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Which program to start out with and where to work

by BarbnAction BarbnAction (New) New

I am ready to pursue a degree in Nursing now than ever before, but I don't know how I'm going to afford it. I was told to start out with an LPN and then move into an RN program to cut the cost is that true? My thing is I don't want to have to take the NCLEX twice. I don't have any of pre-req yet. What is the best way to approach my goal of a successful Nursing career? I just finished the CNA course and I'm waiting to retake the skill test. I also want to know which is the best way to keep my motivation going? Should I work in a Hosp or Nursing Home? I want to work somewhere that offers a tuition reimbursement to help me with paying for Nursing school. I need some input. I find it that in my current field of practice, I'm working a lot using my all, but I'm not getting paid what I'm worth and it's frustrating to me. I don't mind the hard work, but I also want to get paid. I started out as a Nursing major, but I changed my major because I had small kids at the time and I wasn't able to spend the needed time to study and be successful in Nursing school. I feel like I'm better prepared to do it now and become the best Nurse I can be. I welcome your suggestions and words of advice.



I'm kinda in the same situation but haven't even started any course or programs. It's so many choices but difficult to choose. :(

verene, MSN

Specializes in mental health / psychiatic nursing.

To do my best to answer your questions/concerns.

LPN programs are shorter (therefore cheaper) and allow you to start working (and having income) before completing the full RN training. In my area an LPN program is about 5K through the community college (RN program is about 11K). Grants and other financial assistance are available, particularly if you don't have a prior degree. You take one exam for the LPN license (NCLEX PN) and one exam for the RN (NCLEX RN) so while you do have to take 2 exams, I wouldn't let it hold you back from trying.

As a CNA you are most likely to find a first job in long-term care (e.g. nursing home), as many hospitals want 6months-year of experience to hire. My personal experience is that the conditions and pay were better in the hospital than in LTC but that LTC was a great place for me to learn once I got over the first couple months of life as a CNA were I felt constantly exhausted and overwhelmed. I think viewing your time as a CNA as a valuable learning experience and taking time to soak up as much knowledge of nursing and healthcare as you can helps to keep the motivation up.

Some employers offer tuition reimbursement or other incentives others don't. This is true of both LTC and hospital facilities, so look around if that is something that matters to you.

As for getting started on pre-reqs I highly recommend taking them at a community college and don't be afraid to take just 1-2 classes at a time if that is what you can afford or comfortably fit into your schedule. You're still working towards your goal of becoming a nurse!