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CNA and MEPN questions =)

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by nursing_hopeful nursing_hopeful (Member) Member

1,479 Profile Views; 24 Posts

Hi there!

I have a Bachelors degree and am hoping to enroll in an MEPN. However, it looks like from all the posts that it's REALLY competitive. I don't have all the nursing pre-requisites yet so it'll take me a while to get there.

However, I was wondering if it would be helpful if I try to become a CNA in the meantime (so that I could actually work in the industry). I have NEVER worked or volunteered at a hospital before. I currently work in finance (:banghead: ) and would like to get into a hospital environment sooner rather than later.

Anyone else take this path or think this is a good idea?

Thanks so much!

Nursing_hopeful:typing

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14 Posts; 1,356 Profile Views

I noticed that you posted this a few months ago, but I am in the same boat. I just got laid off from a finance company, but I have always wanted to get into nursing. I thought I would never be able to do it while working full time and having a young son, but I feel like this is a good time to re-start my career in a new direction.

My college has a long wait list for the nursing program, so while I wait to be accepted, I am planning on completing a CNA course at my local Red Cross. I have a few friends who are nurses, and they recommend that as a good way to get your foot in the door, get experience, and find out if you really want to invest the years and years for a nursing education.

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2,487 Posts; 14,544 Profile Views

I have a Bachelors degree and I'm a CNA at the moment. I've just gone through the VN program and plan on applying to the LVN-RN program at any JC that will accept me. Do I recommend you taking the CNA course? ABSOLUTELY!. It will only help you get your feet wet, and you will learn so much as an aide. Excuse me, but I'm unfamiliar with MEPN, so I can't comment on that.

Right now community colleges and major universities are impacted for nursing. I'm a very impatient person when it comes to education so I opted to do the LVN first and then bridge to RN. At the time that I decided to go back to nursing I had to redo all my sciences because they expired. Well now, that college got rid of that rule sometime after they made me retake them. Since I had to retake all my sciences and even though I passed all of them with decent grades, the school will still take off points for retakes. Even though it was their stupid rule, they were going to take off points anyway. Your minimum science GPA had to be 2.7 overall. So even if I received all A's my GPA wouldn't be 4.0 it would have been 2.95 which is good because I can apply, but not good enough because others will have better science GPA's. That's the reason why I opted to do LVN first because they didn't look at my science GPA, all they cared about if I had some of my prerequisites done already, if not then I could take them in the program. I wanted to do straight RN, but couldn't. So if you have to do LVN first and then bridge over to RN I would do it. Don't just apply to the RN program, if you can apply to the LVN program. The RN program is very impacted and very competitive. If you really want to become a nurse I highly suggest that you look at all options. There is nothing wrong with LVN's. We learned so much in VN school, we did everything but push IV meds. We got IV certified at the expense of the school, but we still can't push IV meds. I have a friend who has been waiting to get into a RN program and she hasn't gotten in. She finished all her prerequisites before I entered the LVN program and has been applying to almost every program around and she still can't get in and her science grades are decent. Now I'm getting ready to bridge over to RN and she's still waiting to get into a RN program. Either way I will have my RN before she does. So keep that in mind when searching for a program.

Since you have a bachelors degree you also have the option to apply to ABSN but keep in mind that it might not be accepted everywhere. If you have plans to travel out of the country and work as a RN it might not be accepted. There are ELMSN programs out there and that's an entry level masters degree program. You can go that route too after you've completed all your prerequisites. Had I known that I would have done that first. But now you know it's out there for you.

So I started out as a CNA and am working my way up. That's my experience and I wish you all the best of luck in your nursing education. Starting at the bottom is a great way to work your way up. You will learn so much and you will learn to appreciate your CNA's once you're a nurse. I hope I was of help to you both. Good Luck and wishing you all the best!

