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What Would You Do If You Had My Life?


I need help from this community of nursing veterans to tell me what direction to take given my particular situation. I am a married mother of four children. My oldest three are from my first marriage and I receive no child support for them, so I have to work at least part-time to pay for clothing, school expenses, etc., because our budget with my (present) husband working is just not quite enough. I have been interested in the nursing field for forever because of the flexible scheduling and the ability to work directly with people. I don't know whether to (A.) Take a CNA course this summer and work a couple of 12 hr. shifts to make money and gain experience and simultaneously take a couple of RN pre-req classes at the local community college to eventually go into RN school and become an RN (ADN) or (B) forget the CNA class and enter a 12 month LPN program at local tech school and be an LPN in one year and just sacrifice and live poor for a year or © Just work two or three shifts as a CNA for a year and save money to do the LPN next year and have a little money to live on. What would you do?

I would personally go with A. You get some much needed experience as a CNA and I have found it to be well worth it. I too am going to take my prerequisites this fall and I'm so thankful for my CNA experience. You can make decent money while attending school. Also, you can work in a variety of healthcare settings. I wish you the best of luck!

hi kendra1978, i would do choice A. i had a similar dilemma recently lpn vs rn. im choosing rn because its better to just go for what i want instead of stopping starting stopping starting ect.. i was unsure 4 awhile, i only have a few pre reqs to go but the ones i hav left i can do in an adn program. the sooner u start ur pre reqs the better, and make sure once u start pre reqs u do excellent in all classes. dont waste time if u want to be an rn go 4 it, because remember u still have 2 go 4 bachelors once done with associates in nursing. good luck keep us posted. Personally that's what I would but whatever u decide it will be where u are meant to be and do.

tfleuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU. Has 10 years experience.

Not a nursing veteran, but I am a mother of 2 young boys and live on a fairly strict budget with my husband. I looked into going the CNA route while completeing my pre-reqs, but I couldn't afford to do it. Coming up with money for the course was not a problem, but the low wage that CNAs make in my area was. It seems that every area has a different payscale (mine is less than $9/hr while people have posted that in their own state they can make up to $15) but when you take into account cost of living, it all seems to even out. I couldn't afford to put one kid through daycare while working, much less two. So I have decided to focus on completing my pre-reqs and am applying for a direct entry BSN program this fall. If you have to pay for daycare, you might find you won't be making much money at all as a CNA.

LPN could be a better option for you since they do make more than CNAs, just make sure there is a good market in your area for them. Again, some areas seem to have a higher demand for them than others and you don't want to go through a whole program and then have a hard time getting hired. Good luck in whatever you decide!

Do you have all the pre-requisites done to get into LPN Program? I think most schools require Anatomy and Physiology class as a admission requirement. Plus some schools that offers LPN Program may have a waiting list just like RN program. I would start LPN program and start working and save money and go back to school to become RN. But if there is waiting list or you need to take pre-req class, i would take CENA training and start working and take pre-req classes.


Specializes in Med/Surg/Ortho/Uro/Rehab CNA.

another poster said something about "you still have to go for your bsn". not true, the associates degree will open up plenty of dreamy positions for you. the bsn degree doesnt get you much more pay than adn from floor positions, mostly needed for management is what its for.

i would also suggest option a because thats what i did and it worked for me!

i do have a young son as well so i know the stress that comes with bein a momma too. i got my cna while doing pre reqs and i have just been accepted to the lpn program at a community college (community colleges usually will offer better hours due to having a higher number of "non-traditional" students). i didn't initially want to get my lpn, just go straight to rn because at the school i was at before i moved they just let you test lpn if you wanted to after the first year of the rn program, but the school im at now requires you have your lpn to do the 2nd year and get your rn.

i got to thinking about it and the more i thought about it the more excited i was to think about being an lpn. i get to go up each step of the ladder and when i do reach the big rn i will be able to appreciate those whos job responsibilities i'm supervising!


Specializes in LTC, geriatric, psych, rehab. Has 26 years experience.

Have you reviewed your options with your husband? You don't say how old the kids are, but if they are old enough to help with the decision making process, have you included them in the discussion? You have to make your own decisions...I'm not suggesting that you do what someone else says. But your decision will effect them. Your husband may prefer the RN route. In the end, you can help provide better for your family that way. My personal vote would be for the RN, b/c so many people stop when they get the LPN even though the original intent had been to go on.

tothepointeLVN, LVN

Specializes in Hospice / Ambulatory Clinic. Has 3 years experience.

I took route B but I don't have any kids though. I have 4 weeks to go.


Specializes in Med/Surg/Ortho/Uro/Rehab CNA.

:yeahthat: I shouldve mentioned wat travel50 said. Dont stop after you get your LPN if you choose that route. "Taking a year off" between LPN and RN is a trap and it will usually be 15yrs instead of one. I just suggested LPN so you could work as an LPN, gain that experience on top of your CNA & get paid more for it. Then youll be good and experienced by the time you get your RN!

