Need Guidance - Which Path to Take? Please Help!


Hello to all of you fabulous nurses and students on! :) I recently came across this site and have found it to be an amazing source of information, but I still have some very important unanswered questions.

I just finished up my first semester of Pre Health and have been accepted into the Practical Nursing program at a local college for September. If I decide to go into Practical Nursing I won't have to finish semester two of my Pre Health, as I have already finished the requirements set for that program.

This leads me to Option #1 - I work at the college until September and go into Practical Nursing in September. The benefit of this would be that I could work throughout the summer and save to buy a car to get me to and from placement come school time. The downside to this is that I will be entering into the Practical Nursing Program and not the RN Program and will have to bridge later on, as I would love to be an Operating Room nurse one day. If I decide to get my RN afterwards, I could bridge and get my RN within 5 years time.

Option #2 involves continuing into semester two of my Pre Health program in order to "maybe" get into the RN program at a local university. I have been told by the Registrar that because I started my Pre Health in January they will not have my final grades until the end of August and it is likely that there will not be any seats left for me at that time. I can risk it and continue in my Pre Health program with hopes that I may get accepted but chances are slim. This would involve taking Chemistry ll and Biology ll and only being able to work minimal hours during that time. This means not having the money to purchase a car and I may not get into the program.

Option #3 - I continue onto semester 2 of Pre Health, completing my pre reqs to get into an RN program and see if I get accepted into the school listed above in Option #2. If I do not get it I would wait another year, working and saving up money for a car and taking classes to alleviate my workload for the RN program that I would be going into in a year. It will take me 5 years to get my RN by taking this path.

My question for all of you wonderful nurses out there is, which route do you think is better? I am very eager to get started and have a very high average. I am leaning more towards getting started right away by taking Practical Nursing. I also feel that I may be better suited as a college student in a more hands on environment, as it would allow me to "get my feet wet" and bridge to an RN later. What are your thoughts on this? Another reason why I'm leaning more towards this path is because I have heard that RNs are losing jobs across Ontario and that RPNs may one day have a higher chance of getting them over RNs. Can anyone offer me some insight on this? I would hate to wait and take the RN program only to find out that I should have done the RPN because I no longer have the job security I was looking for.

My ultimate goal is also to work in the Operating Room. Do RPNs work in operating rooms or are they most often limited to LTC facilities and Med/ Surg. floors? I have no nursing experience at this time so I cannot say if working in those areas is something that interests me. I have always imagined myself in the OR, ER, or ICU. Any input/ help in these areas would be GREATLY appreciated. I have to make my decision soon, as semester 2 starts in 2 weeks. It seems that I am changing my mind daily as to which path I should take and really need some guidance from nurses who have been through what I'm going through or can help me make my decision. Thank you in advance for all of your support! :redpinkhe


2 Posts

Hi Cinnybun,

I am in the same sort of situation. I called one of several local community colleges to check the statistics on how many LVN's (Licensed Vocational Nurse) are accepted into the RN program. One college said, that no one was accepted until recent history. She stated that LVN's must pass a "Challenge" test, to determine if the skills of the LVN are at the same level as the 1st yr RN student, and that, almost, no one passes. On the other hand, Chabot College, which is in CA, said that they accept LVN's frequently, however, they have noticed that maybe 1 or 2 people complete the LVN to RN program.

I thought that it would be a good idea to become an LVN, to get the ball rolling, instead of waiting for lottery results when over 1000 people apply and roughly 80 people get selected. That is a 8% chance of getting in. However, I am reconsidering the LVN to RN idea. I thought it made sense, start lower and gain experience and then apply to the RN program, but if almost no one gets in or the very few people that do get in do not complete the program, what is the point.

Has anyone successfully completed an LVN to RN program? If so, how difficult was it? Did you feel like you were catching up, or did the education that you received as an LVN provide you with a solid foundation in nursing?

Please advise ;-)


25 Posts

I'm currently in a LVN-RN bridge program in Texas, I started last Fall 2009, and if God so decides, I will finish this Fall 2010. I became a LVN ( Licensed Vocational Nurse) in 2005, I've been working for a very well known hospital for about 3 yrs now, before then I worked in LTC for a brief period, currently I practice more in urgent medicine at the hospital I work for,in their float pool; which gives me more flexibility with school. Honestly, I have not been too stressed with classes or clinicals, and I believe it's because i'm an LVN. Clinicals were not too challenging, the Med-Surg class, a little , only because the exams came quickly and I did'nt have much time to study, because of work and family. I too was in the same situation in 2005, I was going to apply for a RN program, but found-out I was pregnant at the time, so I decided to pursue my LVN. I do not regret the decision, because it has empowered me even more, especially with RN school. I feel being an LVN, really prepared my for the critical thinking of RN school, because as a nurse LVN/LPN or RN , YOU MUST POSESS CRITICAL THINKING ! Also, having experience as a LVN, really helped with assessing patients more throughly or recognizing when something is going wrong or improving. I you go to a very good LVN/LPN school that really takes the time and investment with their students, and of course being a very dedicated to learning the nursing knowledge, you will be successful anywhere you go. RN school, in my opinion, just adds on to the knowledge and refreshes/refines your skills. Yes, will learn new challenging skills and information, but you will be able to aquire it more efficiently, because you'll have the nursing background. Make the best decision for your current situation, you need a car, get the car first, because you'll need it for clinicals and school, and continue to work towards the ultimate goal.