Planning the future is tough w/o a crystal ball...

Friday, August 23, 2013

I just wanted to say sorry in advance to my spark friends for being MIA the last few weeks.

I've been sort of lost in my own little world doing a lot of soul searching, analyzing, researching, pro and conning, reading, consulting, spreadsheeting, and hypothetically plotting..... My future that is.

I know I have a lot of RN and medical professional friends on here, so I apologize in advance this blog has little to do with weight loss or exercise, but everything to do with my own mental health and my future journey through medical school, so here I am. Plus y'all always have really good advice and insight.

As you probably know, I made the decision earlier this year to pursue my RN. I'm just about done with my per-requisites and am getting ready to apply to the RN program at the local community college in the next few months (which right now has anywhere from a 6-8 semester waiting list)

My ultimate goal is to work in a Hospital as an RN, hopefully in the ER or ICU. There are about a million and one very different ways to approach this goal of mine, so as you can imagine I've basically been driving myself and everyone around me absolutely MAD trying to decide which of those routes to choose.

The options range from ADN (Associates degree in Nursing), BSN (Bachelor of Science Nursing), CNA to LPN to RN Bridge, Community College, 4 year University, Technical College..... The list goes on and on. Each route has about 7 different possibilities, possible time lines to completions, and other complications. And if those aren't enough choices, just for fun, throw in monkey wrenches like the varied tuition costs of each choice, the accommodating of work schedules, 8 semester wait lists, job market considerations...

And there you have it, my eye balls are spinning...

After careful thought and consideration, I believe I've methodically reached the most appealing and reasonable win/win route (for me).

I know most Hospitals are turning towards requiring a BSN, but quite frankly I don't have the extra 25K and 4.5 years to invest on that endeavor... Sure, I could take out loans, but the whole point in returning to school was to get ahead, not further into debt (but of course I'll take Grants and/or Scholarships, free money is OK). I will get my BSN eventually, but for the time being I'm happy with achieving my ADN in the fastest way possible, then going back for my BSN. Hopefully after I get an RN job, then my employer can help me pay for the BSN ;)... hopefully. If not, at least at that point I'll be making much better money than I am now and will be able to afford the RN-BSN bridge program.

So the plan I've reached goes like this:

emoticon Finish up my per-requisites and apply to the RN program.

emoticon Start the 6-8 semester wait on the wait list.................

emoticon while I'm waiting for them to call my name.............

emoticon Complete the C.N.A. (certified nursing assistant) program at the local community college.

emoticon Get a job at the hospital as an ER Tech (the highest paying C.N.A. option.. and in the ER, where I want to be as an RN, and double bonus... This helps me get experience and/or my foot in the door... after all getting a job as a new grad is the hardest part).

emoticon Apply to the LPN program at the community college........... still on that wait list just sitting around.. Might as well be productive.....

emoticon There may or may not be a wait for the LPN program but, in the mean time I'll hopefully be working as an ED Tech, so that's okay.

emoticon Complete my LPN (one year).... still on that wait list anyways.....

emoticon Get a job as an LPN. Their scope of practice is wider and they make more anyways.

emoticon Apply to the advanced placement of the RN program... Bypass blocks 1 and 2, go straight into block 3 of the nursing program.

emoticon Complete blocks 3 and 4.

emoticon Graduate, and get my RN...... 2 years before my time on that 8 semester wait list would be up.

BAM!! emoticon If it all goes according to plan, I could be done and have my CNA, LPN, and RN by the end of 2016!!

There are a lot of things that could go "wrong" with this plan. Mostly timing issues. Like I may or may not be able to get into the LPN program right away. Sometimes they are running a 1-2 semester wait list. Also, in order to get advanced placement to the RN program (this is what's called the LPN to RN Bridge) depends on the drop out/failure rate of students in block 2 (out of my control), your placement test scores (must get a certain score or higher), and the approval of the colleges director (have to impress the director with my scores, personality, and GPA). I've heard good and bad things about this route. Mostly good, from people who have done it. But my advisement counselor had nothing but discouraging things to say to me. which was well, discouraging. Worst case scenario though, as long as I can get advanced placement into block three, I'm still looking at having my RN by the end of 2017. Which I think isn't too shabby!

