LPN or CNA

  1. Hi everyone,

    I am about to finish my first semester of nursing school. Woohoo! Needless to say it has been tough, but I have loved it. I am in an ADN program with opportunities to bridge for our BSN. I have already applied to a BSN program, just waiting to hear back.

    Long story short I wanted to get the opinion of experienced nursing students. I just learned I will be eligible to sit for my LPN license in my third semester. I have never worked as a CNA before, but I have my license. My background is 10 years as a pediatric ophthalmic tech. I just wondered which experience would be more beneficial, the LPN or CNA or experience? I'm sure they both have their pros and cons. Thanks for your input!

    May the force be with you
  2. Visit EdVedder profile page

    About EdVedder

    Joined: Nov '17; Posts: 11; Likes: 4
    from CO , US

    7 Comments

  3. by   Wiggly Litchi
    Both have their perks - but I'd say that LPN would be more beneficial as out of the two as it has the larger scope of practice.

    As a CNA I've become the master of ADLs and time management (I wish), and depending on where I worked, I have been reduced to nothing more than a housekeeper. Sure, there was still some good to come out of such a limited scope (increased confidence when dealing with pts), but it left me bored because I knew that I was capable of so much more.
    If you get some part time work in as an LPN, I feel like you'd get the greatest benefit from that as you'd actually get to do some nursing. You'll get to put what you've learned so far into practice a bit sooner, and the increased immersion-time will likely help you to retain all that you've learned so far. ...Plus the pay's a heck of a lot better, too.
  4. by   EdVedder
    Thanks for your input! I was thinking the same thing since LPNs can pass meds and do more assessing. Thanks again!
  5. by   Double-Helix
    Depends on the job market in your area. Do LPNs find jobs pretty readily? Exactly how much time will you have left in the program when you are eligible to take the exam? How quickly does the BON move in your state?

    If you have to apply for licensure, wait for the ATT, take the NCLEX-PN, wait for your license to be issued, apply for jobs, wait for an offer, then complete orientation, you may be done your ADN program by the time you're working on your own. Are LPNs able to get jobs in the same facilities where you would want to work as an RN? If so, than the timeline may not matter so much if you could transition to an RN position with the same company. However, if acute care is your goal and LPNs primarily get hired in clinics and LTC, your experience may not be as beneficial to your careee goals as a CNA position on the floor where you want to be an RN.
  6. by   drd18
    Quote from Double-Helix
    However, if acute care is your goal and LPNs primarily get hired in clinics and LTC, your experience may not be as beneficial to your careee goals as a CNA position on the floor where you want to be an RN.
    I agree!! LPNS can not work in hospitals in my area. Internal applicants get first consideration for our new grad programs. It's common for our CNAs to transfer to the new grad program and have a great paying, acute care RN position literally right after they pass their boards. No long waiting period, or extra physicals/drug tests etc. Just training and orientation as soon as their transfer is approved! So in a scenario like this, if finding an RN position quickly and in your first choice hospital is your goal, then working as a CNA somewhere you would want to stay may be the most beneficial.

    Some things you can do to make up that lesser pay as a CNA is do per diem, nights, or float pool
  7. by   drd18
    ALSO, I'd like to add a bit of advice that was given to me! Someone in a similar position reminded me that it's common for real world nursing practices to vary widely from what we learn in school. So, she advised that working as a LPN while still in RN school can sometimes implement "bad habits" that make it hard to study for tests. She explained she would be in a test or simulation and mix up what the "textbook" answer was, and what the "real world" answer was. This may have been an isolated experience though and other experienced nurses could speak on this better. But some food for thought
  8. by   EdVedder
    You have so many good points! I would like to work in acute care at a hospital and I do not think they hire LPNs. Thank you!
  9. by   drd18
    Quote from EdVedder
    You have so many good points! I would like to work in acute care at a hospital and I do not think they hire LPNs. Thank you!
    Of course!! Truly any experience you can get in a hospital will be beneficial. I started as a front desk and soo many nurses and staff were eager to help me and answer any questions I had since they knew I'm about to start my program. People have gave me their numbers, offered their old textbooks, etc. Either route you go will make you a better RN!

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