Planning my future...need guidance from the wise


I am coming here because I hope that I might be able to get some guidance.

I am a 30something single mother to two young girls. I recently completed my LNA certification and have yet to find even a per diem job. It seems that everyone-nursing homes, hospitals and agencies-wants experience. I have opened up my job search to include working as a pharmacy tech at Rite Aid(I figure that the position is in the healthcare).

At this point I am looking at two career paths. The first would be nursing. I like medicine and promoting healthy living. I was thinking of beginning an LPN course in Fall 2010(RN has a 2-3 year wait list so forget it). The course I will enter is 2 years(summers off) and is an hour's drive from my house. I would not be able to go to school, work and take care of the kids. I just don't see how it could happen. I know that I would qualify for grants, but would they be enough to support my kids and I while I am in school? Could I get student loans as well?

I am also hesitant because it seems that no new grads can find a job these days. LNAs or LPNs, that is. Maybe RNs are in a better place? Also, few nurses here appear to be happy with their chosen profession. It seems like everyone is afraid of being sued, overworked, screwed over, fighting with management....

On the flip side, being a 30something single mom, I know that I won't be the only one of my species in nursing school, kwim? Unlike my other career path which is....

Pharmacy school. A program in my area requires 57 credits of various classes but not a BA/BS. I could earn most of those credits online(within 2 years) and then start the accelerated PharmD program(34 months). I know I could make good money as a pharmacist but, again, are those jobs plentiful? And will I find camraderie in my class? Most pharmacists I know are male and tend to be younger...

What should I do?


20 Posts

Specializes in Hyperbarics. Has 15 years experience.

I don't know where you live, in the mountain west there are plenty of jobs for both. Stick with the LPN/LVN option. Find a school where you can get it done in year. The issue with CNA or LNA is that the scope of practice is so limited. As quicky as you can get into a LVN program. Look into temp nursing registries, grab some books, like........"the NCLEX PN Review made incredibly easy" and start to learn, get a A and P book and learn how to speak medicine, learn your nursing shorthand, how to read charts, etc, learn learn learn. It will that much easier on you as a mother to get thru school......the other options in my opinion don't have much earning power. :o


42 Posts

Specializes in trauma, critical care. Has 10 years experience.

I enjoy being a nurse. It is a great profession. Remember, this a forum where nurses can express their concerns and frustrations. Quite often, it is place to vent. And, like most things in life, we tend to dwell on the bad stuff. Don't confuse letting off a little steam with disliking our chosen career.

Jobs are tight right now, but that is because of the larger economy. As the economy rebounds, nursing jobs will become more plentiful. Also, the economic downturn did nothing to abrigate the projected nursing shortfall. Many new graduates feel cheated because they are beginning their careers in such a tough environment, but in five or ten years, if they stick with it, things will look really good for them.

As an LPN your options will be more limited. That's just how it is. If you want potential for professional growth and more job options, you probably need to look toward getting your RN. But, you mentioned the idea of becoming a pharmacist appeals to you. Pharmacist are very much in demand. There is also a projected shortfall of pharmacists. These well respected professionals have a lot of options in their careers. They also make a lot of money! I love nursing, but, if I had it to do over, I may well have become a pharmacist.


15 Posts

Find a school where you can get it done in year.

Honey, I wish I could. There is one other LPN program that is 18 months and requires you to jump through a million hoops. The 2 year program does not.


81 Posts

One of my female family members went to pharmacy school and just graduated last May. She had a few jobs lined up before she even graduated and eventually went with Wal-Mart starting out at $120k. School is very competitive and is pretty hard, so you'll have to be vigilant while doing your pre-reqs. I don't think working through pharmacy school would be easy, but you should qualify for loans. As far as camraderie in class, I know she got along well with most people in her program. She was far from the only female in her graduating class as well.

Personally, if I liked chemistry at all I'd probably go with pharmacy. The money is great and it's not hard work.. but that's pretty much the only thing that I think is appealing about it. As much as I like the sound of having oodles of money, I don't think it would be worth in the end. I don't think I'd feel very satisfied filling prescriptions for the rest of my life. Of course, there are different things you can do besides count pills.. but yeah, not interested in the least.

What I like about nursing is that it's so versatile. There are so many paths to choose from, and ways to get there... Even if you start out as an LPN, you can do a RN bridge program while you work. You can continue your education if you like or not, depending on what you want to do. Some APNs make similar salaries to pharmacists as well and the amount of school is the same.

It sucks cause right now the job market for new grads is pretty rough and no one knows if it'll be any better in two years. If it's what you REALLY want to do though, I wouldn't let that stop you. Even if you get your LPN and can't find a job, you could start working towards your RN. The total time you spend in school for it wouldn't be any different from the time you'd be spending in pharmacy school.

You should qualify for loans for either program, so hopefully they will give you enough to support both you and your kids. I think, in the long run, the best choice would be going with what you're most interested in.


20 Posts

Specializes in Hyperbarics. Has 15 years experience.

Like I said B 4. I am not getting the no jobs issue. There are plenty of jobs here in the mountain west and in California. Nurses are being imported from Canada and Mexico to fill jobs. I forgot to mention that most RN programs are very strict and if you have a family issue and start to fall will be kicked out and getting back in a program after that will be very hard.

The LVN is do-able and after you are working you can transition to RN without the stress of failing. There is allot to learn so choose wisely and don't over extend yourself. Remember you are going to have 20 year old's in your program that have no worries with mommy and daddy's money to fall back on, just because you have kids will not buy you any sympathy from a RN program. LVN is not that bad and you will get a job, at least here in the west you will.

I have heard that the south is sketchy as far as jobs go, like is said I don't know what region you live in. It sound to me like you already know what you need to do to make it work for you with the dynamics of motherhood,

so advice would be try and get it done as soon as possible. If you really feel bold......look into Florida Keys Community College.