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Need helpful Advice LVN or RN route

Md2017 Md2017 (New) New

Hello there,

I'm a newbie and this is my first post. I'm going to start off with some general info. So that way I can get the best advice. I'm 26 and a single mommy of two boys ages 3 and 20 months:woot: yesss so I'm pretty busy. I work for Kaiser as a UA in the tele unit and I'm going to school. I have a limited support system and I'm curious whether I should take the LVN route just because I have all the pre reqs done or stick it out and start from bio to micro then apply to RN program(which is clearly a wait)... I just feel like most other people waiting that things aren't moving fast enough and I kind of want to get my feet wet and gain more experience, but some nurses tell me it's a waste of time; while others say go for it because I have little ones. I'm hoping this wasn't too confusing. I live in Northern California and I'm aware LVN's don't work in the hospital, but they do work in our clinics and I'd be okay with working in a clinic and then bridging into an RN program, but I just want to be smart. Thanks in advance everyone.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 15 years experience.

If you are set on entering the nursing profession via the LVN pathway, stick to an affordable program at a community college, adult education center or regional occupational program. Avoid the $30,000 programs at investor-owned schools.

Sour Lemon

Has 9 years experience.

Make sure that you have a realistic shot at employment is your market as a new graduate LVN. I'm in Southern California, but I know a few LVNs who have not managed to find nursing work, at all. One actually works as a telemetry monitor and one works as a unit clerk. They apply everywhere, but it's a tough market even for experienced LVNs.

New graduate RNs face challenges, as well, but they're at least a little better off- particularly with a BSN.

The clinic positions are going to be available in smaller numbers than inpatient, and the turnover may be much slower. They may utilize LVNs but are the numbers trying to get into one of those clinic positions higher than available openings?

It seems your question would be best answered internally if you're seeking to stay with Kaiser.

Everything said above is good advice. I am an LPN of 8 years and graduate with my RN this spring. There are pros and cons to both routes.

For starters, as mentioned above, definitely do your research in your area about how LPNs are utilized and if they are in demand. In my area there are because there are a lot of hospitals so most of the RNs are there and very few go into LTC. A big hospital system in my area that I work for often hires LPNs into ambulatory care. Specialty offices around here are usually staffed with MA's, LPN lead, then an RN over it all. I float to many different PCP offices and get paid on almost the same scale as LTC pay.

But in some areas doctor's offices only hire MAs, there may not be many hospitals, so you could be going up against RNs when applying for LTC.

Pros to doing LPN first:

- if you apply to an actual LPN-RN bridge program (and not just being merged in with traditional programs) there is far less competition so your chances of getting in sooner are greater.

- Its 12 months of schooling and your paid pretty decent

- you get out in the field faster and make connections that can assist you when you are ready to apply for RN jobs

- LPNs are mainly task orientated (in my state we cannot assess or triage technically) so you get comfortable with hands on patient care and interacting will all sorts of cultures, personalities, etc

- it allows you to get an idea if you actually want to continue on to RN which is obviously more time and money

- For me, RN school has been much easier than I would have imagined it would have been had I not been an LPN first


- when you bridge to RN, you most likely will have to re-do all pre reqs (unless your taking LPN at a community college) since most LPN programs are technical schooling now and credits rarely transfer

- it cost me more money to do LPN then RN in the long run than if I did just RN

- more narrow job market

- not as much room to grow professionally as an RN can meaning jobs like management, case manager, etc

All that said, I don't regret being an LPN first at all and I think in your situation it could be beneficial. For most single/childless people, doing LPN first I think can be a mistake due the extra money and time. I would rather just get it done if I were in that scenario. But with small children, it will allow you to bring in an income that can support your children and you can work on pre-reqs for RN after your licensed.

Thanks so much for all the comments, please keep them coming. I have a lot to think about. I was definitely planning on applying at my local jc definitely don't want to spend anything close to 30k on my LVN. I haven't really talked to any of the Kaiser LVN's I'm thinking I should when it comes to the hiring process it takes a lot of time in general to get into Kaiser. I do see a lot of positions, but I don't know how many LVN's are competing for the positions. It's quite possible that I may not get a position at Kaiser, but I wouldn't mind working elsewhere until I received my RN. It's unfortunate that we have so many new grads that can't get positions right away, I've heard that a lot from our RN's and a few new grads a lot are traveling out of state.