Need Advice-Nursing


So I am a young 46 and finally decided to pursue my RN - problem is I have no college credits and I am starting out new. I have to work at least a part time job while attending. I know online courses are not good for me because of the failure rate. I need advice as to MAYBE on online school to start. I've looked into so many nursing programs, is there an option to start into a "lower" position and then move up into RN?

Specializes in Critical Care, Education. Has 35 years experience.

One step at a time. Check with local schools of nursing to find out what pre-requisite classes you need. Then, begin taking your nursing pre-requisite courses at a Community College. They are reasonably priced & geared to adult learners so you're likely to find many courses in the evening. This will get you back into "learning mode". You may surprise yourself by discovering that you are a much better student than you were in High School.

There are essentially 3 different levels of "nursing". Certified Nurse Aids are employed in most types of patient care settings. CNA training is not very long, and they become "certified" (not licensed) by passing a written test at the end of the training. Their role is to assist the licensed nurses by providing direct patient care.

The next level is Licensed Practical Nurses or LPNs (called LVN in CA & TX). In order to become an LPN, you have to complete an approved (by your state Board of Nursing) educational program. Many of these programs are technical, and do not include any transferable "college credits", so it's important to know this up front. Upon completing the educational program, students are eligible to take the NCLEX-PN so that they can become licensed. LPNs have a directed scope of practice, in that they must be directly supervised by RNs, NPs, PAs or physicians.

The third tier is Registered Nurses. This is a bit confusing because there are multiple types of pre-licensure educational programs (Diploma, ADN, BSN, MSN-entry). But everyone takes the same NCLEX. RN scope of practice is autonomous - do not need direct supervision. In many settings, RNs are responsible for supervising CNAs and LPNs.

So, you can "advance" from one level to the next, but you'll have to obtain more formal education each time. There are some programs specifically designed to streamline the educational process (e.g., LPN-RN) but they may not save much time or money. Advancement can't be done with on the job training. Taking a step-wise approach will add a lot more time & cost to the process.

Buyer beware, BSN

1,137 Posts

Specializes in GENERAL. Has 40 years experience.


Yes. But never lose sight of the bottom line. Cost is what will make you or break you. The community college route is the best, most cost effective way to go by far.

Don't get involved with the minutiae of having to decide what designation (title) of nurse you want to be. But cut to the chase and since you are just starting out with school, taking preliminary courses, it will do you no harm to set your sites on obtaining a BSN.

Who knows maybe one day the pathetic ANA will issue another "white paper" as they did in 1965 recommending that the BSN as the minimum academic credential for entry into the nusing profession. Then you'll be ready.

But since everyone's set of circumstances may be different, just be cautious when selecting any school. Things have changed in academia from when you first went to school and today education in many instances has become a predatory market with you as the, guess what?

pmabraham, BSN, RN

2 Articles; 2,560 Posts

Specializes in Hospice, Palliative Care. Has 3 years experience.

I started working on the prerequisites for a RN program at age 50 at a local community college where they also have a RN program. I applied, and was accepted; I'm currently in my 4th semester (now age 53).

While I've taken online classes for prerequisites (I'm currently taking a humanities class online as a prerequisite for my BSN), they require the same skill sets for doing well on campus and during clinicals: discipline, focus, time management.

Keep in mind that in order to take the NCLEX-RN, you just need to graduate from an applicable diploma program, an associate degree program, or a BSN program that is approved by the BON as well as have the associated clinical hours that you typically get during the RN program.