CNA to LVN to RN


  1. Is having your BSN more helpful than just an ADN?

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Hello to all pre-nursing students, CNAs, LVNs, and RNs,

I have just started my nursing journey from CNA to LVN to RN, and am looking for some advice --- tried and true "do's and do not's" of the nursing world. As of now, my plan is to complete a CNA program this coming Spring 2015 at a community college in Northern California. From there, I plan to apply to the LVN program in the Spring of 2016, complete that, work for 6 months, and then apply to the LVN-RN bridge program that my community college offers. Eventually, I plan to obtain my BSN (and one day my Master's), but I figure I should take it all one step at a time. After several "unnecessary" years in college (due to a couple of major/degree changes), I have obtained an Associate's degree, and have found myself with the completion of several required pre-req nursing program classes --- a pleasant surprise. Right now I am in an introductory A & P class and am incredibly close to earning an "A" --- yay! I do know that I have to take a pre-req chemistry class for A & P I and A & P II (the dreaded lab classes, or so I have been told) and microbiology. I spoke with a dear friend a few days ago, who happens to be a nurse practitioner, and she said not only to REALLY pay attention in A & P and to ask as many questions as possible, but to primarily pay attention to the biopathology of diseases and ailments. I will also be taking a medical language class, as well as a dosage calculations class (which, surprisingly, is not required as part of my nursing school curriculum, but merely "suggested.") So, for all you in nursing school and all of you that are already RNs, what are your sage words of advice?

1) What are your tips & tricks for studying?

2) What should I pay attention to for the CNA exam, TEAS V, and NCLEX?

3) What are some avenues you have taken to be successful in your nursing career?

Thank you to everyone for your advise!

Specializes in Critical Care, Med-Surg, Psych, Geri, LTC, Tele,.

I'm in your locale. I completed a few nursing prereqs prior to going to CNA school. The Cna test wasn't difficult, but I won't lie to you. I studied by reading the course manual the same way I did for my prereqs. I also practiced skills on my kids, relatives, etc. I also held a study session at my home for anyone in my class who wanted to come, just so we could practice the skills portion.

I worked on call as a CNA on nocs as a pt sitter/CNA in an acute facility. While the pay sucked, the experience gained was invaluable. I was also able to do homework at work because I worked nocs.

Then I attended LVN school and wasn't able to work except on rare occasions. I think the CNA experience and the prior RN prereqs really helped me do well in LVN school.

I graduated from LVN school and was able to find work in LTC. I used the following resources to study for the NCLEX: 2 - 3 wks prior to my test date, I did approx 2500 questions from kaplans test prep, the NCLEX mastery app and 1 other app. I passed with the minimum number of questions on 1st try.

I finished up my BSN prereqs, then took a full time LVN position while I awaited the date to apply to and attend an Lvn-RN bridge. This is the point I'm at in my journey. I took my teas as soon as I finished my prereqs and scored well above the minimum reqmt to apply for the bridge. I didn't really take time to study, but I did look through the official ATI teas book a time or 2. I think the fact that I completed all of my prereqs with A grades (for the most part) helped me to get the score I did.

If you are concerned about passing the teas, I recommend doing all the readings and exercises in the official teas book. As well as taking the 2 practice tests offered by ATI/teas

I plan to apply to the bridge next year and start the program later in the year. I hope I can find a way to balance part time Lvn work with attending the full time bridge. Lvn wages are sufficient to pay my bills if I work 2 shifts/wk. however, I look back on my experience in Lvn school and know working was not an option for me due to the heavy amount of school hours and homework.

After the bridge is complete, I'll apply to the RN-BSN bridge.


71 Posts

WOW this is an interesting post. I can't wait to read the replies it gets. I am going the exact same route as you. I'm currently in a CNA class and plan to get into the LVN program Spring of 2016 then go the LVN-RN bridge and get a BSN then MSN if I make it that far. I'm an older student (36) just beginning, so right now I would be ecstatic just being able to graduate from the LVN program. :)


82 Posts

Has 3 years experience.

I am in the middle of doing the same thing! I am in Virginia though. I started out with the CNA just to see if I would like the nursing world. LOVED IT. I went back and got my certification as a Registered Medication Aide, I can give medications, breathing treatments, minor wound care (like skin tears) give insulin, order medications from pharmacy... anyways.... I took all the nursing pre-reqs at my CC. I applied for the LPN program first because I have a little 2 year old baby boy and I have to take small steps to get where I want to be... I start my LPN class in January 2015 and finish in december 2015. Im excited. The health care company I work for pays tuition for the LPN and RN program and then RN to BSN it has at its hospital, so I can bridge over to RN school after a year of working as a LPN.

A&P is tough, but defiantly pay attention to the physiology part.. just take time to learn it long term, not just enough for the tests. Do not settle for a C.

CNA class is fun, the exam is easy, its just like the weekly tests, the skills test is easy also, just remember the steps.

Good Luck :)


4 Posts

Wow, missycrowell! It would be wonderful to find a company that would pay for my education/bridges; unfortunately, I don't think (or at least I haven't heard of or found) a company/clinic/hospital like that where I live. I wish you the best of luck with everything --- it sounds like you have a well laid out plan that will work in your favor!


4 Posts

Good for you, futureLVN40! The more I talk with people in the nursing profession, the more I learn and realize there are a multitude of options to take to get where you want to be in your career. I traveled to the Santa Cruz area this past weekend and was having dinner with my parents and boyfriend (talking about nursing school, of course) and a woman behind me finished her dinner, stood up, put her hand on my shoulder and said, "I overheard your conversation… I am a nurse… get your BSN!" Unfortunately, the program that I am planning on applying to chooses their future nursing students at random from the pool of applicants. They used to have about 1,000 applicants/semester; but, they have "redesigned" the program, so now applicants apply only once a year (in the spring) and they choose 40 students for the following Fall and Spring semesters. My friend got in on her 3rd try, but I have heard of students applying 7,8,9 times… so I am looking into Carrington, or a similar type college… I just don't know how reputable those types of colleges are --- and they're insanely expensive! Anywho, I hope you don't mind my rambling --- I wish you the best of luck in your education and a successful career!


4 Posts

Excellent information, vintagemother --- thank you for your post!