the payoff should feel like a reward.

I wish you the best of luck in your soul searching and journey into financial success. It's not easy, but with determination you can do anything. Read this website a lot before you decide nursing is or is not for you. Nothing beats real world experience when you're learning.

Specializes in med/surg.

I'm an RN, and have been for almost 4 years. For the size of my family (3 kids), I still make well below poverty level. It is, however, steady work and a dependable pay check. 3 bedroom double wide, rural area, no car payment, haven't started paying student loans yet, so haven't defaulted (yet).

I have looked at a couple of LPN positions, and they were offering $10-$14 an hour.

Specializes in Forensic Psych.

If I were to be the sole bread winner of our household (5 people) on a entry level "LVN" salary, no, I would not being able to support us, especially after child care costs. Houston has a super low cost of living, but now low enough that we could live nicely on the maybe $1500 a month I'd have left after $1000 worth of daycare. Assuming I had a $19/hr job.

If I was single? Heck yes, I'd be living the life!

But, you know, it could very well be a stepping stone in life that could very well

put you where you'd like to be. Good luck!

Specializes in Home Health, Education.

I'm a single LPN with no kids working full-time in home health (intermittent visits) and will make close to $50K this year. Where I live (in South Florida) the cost of living is somewhere in the middle, and that salary affords me a nice, middle class lifestyle.

Specializes in Cardiac.

Where I live the cost of living is not high and an LPN's salary here would be good for your family, especially if you did not need daycare. In Virginia, by the way.

It can go either way. Because I lost my full time LVN/LPN job, I lost my RN education when I was forced to leave school, and I eventually lost my mortgaged home. I lived in my car for quite some time. Lately, during long periods of being unemployed, I have received back to back eviction notices. Getting a nursing license is no ticket to security, but I feel I have a better chance than if I didn't have a nursing license.

Specializes in Psych, LTC/SNF, Rehab, Corrections.

I understand. I used to shoot xrays and ct. Know how much I used to earn?

3 times as much as what I'm earning now as a nurse aide. I used to save $1500/mth.

Fast fwd 3 years...LOL I'm saving my GI bill and,'s been a rough transition. LOL

I can't even live on $9.5/hr. I seriously don't know how some people can raise an entire family on what shouldn't even be considered a liveable wage. My hands are truly tied. Can't afford my facials. Can't gt my pedicures. Can't buy a Coach or Dior when I want. Have to budget for my makeup. Can't afford HBO on my DirecTv.

You know how much TruBlood and Game of Thrones I'm missing out on? You know how many Semi-Annual Sales at Victoria's Secret, I've not been able to participate in...damn it!!!!

There's not enough to do anything. Not enough to go around.

Will you live well with a higher pay? Technically, you should. LOL Everyone's situation will differ.

Your personal mileage will vary

Depends on how many kids you have...your spending habits...and the cost of living in your area, basically.

I'm not a nurse yet, but I'm single with no children. I own my car. I have liability coverage on my car. Swear to goodness, my car insurance is $30/mth.

I'm a Texan and will be moving to houston after I get my year of nursing exp becaue the pay is slightly higher.

For now, as a new grad? I'll earn $19.5 an hour to start and, hopefully, I can pick up a few hours at the immunization clinic doing seasonal vaccs. It's said that they're new grad friendly. So, I hope so. It pays $19.0/hr. I'm really only doing it for the experience, but if they'll pay me? Even better. I wish I knew the location of a free community clinic. This city's gotta have one, but I can't locate it.

Things will start to go back to the way they were when ATI greenlights me and I get my GVN.

But so long as you keep your expenses low? Shouldn't be a problem.

I've 3 aunts who've been nursing for a bazillion years. They've always done well. They always lived well. One aunt is an RN and at her highest, she earned around $90,000-95,000/year. It is possible for a nurse (not in NY or CA) to earn that much. She's been nursing forever, though.

The charge RN in my facility got a slot for 25.00/hr in the hospital. She says that she'll take a, I guess, they pay more for charge positions in LTC.

It's not about making MORE (although this helps. it's a helluva easier to save at 19/hr vs 9.00).

But the trick to wealth building is sound consumption habits. Saving.

Anyone will considerable wealth doesn't fritter it away on crap. If they seem to be living large? It's because what appears to be 'living large' to others is really just them living within their means. If I earn 200,000/year, obviously...I'm going to be able to buy more things.

I've worked with a mess of doctors and only a handful drove luxury cars. My old Rad doc used to drive this 2000 Crown Vic. Yup - the 'Cop Car'.

You have any idea how much radiology docs earn per year? It's ungodly! LOL

The other drove a corvette (which isn't expensive).

The other gentleman drove a Toyota.

Another actually did drive a BMW SUV. Had it shipped to his house and everything.

...but these folks are all good with money.

Just make sure that nursing is something that you want to do. I tend to believe that there's nothing more fulfilling than being in the business of health. No matter what you do in the medical facility, you're contributing to something wonderful. That's why I came back to the heathcare field, personally. It's where I belong, truthfully. It's all that I know and all that I want to know.

We all like money. I like it, too.

Don't chase paychecks, though. Don't do it solely for the money. Don't choose any career based solely on the money.

If money motivates you? Fine. I respect that.

It just doesn't work for most people. I've a few friends in corporate America (accting/hlth insuranc) who mak oodles and hate stepping foot in their places of work every morning. They're addicted to the greenbacks though...and the lifestyle that their position affords them. Too addicted to seek their true passion.

You're in a rough spot at the moment, which I'm going to go ahead and call a 'temporary situation'.

But don't let that cloud your thinking.

Love what you do? If you can't love what you do? Try to find what you do best that also pays well.

Specializes in hospice, HH, LTC, ER,OR.

I live in Georgia and make about 25 and hour I work 2 jobs, I also live in the the city. If I budget well I probably could find this a livable salary but choose not to at the moment and live with my parents. I am also in an LPN-RN bridge program so I have to pay for school out of pocket. I have a few friends that make less than I do 15 and hour and are single moms. She qualifies for discount housing and she still struggles with bills. So my point is like most of the posts other posts, it depends on cost of living and your ability to budget.

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