Is 46 to old for LVN program and worth it?

Posted
by Bettyboop_girl Bettyboop_girl (New) New Student

I am 46 years old and looking to start my second career as I have always wanted to be a nurse but life got in the way. Now that my kids are all grown I’m looking to finish my dream. I finished all my pre req and got my associates degree but living in California all the ADN programs are so impacted where I live and I cannot afford to keep applying and can’t afford to not work for two years at this time. I really want to get my foot in the door and I hear mixed reviews on LVNs. I know it’s a bit of money but at least I can get in now and start a career in the field I want then later go for BSN. I guess I’m just curious is 46 to old to go to LVN and is it a good step ??? Any older nurses out there with advise. 

Sour Lemon

Has 12 years experience. 5,016 Posts

It's hard to say if something is worth "it" without knowing what "it" is.

What would you be giving up? What are your alternatives? How much would you be spending?

From what I've seen, LVN is not a great option in California, but where you're at in California probably matters. And why is it your dream to be a nurse? Dreams and reality can be very different from one another.

JBudd, MSN

Specializes in Trauma, Teaching. Has 41 years experience. 1 Article; 3,836 Posts

No, it is not too old.  I've had nursing students in their late 50s, and at least one over 60.  He got hired by my hospital, after doing clinicals there.

What is your associate's degree in?  Here, LVNs are LPNs, (semantics), but most work in long term care, my hospital doesn't currently hire LPNs.  They laid off most of them in the 80s.  Now there is talk of hiring again, our local community college has never given up their LPN program (it is an class offered for dual credit in a local high school).

Your employment opportunities may be limited, depends on where you are and if willing to relocate.  If you really want to do it, you may have to just keep applying.  Many student nurses hold down jobs at the same time, not easy, but they don't let it stop them.  There are scholarships and financial aid programs out there.  So, how badly do you want to be a nurse?  Are your prereqs still good (not over 5 years old)? 

Age isn't the deciding factor here ?

 

Bettyboop_girl

Bettyboop_girl

4 Posts

Thank you for your response. I have an associates in health science and all my sciences are  just in the last two years. Here where I live in CA, Orange County, there are a lot of jobs for LVN s. The community colleges where I live are overwhelmed with ADN applications so it’s just so competitive to get in. This has been my dream since 18 as you can see I’ve put it off for a few . I just want to get my foot in and start working in the field I believe I am called for. I was hoping to go straight to ADN then BSN but that route is not working right now unfortunately so figured I would start with lvn and work up later .  I guess sometimes I look at all the younger students and think would I’d be marketable and be able to compete with all the young ones in nursing. It’s nice to know there is a range of ages and I’m not the only one crazy enough to start a second career and go for my dreams . May not be the first path I wanted but I’m tired of waiting and really want to get my foot in the door of nursing . 

JBudd, MSN

Specializes in Trauma, Teaching. Has 41 years experience. 1 Article; 3,836 Posts

Some places prefer older new grads, just on the assumption they are more mature in their work habits, etc.

Sour Lemon

Has 12 years experience. 5,016 Posts

On 1/31/2021 at 12:39 PM, Bettyboop_girl said:

 Here where I live in CA, Orange County, there are a lot of jobs for LVN s.

I am also in Orange County and have the opposite impression, especially with regard to new graduates. Proceed with caution.

My hospital is actually hiring a bunch of LVNs right now due to covid-related staffing demands. I suspect they'll be unceremoniously let go as things return closer to normal ...as they were several years ago right before the holidays.

 

neuron

neuron

Has 5 years experience. 551 Posts

On 1/29/2021 at 2:10 PM, Bettyboop_girl said:

I am 46 years old and looking to start my second career as I have always wanted to be a nurse but life got in the way. Now that my kids are all grown I’m looking to finish my dream. I finished all my pre req and got my associates degree but living in California all the ADN programs are so impacted where I live and I cannot afford to keep applying and can’t afford to not work for two years at this time. I really want to get my foot in the door and I hear mixed reviews on LVNs. I know it’s a bit of money but at least I can get in now and start a career in the field I want then later go for BSN. I guess I’m just curious is 46 to old to go to LVN and is it a good step ??? Any older nurses out there with advise. 

I don't think you should let age get in the way. I know nurses in their 70's, may not be running like the other nurses, but their heart is there. That is all that matters. So, you could still be a nurse for another 20 years. I say it's worth it, if you take your limitations I.e. you may not have the same job opportunities as an RN. I also know another nurse who is 69 and wants to get her RN. I say as long as you are living, don't let anyone stop you from meeting your goals. 

