Is becoming an LPN worth the time?
Updated: Nov 19, 2018
Trying to understand what career path you want can be challenging. But if you have always wanted to be a nurse, there are several things you can look into before you start college. Nursing has a broad scope of practice, allowing jobs for registered nurses and licensed practical/vocational nurses. Before you make a decision on what program you should start, here are some guidelines that will help your decisions on what path to take.
The first thing that you need to ask yourself, is why do you want to be a nurse? There are many reasons why people go into the nursing. What you need to realize before you start a nursing program is that there are many different areas you can work as a nurse. One of the problems are, however, because nursing has a broad amount of areas to work, the type of license you hold might not let you have the job you have always wanted.
If you have always thought of working in the hospital, having a BSN (nursing bachelors degree) will need to be your goal degree. If you have always wanted to work for a doctor's office, you might not be able to get the job as an RN. When you think of what you want to do as a nurse, look at job openings in your area and see what places are hiring LPNs and RNs. This will give you a better understanding of the specific areas you can work, and what degree you should put your time into.
When you know what type of nursing you want to do, you will have an end goal in mind. With this end goal, you will be able to evaluate your options for schooling. Getting into nursing school is not an easy task, but with hard work and determination, you will have no problem getting a nursing license if you take the right steps towards your end goal.
Talk with advisers in your area's schools. Some schools will offer both LPN and RN programs, some will only offer RN programs. Tell your adviser your goals and what areas you would like to work. The adviser will most likely be able to guide you into the right program, and explain the needed requirements to get into the program.
There are pros and cons to becoming an LPN. A good aspect of being an LPN is the amount of schooling vs. the amount of pay. There is a considerable pay gap between an LPN and RN, but there is a decreased amount of time for an LPN license. LPNs are also able to continue their education and obtain an RN when they want to go back to school. There are many LPN to RN bridge programs, and there are some online programs such as Excelsior that make it possible for LPNs to work full time and go to school.
If you are struggling getting into an RN program, and your dream is to be an RN, or even an advanced practice RN such as a CRNA or nurse practitioner, don't let go of your dream without looking into an LPN program. The requirements to get into the LPN program may be easier than the RN programs in your area. There are also a fewer amount of people going into the LPN programs. If you do decide to go to an LPN program, you will learn the key aspects of what it takes to be a nurse. You may also be surprised how hard an LPN/LVN program really is.
One of the main drawbacks to being an LPN is the lack of job opportunities. If you know what jobs you can expect as an LPN, this flaw won't come as a surprise. The other main drawback is lack of autonomy. Being able to take ownership of your work, and make your own decisions can be limited in some areas of LPN work.
Deciding whether or not an LPN license is worth the time and effort is an individual decision that is up to you, and will take time to understand the different options that you have in your area. Remember that an LPN/LVN is a respectable job, and that it is a nursing license. Be the nurse that you want to be, not the nurse that makes a lot of money, or the nurse that works in a prestigious hospital. If you are happy with what you do, you will be happy with the money and the place you work.
Being happy with your career is more important than the title behind your name. If you have always wanted to work with elderly people in an assisted living and they don't hire RNs, you may find yourself disappointed working on a med surge floor making more money as an RN.
1. Evaluate why you want to be a nurse and where you want to work.
2. Start college with the end goal in mind.
3. There are pros and cons to becoming an LPN/LVN. Weight these options before you make your decision.
4. The requirements to start an LPN program might be easier than an RN program. If you are struggling to get into an RN program, look into an LPN program.
5. Remember that, ultimately, the decision is up to you, based on your preferences. Choose the degree that will make you happy with your career. The schooling is short compared to the years you will work in your career. Make the choice that will make you happy and bring peace and satisfaction to your life.