I can tell you all about dilemmas! I had a full time, very stressful job during the day, and was taking pre-req ADN classes at night. After 14 years on the job, corporate came and shut down my terminal due to budget cuts, leaving me unemployed. I decided to go to school full time to get my RN degree. Two weeks after losing my job, my husband of 6 years decides he doesn't want to have to pay the bills himself, so he walks out on me for the girlfriend he'd been seeing. Forget the fact that I supported him the first 2 years of our marriage.

So here I am, single, unemployed, over $3000 a month in bills, one kid in college, and I just got accepted to nursing school. My unemployment runs out next week. I'm grooming dogs to try and pay the bills, and every month is a stress nightmare. I'll get financial aid to help, but only enough to cover the cost of school. Thanks to my ex, my credit is shot for another two years. I have no idea how I'm going to survive this next semester, but I'll do it. Somehow. Suggestions?

I'm applying to an area hospital for one of their scholarships...they pay for your school, and you commit to work for them for 6 months for each semester they pay for...does anyone have any advice about these? I'm going into CNA training next month at the same hospital, to get my foot in the door and get experience. They pay you while they train you. I figure I can work at the hospital Monday thru Friday, then groom Saturday. That'll get me thru the summer.

On a lighter note, my ex's girlfriend dumped him the day we signed the divorce papers. My life may be a nightmare, but revenge is sweet.

tothepointeLVN, LVN

Specializes in Hospice / Ambulatory Clinic. Has 3 years experience.

Apply for an unemployment extension based on the fact that you are training for an in demand profession (yeah yeah I know the shortage is a myth but the government doesn't think so this is to the posters advantage). If they deny you appeal.


Specializes in CCU/MICU.

I would do the CNA class and then apply to an RN program. I have worked with some incredibly smart LPN's, but in my experience they don't have nearly the job opportunities RN's have and they are the first to get laid off (if that hospital will hire LPN's.) Again, not that there aren't great LPN's, but many hospitals hesitate to use them because of the no IVP rule, and other restrictions. Plus that, LPN's and ADN's go through a similar amount of school and RN's get paid a lot more.:twocents:


Specializes in LTC, geriatric, psych, rehab. Has 26 years experience.

For stitchmup...OMG! You are a trooper! Hang in there.


have you checked into the WIA grant in your area? it varies state to state but were i live it will help will tuition, transportation and childcare. also some supplies you need for school. you might check into to it if you haven't already. i hope this helps. good luck you can do it!


Specializes in Hospice, LTC, Rehab, Home Health. Has 20 years experience.

I was a divorced mom of 2 when I went to nursing school. Lost my job and marriage at approximately the same time. In my home state there was a program that paid for training for "displaced workers/homemakers". I had to apply for grants and any other "free" money for school but they paid all other school related expenses (tuition, fees, books, etc) I got all my paper, pens etc. at the college bookstore so they were covered. I took a 2 yr ADN course at the community college but did it 3/4 time so I could work parttime as a tutor on campus and as an adult shelver at the library (to earn some money for utilities, etc) and still have time to study and maintain my gpa (if you dropped below 3.5 you were out of the assistance program)

Now the hard part, I applied for welfare, didn't get everything available, but did get medical insurance for my kids and food stamps. It was devastatingly embarrassing at first but my mom pointed out that situations like mine were what the welfare programs were SUPPOSED to be for in the first place, a stop gap while you get back on your feet. Not a way of life. So I put on my big girl pants and did it -- got through it and although I'm not independently wealthy LOL I can buy my kids cookies today without worrying if I'll need that money for milk tomorrow!

I am an ADN RN and have never found that to be a problem with finding the work I wanted to do. I am a Hospice nurse now, but have worked in skilled long term care and home care with pediatric vents. I am getting ready now to become certified in hospice and palliative nursing which will be much more useful for me than a BSN.

Whichever path you chose good luck and God Bless you:icon_hug:

Edited by FLArn

I would suggest you research the cost of the CNA and LPN programs and the pay scale for a new CNA as well as a new LPN. In some states, employers are required to reimburse you for the cost of your CNA course. In some areas, these courses are offered free of charge. Many employers offer tuition assistance programs for employees as well so working as a CNA in a particular facility may help you pay for nursing school.

If the pay difference is not enough to offset the difference in educational cost within a year or two (assuming you are planning to get your RN) I would suggest you skip the LPN and become a CNA while working towards your RN.

Again I have to ask why do we as women make life so hard for ourselves by being silly and irresponsible at times. Why lumber yourself with 4 children??? I would never do that to myself. As for me I love my life and couldnt bear the thought of having children spoil it.

Again I have to ask why do we as women make life so hard for ourselves by being silly and irresponsible at times. Why lumber yourself with 4 children??? I would never do that to myself. As for me I love my life and couldnt bear the thought of having children spoil it.

Not all women have the mothering instinct and that's ok. However, I think your post sounds pretty harsh for women who make different choices. I would venture to guess the majority of women feel their children enhance their lives in a way your ignorance won't allow you to comprehend. Perhaps you consider yourself selfish, spoiled and cold but if someone with four children made those claims simply because you don't have children, I'd say they were just as ignorant in the other direction.

And if your mother told you that you spoiled her life, I really am sorry as I think that's a cruel thing for a parent to say to a child.

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