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Should I Get my LVN?

Nurse Beth   (135 Views | 2 Replies)
by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Columnist) Writer Innovator Expert Nurse

Nurse Beth has 30 years experience as a MSN and specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho.

18 Followers; 100 Articles; 233,948 Profile Views; 2,023 Posts

Dear Nurse Beth,

Here is my story-I have a BS in Microbiology (over 20 yrs out of field to raise kids). Got into an accelerated BSN program. Had to sell home, move, start program all in same month. Got sick and missed last 2 days of clinical-kicked out of program.

Then other issues-alcoholism, domestic abuse, helping aging parent and my divorce followed. My self-esteem and belief in my dream shattered. My science pre-reqs expired. I tried to go back & retake pre-reqs but had to drop and move in with friend to cut costs. I need a job ASAP.

Should I get my LVN so I can earn money and experience first? Then do LVN to RN program? Is it better to get ADN than the LVN 30 unit option to become an RN? I know the accelerated BSN was very stressful and very expensive (I am still paying). I have been trying to get work, but since I haven't worked in my field (along with my age), I haven't gotten anything. Also concerned because I am over 50 and am wondering if it is too late to become an RN.

Dear Needs Job ASAP,

You are not too old. The best option for a career in nursing is a BSN, but the quickest path to a paycheck is to get your LVN (licensed vocational nurse). If at all possible, go straight for the BSN program, but if not, here are some options.

LVN-to-RN 30 Unit Option

You could get your LVN and then take the LVN- to-RN 30 unit option. This program of study is a two semester long pathway to prepare LVNs for the NCLEX in California, but it does not award an Associate's of Science degree. You would be a licensed RN, but without a degree in nursing. Most  states outside of California do not recognize this status and will not issue a license.

The California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) may not allow you to change your status to ADN once you are licensed as a 30 unit option RN. Employment opportunities for a 30 unit option RN will be limited, as you will be competing with ADN and BSN prepared nurses.

Accelerated BSN

Another option, if you go the LVN route, is to then take your prerequisites for the RN program. Since you have a Bachelor's degree, you may (again) be eligible for an accelerated BSN program. Accelerated programs are designed for non-RN students who hold a Bachelor's degree in a field other than nursing. They are fast-paced and intense, as you know. You would complete 4 semesters in about 15 months. It would be difficult to work while in the program.

LVN-to-RN Bridge

You could also earn your LVN, take your RN prerequisites, apply to an LVN-to-RN bridge program and earn your ADN. LVN-to-RN bridge programs take a year to complete. From there you can work and earn your BSN. Many ADN nurses do this, and there are many flexible online BSN programs.

Doable

Either way you choose, your end point has to be a BSN. Once you practice a few years at the bedside, and once you are in your sixties, you will appreciate having career options available only to those with a BSN. For example, you could go into case management, Infection Prevention, Documentation Specialist, and more. 

There are many ways for you to accomplish your long-held dream. One of these paths is right for you. Whichever one you choose is a matter of finances, time, and doability for you.

Best wishes, 

Nurse Beth

Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!

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oncall4all specializes in microbiology, biotechnology.

2 Posts; 12 Profile Views

Thank you! Great advice & I appreciate your quick response as my classes start tomorrow 

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NRSKarenRN has 40 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion.

5 Followers; 10 Articles; 14,658 Posts; 161,712 Profile Views

I started a commuter college BSN program in 1973. My car died so without any public transportation to college, dropped out.  I worked nights as nurses aide in a nursing home in my hometown to make money along with teaching beginner organ student lessons. Met my husband and got married in 1975. His mother was an LPN, so she convinced me to consider that option as hubby felt he wouldn't see me much (for 3 years!!!)  as he rotated all 3 shifts. 

I am so glad I graduated  Sept 1977 as LPN and passed boards.  Chose a city teaching hospital that was so supportive of nursing students for my first position: LPN charge nurse night shift--- 26 patients with 2 aides assisting me in those days (normal for 1977). 

When 14 bed Respiratory/Vent unit opened in 1979, I jumped at chance as night charge LPN for smaller unit with more intensive care type patients.  As LPN, we could not hang blood, draw labs etc --so I always calling IV RN to assist. By then husband encouraged me to return to college to complete BSN degree  (to get paid for all I was doing), which I received  May 1982.  

So LPN to RN route may help you achieve your goal in a way you can best handle.   Best wishes in your nursing journey.

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