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3 Posts; 738 Profile Views

I have been an RN for 10 years and will be graduating from a nurse practitioner program in a few weeks. MEPN programs are frowned upon by many experienced NPs, and potential employers. I've been offered jobs and told by the employers that they would never hire a MEPN. Plus most of the MEPN undergrads (RNs) that graduated 8 months ago can't find jobs. Nurse practitioners don't get a residency like MDs do, and in may aspects we are expected to perform the same things. So why would anybody want to blow through school so fast only to work in a job where people's lives are at stake? To me that is irresponsible. I'm not sure if you really know the role of an NP, but you are expected to function independently. The responsibility is huge, and missing the smallest detail can kill somebody. Being an RN is hard enough. You should master that role before you advance. That's why NPs are called "advanced practice nurses".

I go to school with MEPNs and guarantee that they cannot perform like us experienced nurses. They have not practiced in the real world, they only know what they learned in books, and they have minimal assessment skills. I have even been told this by my preceptors and teachers. Personally, I think the MEPNs are dangerous, and they take away our credibility as nurse practitioners. NPs are struggling against MDs for independence. The AMA says that we are not adequate to function independently, and I think placing inexperienced nurses in advanced level nurse posititions will only serve to show them that they are right. Trust me working as a CNA would help you a little in the RN position, but if you want help in the NP work as an RN first.

The other option is to become a PA. They are great, but have to work under the supervision of an MD. They get a lot of clinical experience in school, and do much the same things that NPs and MDS do. NPs are independent and PAs are not. What is it that sets us apart? Experience. Once again, if you have none why would you want to take on that kind of responsibility (no CNA does not count as experience in the NP role)?

Sorry to sound harsh, but because many universities make a lot of money from the MEPN programs I don't think that students are warned about this. No matter what you choose good luck!

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24 Posts; 1,479 Profile Views

Hi ac45289!

You didn't sound harsh at all! =) I appreciate your input.

Short story...when I was sitting in Anatomy class to fulfill a pre-req for Nursing school, I sat by a person who would draw comic book characters on his notebook during lecture (and would borrow my classmate's highlighters for coloring in); my classmate asked him why he was taking the class and he said he wanted to be a nurse. It made me nervous because I thought that if that guy could be a nurse, then he could be my nurse someday! (Luckily he dropped the class during our cat dissections.)

Anyway, I am also wary about the accelerated format of a nursing program since I hear studying nursing, not accelerated, is just as hard. The MEPN program I was looking at gave a person a 2 year waiting period between obtaining the BSN and MSN; however, I'm glad that you said that most employers don't accept graduates from these programs. That makes it easier on where I plan to go to school (though it may take a while since programs are so impacted...*SIGH* I wished I started on this before my 30s NOT during).

Questions for you: Is there a difference between a BSN (regular or accelerated) or an RN? How much volunteer work did you do before becoming an RN?

Thanks so much! :)

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3 Posts; 738 Profile Views

Hi Nursing Hopeful.

Waiting 2 years between RN and NP is a great policy which my school does not have. Which school is that?

An RN just means that you graduated from an accredited RN program and passed your boards. You can get an associates or BSN degree.

I volunteered in Central America in an orphanage and then as an RN in a free clinic among various other things, but that was before grad school. I didn't need any volunteer work for undergrad.

Take care.

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3 Posts; 621 Profile Views

I think it is a very good idea to become a CNA first this way u will know if u really want to be in the profession. However, the MEPN is very difficult, I know I just finished the program and wished I had CNA training first. The program I endured was mostly self taught with instructors giving very little instruction and were resentful of us because they did not feel we should receive the MSN before the actual RN License and treated us as though we were already nurses. Good Luck

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star77 has 4 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Emergency, Critical Care Transport.

219 Posts; 6,881 Profile Views

Most new grad RNs in general right now are having difficulty finding a job, MEPN or not. If you want to be a MEPN, go for it, but you should have a very clear idea of what you wish to do as an Advanced Practice Nurse (APN), and the only way to do that is to work with various APNs. Do you want to become a CNS? Do you know the difference between a CNS and an NP? What about the difference between the NPs - Family, Acute Care, Psychiatric, Pediatric, Pediatric Acute Care, Geriatric... what sort of setting would you like to work in eventually? A Trauma center, Family Planning Clinic, a rural reservation, an inner city hospital? These are questions you need to answer for yourself. As far as becoming a CNA, some of those skills will help you with floor nursing, but not so much as an NP. What it will help with is exposing you to inpatient care so you can decide if that's where you want to be. I was an EMT for 10 years before I became a MEPN, so I had extensive patient care experience, and that certainly helped me in pursuing my goals.

