Careers: Nursing/Career Path

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Question
Hello,
 My name is Lean and I am having a tough time with my career path choices.  I am currently an STNA and have been for the last 3 years.  At the end of this year I will have every pre-requisite done for my RN, but I have a two year wait to get into the program.  I am wondering if I should get my LPN license and work as an LPN while in RN school because of how it reflects on my resume having actual nursing experience versus nursing aid experience.  What do you think looks better on a resume?

Answer
Hi Leann,

Congratulations on being a State Tested NA!  And now you are going to be an RN!  Amazing and what a great career path!

Now your dilemma: To go for LPN or wait and then go into RN school....

This is a difficult question and I am trying to think about who I would rather hire, an NA to RN or LPN to RN

There are two schools of thought here.   One is, the higher your certification the better you are.  The other is that LPNs sometimes have a negative stigma attached because it is difficult to get them out of their LPN ways and into the RN (leadership/critical thinking) mode.  So it is totally up to who is interviewing you, what their experiences are previously and how you come across.

You are already an NA.  These valuable basic skills of nursing are often hard to develop in RN students without any nursing experience.  You will be one- up, as they say, on all those gals & guys.

Perhaps if you have an ultimate goal of a few places to work you can ask the DON for a few minutes of their time.   Ask them about their hiring policy, what they are looking for in staff, which areas the need is the greatest and the learning opportunities once you are on staff.  Then indirectly, without telling them of your current skills or status, ask how they prefer their new grad RNs.  Also ask them what they look for in their new hires.   Finally, ask them straight out if they think an LPN has a more difficult time transitioning to RN or not.   They will probably get a little nervous about that and maybe ask you " why, are you an LPN?" and you can honestly say no you are not. Don't forget to thank them for their time and also send them a little thank you note for their valuable time.

Then,  you go home and think about what they said, how they said it and what you think about all that.   It will give you some idea of real life out there, at the places you hope to work in the future.

The other issue is money.  It costs money to take the LPN exam but then you can earn more money.   You didn't say if this was a consideration for you or not.
You also didn't say if you needed more schooling before you did your LPN License exam or not.  If you would need more schooling, my suggestion would be to take the concurrent courses for RN instead.  These are courses that are not nursing courses but you need them once you are in the program.  This way, your nursing school load would be a little lighter for you.

Lots of food for thought!  I hope I have been some help to you and I wish you the best in your path to RN!   :)

Careers: Nursing

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Irma G., RN, CNOR(e), DABFN, fellow ACFEI

Expertise

I am an experienced forensic nurse examiner and have done cases relating to domestic violence, sexual assault and elder abuse in the state of California. I've consulted nationally and internationally, for the Undersecretary of Health (Veterans Administration) and for the region of Novgorod, Russia (300,000 people)in a forensic capacity. I can answer question having to do with forensic nursing, operating room nursing (scrub & circulate), intensive care and aeromedical flight nursing. I also have vast military nursing experience in peace time and war time and have over 18 years in VA Hospital experience. I have lectured on forensic awareness, domestic violence and sexual assault. I have experience as a nurse manager and preceptor. I have developed new grad programs for ICU and managed them successfully. I have been a patient advocate & consultant, answering questions in plain English, to unravel and gap the patient-doctor relationship and the mystery of the medical world "lingo".

Experience

forensic nursing, expert witness, forensic nurse examiner, operating room, intensive care, aeromedical flight nursing (fixed wing), military nursing, elder abuse, veteran hospital nursing

Organizations
IAFN (International Association of Forensic Nursing), ACFEI, AORN (Association of Operating Room Nurses), Sigma Theta Tau Honor Society of Nursing,CHIA (California Homicide Investigators Association)

Publications
please see http://forensicnurse.mobi and click on "spotlight" and "pearls"

Education/Credentials
Registered Nurse licensed in Arizona & California. ADN - Phoenix College of Nursing. BSN - University of Phoenix. CNOR(e) - Certified Nationally - Operating Room. DABFN - Diplomate, American Board of Forensic Nursing. fellow, ACFEI - American College of Forensic Examiners Institute.

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