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LPN v ST v RN

Operating Room   (2,173 Views 8 Comments)
by Quiara Quiara (New Member) New Member

651 Profile Views; 5 Posts

I have the opportunity this year to go one of several routes. I can either do a one year program to become a surgical tech, a one year LPN program or 2 years (1 year LPN + bridge program) into an RN. I'm curious as to the pros and cons of each.

I've been considering the Surg tech route because it's really seems fascinating and there seem to be several opportunities with it, but there seems to be more diversity and more room to grow with an LPN or RN licensure. The one thing really causing me to lean toward ST is that my ACT score is 12 years old and I'd have to retake it as well as the NET for the nursing programs, whereas the ST program will consider the 32 I made before graduating high school. I have no qualms about retaking it, but it's just an added expense that I'd rather not deal with.

Is Surgical tech a dead-end job? Is it even remotely likely to becom a first assist with a ST background? (I'd really love that, I think.) Should I go for nursing? Any advice, thoughts, etc, would be gratefully welcomed. Thanks!

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GadgetRN71 has 10 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in Operating Room.

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I was an ST before I became a nurse. I loved my job, but the program I attended was way too expensive($24,000) and you don't have many options as an ST or LVN(not too many of those in the OR anymore). In my state, they do not recognize ST First Assists. Heck, many of the hospitals don't recognize RN first assists.

I paid $6000 for my RN and I have more options..the pay is better too. And in my hospital, all RNs are trained to scrub, so you get to do both.

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Thanks for the response!

The program I'm attending is a total of ~$8,000 for a one year program. It's about the same for an LPN, too. The only reason I'm considering the LPN over the straight RN is that this school will take a new LPN and fast track to an RN in a year -- making it a 2 year (total) program rather than the 3 years it would take if I simply entered the RN program. It's convoluted, I know, but it seems to make sense... And it would let me work as an LPN while in classes instead of the CNA I'm working on right now. (My goal is to pay for school as I'm going through and not have to carry any debt beyond what I already have)

I really appreciate the input. I know that this has been asked by others, but there were some things that weren't addressed in those posts and I know that the employment climate has changed some over the last 2 years.

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ShariDCST specializes in CST in general surgery, LDRs, & podiatry.

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thanks for the response!

the program i'm attending is a total of ~$8,000 for a one year program. it's about the same for an lpn, too. the only reason i'm considering the lpn over the straight rn is that this school will take a new lpn and fast track to an rn in a year -- making it a 2 year (total) program rather than the 3 years it would take if i simply entered the rn program. it's convoluted, i know, but it seems to make sense... and it would let me work as an lpn while in classes instead of the cna i'm working on right now. (my goal is to pay for school as i'm going through and not have to carry any debt beyond what i already have)

i really appreciate the input. i know that this has been asked by others, but there were some things that weren't addressed in those posts and i know that the employment climate has changed some over the last 2 years.

if you are truly fascinated by the surgical tech profession, then may i recommend that you visit the website for our professional organization, www.ast.org ? it will give you a good bit of information on the career possibilities, the profession in general, and the potential for growth and advancement on a nationwide basis. while witchyrn's facility teaches their rns to scrub, and uses them in that capacity, you'll find that's not the case everywhere. many places use their csts for scrubbing duties, as well as other related tasks, and the rns circulate, getting little to no scrubbing assignments or training. it's a financial thing mostly - they don't have to pay us as much as the rns, and only rns can circulate in most areas. other facilities use only rns because of their versatility in that they can do both - it's a facility choice.

the cst-cfa track (certified surgical technologist -certified first assistant) is also available if you're looking to become a first assist later on, because you have to have some experience under your belt first as a cst in order to pursue that avenue. there is a good bit of supervised and accredited advanced training involved before you can apply for the exam, and carry that title. many cfa's become private scrubs/assists for surgeons and make good money and have a very satisfying career doing it.

then there's the travel option as well, which is a good one after you've got a couple of years experience under your belt, and can lead you to many places you'd never thought possible before doing it.

many csts become sales reps for device manufacturers, and make an awesome living that way. i know several who have pursued this and now make more money than the nurses do!

at one place i where i worked, the entire spd/device supply department was headed up by a cst who had developed a physical disability that kept her from working in the ors anymore. if anyone has intimate knowledge of those particular items, it certainly is us!

as for me, i am now unable to continue my work as a cst due to a work-related permanent disability, so i am taking my skills in a new direction. i am currently pursuing my bachelors degree in health care management which i can get done in about 2 years, because of my previous work as a cst and my associates degree which will settle the requirements for the first two years of college. i can take my skills and knowledge from the past 15 years as a tech and put them in a new but related area.

there are many possibilities you can pursue - both as a cst and in nursing as well. i guess the final answer will have to come from you - where do you want it to go? take a look at all your options - whatever you decide, i wish you much luck and good fortune in pursuing it!

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Thank you so much. I've been to the AST site and read a lot, but I wanted to hear from people who'd been there and could tell me how much is "selling the profession" and how much is what's really out there.

Surgery interests me a great deal and becoming a first assist is really where my heart is, I think. Your answers help so much -- I just wanted to know if where my heart is is where the practical parts of my brain could hang out, too, y'know? ^_^

The money is not a huge concern to me, as long as I make enough to live. I really just want to help people and have a fascinating career. I talked to hospitals in the same city as my program and they love hiring new grads from my program, which is something I wanted to make sure of. And I checked job openings in the city I want to move to and contacted a few traveling agencies as well and they all have opportunities for scrub techs as well.

I'm so excited about the possibilities, but I'm also so new to the whole allied health side of things that I wanted to make sure my understanding of the possibilities and direction were on target. It's tough being a neophyte! ^_^

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269 Posts; 5,186 Profile Views

Be a CRNFA.

Get your 4-year BSN, go to the OR for 2 years and sit for the

CNOR. Then get your CRNFA. In my hospital, they will pay you for the entire FA fellowship under a group of surgeons. Most FAs work in the CVOR. You will have more flexibility if you choose the RN route.

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Marie_LPN, RN is a LPN, RN and specializes in 5 yrs OR, ASU Pre-Op 2 yr. ER.

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How hard is it to get an OR job as a new grad from a BSN program?

Depends on the facility. Some place will hire new grads, others want prior med-surg experience.

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