 

Edited by fibroblast

Possible Career Changer

Possible Career Changer

Specializes in no nursing experience, potential career changer. 19 Posts

Hi Bettyboop_girl,

We are kind of in the same boat. I am 46, an elementary school teacher, and have been thinking about nursing forever. You are in OC; I am in LA. I am male, although I guess that doesn't matter much.  One thing I have noticed is that almost every RN is going to dissuade you from becoming an LVN - whether or not LVN is just one step to becoming an RN for you or not. So take an RN's advice about becoming an LVN worth a grain of salt. They do tend to think they are superior to LVNs, so of course they are going to tell you not to become one. In OC, it is now common for major hospitals to hire LVNs and even new-grad LVNs. This is also common in LA county nowadays. Your options as an LVN (LPN elsewhere) are not as limited as in other states. Also, in CA LVNs can do IVs with extra certification, which is not the case in many other states. So, do not let an RN from outside CA tell you not to become an LVN. At our age, time is of the essence. Also, if you wait years to get into and then complete an ADN at a community college, you, as a new grad RN, will be competing for jobs with new grad BSNs, and you know how that story will end already. Why hire a new grad ADN when they can hire a new grad BSN? These are the reasons why, for us, at our age, LVN is a good alternative. Get work experience as a nurse, then go for your RN later - if you want. If not, LVNs in OC make $65k easily - or more. Have you looked into the North County ROP LVN program? It is about half the cost of the many private school LVN programs in OC. Best of luck to you! 

Edited by Possible Career Changer

neuron

neuron

Has 5 years experience. 551 Posts

On 4/20/2022 at 11:48 AM, Possible Career Changer said:

Yor options as an LVN (LPN elsewhere) are not as limited as in other states. Also, in CA LVNs can do IVs with extra certification, which is not the case in many other states. 

Actually in many other states, you do not need an I.V. certification as an LVN  to do IV's. In Ca, you do need an I.V. cert. So CA is more limited. Also many RNs that I know, do not think they are superior to LVNs but the opportunities for RNs are many more. 

FiremedicMike

FiremedicMike, RN, EMT-P

Specializes in ED RN, Firefighter/Paramedic. 317 Posts

RN Student here (2 more weeks to go!).  My input comes from watching my wife's struggles and irritations as an LPN for 15 years.  When she went to LPN school, it was with that same approach of "well this is faster to money and I'll get my RN later".

It can be incredibly difficult to find time to do RN later and takes a significant amount of support and discipline to succeed in RN school while working full-time as an LPN.  Her job opportunities are limited and her scope of practice is limited.  She worked LTC care for the last 14 years which she hated but it was her on of the very few options she had.  Within the last few years, the local hospitals have started hiring LPNs again and she currently works as an LPN in a local ER.  She loves it much more than LTC, but still feels frustrated because many days she feels like a glorified tech.

Our collective opinion is that we wished she had bit the bullet and done RN from the get-go.

YMMV

Possible Career Changer

Possible Career Changer

Specializes in no nursing experience, potential career changer. 19 Posts

Very good points, indeed! Your wife is an LPN, not an LVN, so you do not live in California, where on average the wait-list for an affordable community college ADN program is two or more years, though. Of course, there are private schools here that will gladly charge you $80,000 tuition for an ADN program without a wait list, but obtaining that amount of debt that isn't a smart move for a person in their 40s.

My point is, getting an LVN first, then obtaining valuable work experience as a nurse - even quite possibly at an acute-care hospital nowadays - puts one in a better position to land a job as a new-hire RN with an ADN, as opposed to a new-hire ADN without any nursing experience at all. I agree it with you that will be close to impossible to work full-time as an LVN during an RN program. Get the work experience as an LVN on your resume, then quit and become a full-time RN student whenever (if ever) you get off the wait-list. Then you'll stand out more in a pool of ADN RN applicants with only non-nursing jobs on their resume. 

FiremedicMike

FiremedicMike, RN, EMT-P

Specializes in ED RN, Firefighter/Paramedic. 317 Posts

57 minutes ago, Possible Career Changer said:

Very good points, indeed! Your wife is an LPN, not an LVN, so you do not live in California, where on average the wait-list for an affordable community college ADN program is two or more years, though. Of course, there are private schools here that will gladly charge you $80,000 tuition for an ADN program without a wait list, but obtaining that amount of debt that isn't a smart move for a person in their 40s.

My point is, getting an LVN first, then obtaining valuable work experience as a nurse - even quite possibly at an acute-care hospital nowadays - puts one in a better position to land a job as a new-hire RN with an ADN, as opposed to a new-hire ADN without any nursing experience at all. I agree it with you that will be close to impossible to work full-time as an LVN during an RN program. Get the work experience as an LVN on your resume, then quit and become a full-time RN student whenever (if ever) you get off the wait-list. Then you'll stand out more in a pool of ADN RN applicants with only non-nursing jobs on their resume. 

Correct, not California.  In fact we had a group exit interview with our program leadership a few weeks ago where they said they haven't even filled all seats since the beginning of COVID.

Sounds like you're going into this with a good amount of information.  Your age isn't a factor beyond prepping for being exhausted (I started ADN at 40). 

Last thing I'll add - I can't speak for pay rates in California and whether you can make a living on LPN/LVN pay, but where I am, LPNs are making between 34k-58k and >50k is really in top percentile of salaries.  It would be difficult (but not impossible) to make a solo living on those salaries in this area..