Now to address a different issue.

My post below has to do with the negativity regarding MEPNs from ac45289:

I beg to differ. I know and have worked with many APNs who were MEPNs and are exceptionally well-trained, from UCSF, Vanderbilt, University of Washington, etc. Because they are MEPNs does not mean they do not pursue excellent clinical experience, even if it's a year or two as an RN. The role of an RN and an NP are very different, and although I understand your concern for RN experience in becoming an NP, I take offense at this negative attitude. Personally, I think it is exactly this prejudice and "eat your young" mentality that undermines credibility among nurses. And I think it's irresponsible to state that MEPNs are going to undermine our credibility with the AMA. That statement is absolutely outrageous.

Congratulations at finishing your program. You definitely have worked hard to get where you are and should be proud of what you've accomplished. So should others who have completed an NP. I personally don't think being an excellent nurse has to do with being a MEPN or not - as the saying goes, "What do you call the person who graduates top of his/her med school class? Doctor. What do you call the person who graduates last in his/her med school class? Doctor." I personally think that training and excellence in care has more to do with the person behind the degree, not the degree itself. There are RNs I have met who have been in practice for 20 years whom I would never let lay a hand on me as an advanced provider - they are great as RNs, but I do not see the critical thinking skills in them that I think are necessary for an NP. Experience in and of itself DOES NOT prepare someone for an advanced practice degree, and to esteem that it does is a dangerous statement - and it is exactly this argument with which I disagree strongly.

I finished a MEPN program, and I'm a full-time ER nurse who will go back for an ACNP. I do not think I am "blowing through" anything. I feel like I received excellent training, with high acuity patients, and I am proud to have been a MEPN. It served me well, and allowed me to step into a busy Emergency Room as a new grad one year ago (something else that has been deemed anathema). I know that peers who are in their MSN years at UCSF are doing the exact same assessments as their non-MEPN cohorts, and I know they are going to be not only safe, but outstanding practitioners.

I have been an RN for 10 years and will be graduating from a nurse practitioner program in a few weeks. MEPN programs are frowned upon by many experienced NPs, and potential employers. I've been offered jobs and told by the employers that they would never hire a MEPN. Plus most of the MEPN undergrads (RNs) that graduated 8 months ago can't find jobs. Nurse practitioners don't get a residency like MDs do, and in may aspects we are expected to perform the same things. So why would anybody want to blow through school so fast only to work in a job where people's lives are at stake? To me that is irresponsible. I'm not sure if you really know the role of an NP, but you are expected to function independently. The responsibility is huge, and missing the smallest detail can kill somebody. Being an RN is hard enough. You should master that role before you advance. That's why NPs are called "advanced practice nurses".

I go to school with MEPNs and guarantee that they cannot perform like us experienced nurses. They have not practiced in the real world, they only know what they learned in books, and they have minimal assessment skills. I have even been told this by my preceptors and teachers. Personally, I think the MEPNs are dangerous, and they take away our credibility as nurse practitioners. NPs are struggling against MDs for independence. The AMA says that we are not adequate to function independently, and I think placing inexperienced nurses in advanced level nurse posititions will only serve to show them that they are right. Trust me working as a CNA would help you a little in the RN position, but if you want help in the NP work as an RN first.

The other option is to become a PA. They are great, but have to work under the supervision of an MD. They get a lot of clinical experience in school, and do much the same things that NPs and MDS do. NPs are independent and PAs are not. What is it that sets us apart? Experience. Once again, if you have none why would you want to take on that kind of responsibility (no CNA does not count as experience in the NP role)?

Sorry to sound harsh, but because many universities make a lot of money from the MEPN programs I don't think that students are warned about this. No matter what you choose good luck!

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