Wanna know what an LPN license can get you?

When I received nearly $325,000 dollars in scholarship money, people stopped asking me why I got my LPN license.


Wanna know what an LPN license can get you?

People used to ask me why I "settled" and went to a vocational school to become an LPN, instead of going to a traditional college and becoming a "real nurse." I always had a list of potential answers running through my mind when that happened:

✔️ I do the exact same thing an RN does at my job with absolutely no variation.

✔️ I train both new grad RN's and BSN's, and have discovered that in my field, experience and competence are more valuable than the initials at the end of my name.

✔️ I work with babies, which is pretty damn cool (turns out I like them better than many adults).

✔️ I have an incredibly flexible schedule that allows me to continue my education.

✔️ The pay is much, much better than when I was the drive-thru girl at Taco Bell.

✔️ I took on 11 months of school and no debt to make sure nursing was what I wanted, rather than 2-3 years and a boatload of loans.

✔️ This Microbiology test isn't hard. My six-month old vent-dependent patient went into respiratory distress last night, and I guided them through it. That was tough. I eat micro exams for breakfast!

✔️ Vocational school helped me develop study/homework skills, so that when I entered traditional college, I got easy A's.

✔️ In Honors classes revolving around theory, I could speak about practical application in real life situations.

✔️ When scholarship time rolled around, I wasn't simply a student who wished to change the world. I was already actively changing the world.

So many students apply to awards because of who they want to be, whereas I could apply because of who I already am. When I had to write numerous essays, personal statements, and narratives about myself and my future dreams, I had so many compelling stories to tell about my job as an LPN. When asked about community service, volunteer work, or past experience performing good deeds for others, I got the opportunity to explain how such things weren't simply extracurriculars to me, but rather an integral part of my day to day life as an LPN.

Those people who used to ask me why I "settled" and went to a vocational school to become an LPN, instead of going to a traditional college and becoming a "real nurse?" These days, I don't need to tell them anything. Because I was awarded $124,500 dollars to complete my bachelor's degree, and $200,000 dollars for any graduate school I choose. Not because I was a traditional student (I came from one of those schools, a vocational school for people who weren't "good enough" for regular college). Not because I did well in high school (I dropped out at 15). Not because I was cookie cutter (I've got a dirty mouth, a sarcastic streak a mile wide, and I wear jeans and red converse to business casual events). Not because I had special advantages (as an older student, I had to fight for every opportunity, knock on many doors, and annoy professors into letting me take on special projects). I received all of this because of my work as an LPN and the way it made me stand out among other students when I transitioned back into traditional college.

So don't let anyone tell you this is a road for people who "settle" or don't have what it takes to hack it at a "real" college. You have no idea where an LPN license will lead you, or the impact you will have on the world because of it.

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49 Posts

Has 2 years experience.

As a future LPN I find this very inspiring. Thank you for sharing this. :cat:


14 Posts

Best post I have read thus far. First congratulations to you! :) I also chose to become an LPN first for many reasons. No waiting, less time and to see if I really wanted to be a nurse. I figured my family would only have to sacrifice for one year and that I would be in a better position financially if and when I decided to get my RN license. LPN school was not easy by a long shot, it was hard work and I would not trade in the experience for anything. I know some outstanding LPN's who know their job and are good at it. I am proud to be one. Yes, I too am going back to school for my RN and I consider being an LPN a bonus.


1 Post

Specializes in pediatric. Has 5 years experience.

I am proud to be an LPN. I went back to school at 40 something to receive my practical nursing degree. I had worked in the medical field in many different positions beginning with check in/check out. Eventually I worked my way up to office manager. All the while I went to night school to get my phlebotomy license so that I could help out the lab tech during the early morning rush (This was a very small office in which I worked). At times over the years I would have to fill in for a nurse here and there. That is when my interest in nursing began. After 2+ years as office manager I decided nursing was the career I wanted to pursue. I live in a semi-rural area and about the only RN positions available are in the hospital. I knew I did not want to work in the hospital setting and that I did want to work in a medical office. I was hired as a staff nurse in a pediatric office and found that I loved this position. Therefore I never had the desire to pursue an MSN, RN degree. In addition I know several LPN's that are more knowledgeable and have more hands on experience and are able to perform their duties along with the duties of an RN better than most RNs I know. I am not saying that RNs aren't needed because they are. Used to be that when someone asked me if I was a nurse, I would say yes. Then they would say are you an RN to which I would answer, "no, I'm just an LPN." Well I no longer say that. I proudly say I am an LPN in a pediatric office and love almost every minute of it.

Unfortunately that was up until almost 7 years ago when I developed some health issues which led to disability for me and I truly miss my job every day. I still hold out hope that I may be able to go back one day soon. I worked very hard for my degree, fell in love with the job I was doing, then it got taken away from me way too soon after beginning.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

226 Articles; 27,608 Posts

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 17 years experience.

My LPN work experience is the foundation upon which the rest of my nursing career has been constructed. If anyone thinks I am lowly for having traveled down that educational path, it is their problem and not mine.

Has 13 years experience.

Indeed. Being an LPN is not a "lower" career choice. Granted for many LPN's it is a stepping stone in a path of nursing, but for just as many it is the career they chose for life. Being an LPN now is a little more limited in the more traditional nursing roles, but there are plenty of new roles one can take.

Being an LPN has offered me a lot of opportunities that I wouldn't have had working at my previous retail job. I am one of those who is working on furthering their education, but I am ever so grateful for my previous education, as it is putting me ahead of the rest of my classmates.

Specializes in ICU.

I don't feel that anybody looks down on any particular path in nursing. We all go to it in our own way. I feel like this post is to ignite an LPN vs. RN debate. OP, your scope of practice is not the same as an RN. Be careful you are not practicing outside your scope of practice. And you are receiving $325k in scholarship money? What are you doing with that money or is it going back to other students that need it?

I'm glad this path is working for you, but you are not better than someone going the traditional path either and I feel like this is what this post is about. I have had some great LPN nurses on the floor of the hospital I have done clinical at and they have taught me a lot, but their scope of practice is not the same nor is the pay rate.

I feel like there is a way to write articles or posts and not come off self-righteous. This article I think was supposed to be inspiring but went off the track.


636 Posts

I've heard the LPN vs RN debate for a long time. LPNs are being phased out in GA and it's more common for entry level to be ADN instead. I think OP had a rough day or comment and was venting by telling the world why she's proud of her choice to do LPN first. I think it was nice because I haven't seen many articles on here motivating LPNs. I haven't looked for them but I'm just saying its nice to be a featured article.


309 Posts

How did you get that much in scholarships? Teach me your ways.

Has 6 years experience.

No, that's what being an LPN gets you.

My intention was to start as an LPN, but the wait-list was too long and I was able to get into the competitive-entry ADN program faster. LPNs in my graduating state had good opportunity, but there were some horror stories floating around, too. The hospital I worked at kicked all the LPNs out of the baby nursery with NO notice. They were told they could transition to adult med/surg or lose their jobs. Some of them made it, but others had been working with babies so long that the transition didn't go as smoothly.

I'm proud of being an associate degree RN, but I also recognize that the BSNs have an edge over me in the job market. There's no shame in it. It's just reality. As to whether or not it's worth the time and expense to get myself there, I'm undecided.


3 Articles; 859 Posts

Specializes in Psychiatric Nursing. Has 30 years experience.

Really cool. Especially the part about making sure you really wanted nursing.