I know it's an indirect route to my ultimate goal. But the community college program is by far the most economical and viable option for me. And the CNA to LPN to RN route may be unusual (and I know they discourage it because it's a way of "cheating" the wait list) but it helps get me to my goal faster than if I sat around and waited 8 semesters, and then spent another 4 semester in the nursing program. At that rate I'd get my RN in 2020. If that's the case I might as well get my BSN, it would take just as long.

I'm really happy and excited with this route. I'm really excited to complete my CNA next semester too. I know CNA is not a glamorous job, but I know it will help me build my resume, and hopefully lead to a better opportunity when I do finish school. Many hospitals wont hire new grads, period. So getting my foot in the door somewhere now I think is more crucial than my BSN.

If I can get a job at a hospital in the ER as a CNA I'd be over the moon. I make decent money now, and a CNA would be a definite pay cut. I don't want to cut my nose to spite my face so to speak, but I am miserable in my current job. I want OUT. I want to do something different. I'm ready to take the next steps in my career. At 32 years old I FINALLY figured out what I want to be when I "grow up" and I honestly don't want to put it off any longer.

I just started my anatomy and physiology class. I couldn't love my teacher more (so far, we'll see how the first test goes). She's basically me in 12-15 years... Or she was my 12-15 years ago I should say. At 30 she decided to go from a corporate desk job to be a nurse. She did it and now she teaches it, all with a kid and working full time. It's very encouraging to meet so many of the people in my class who are all current and or future medical professionals. It certainly makes it all feel less daunting and more do-able when you see so many others doing it too.

My "home away from home" the Life Sciences building

My bibles for the next 16 weeks

Hubby showed up at my work yesterday and got me a pretty new back pack too :)

If anyone has any advice or insight about the CNA-LPN-RN route I'd love to hear from you.

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  • no profile photo CD10748384
    1894 days ago
    best of luck!! Ive found anything is possible if you're willing to work for it AND have a well thought out plan! Sounds like you have a good plan... sooooo GO GET IT DONE!!! :)
    2684 days ago
  • no profile photo CD11898821
    Good luck!
    2736 days ago
    I have no idea about the career plans beyond RN so I can't help you there, but you a goal that sounds great.
    That is one huge backpack.
    2739 days ago
    My mom became a nurse at right around you can for sure do it!!! Very hard work but for someone determined like you, you'll do great!!
    2744 days ago
    I think your plan is actually a FANTASTIC idea! I actually almost did the same but people told me not to go through the LPN program because I'd only be able to work at a nursing home. And at that time that sounded horrible but now when I look back it wouldn't have been so bad and on the resume they see EXPERIENCE!!!! Cause I don't know how your hospitals are in Arizona but all our local hospital are on a hiring freeze cause theres no money. So the whole time during nursing school I was working as tech where as if I went through the LPN program I could've been making LPN pay and getting experience while getting my ADN. It'll suck having to take two boards but I think youll be great!! I hope this plan works out and goes smoothly for you cause nursing school is stressful enough lol If you ever need help you know how to get ahold of me :]
    2744 days ago
    Things are very very different in Greece, so I can only say good luck! You seem determined and well-organised; these two are essential elements of success!

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2746 days ago
    I don't have any advice as to which route for you to choose, but i think that you are awesome for pursuing your dream job. You have got this! I don't know you personally, but from reading your blogs, you are determined and driven. If you set a goal for yourself you reach it. Have a wonderful Fall semester! emoticon emoticon emoticon

    2746 days ago
    I know absolutely nothing about this career path so I can't help with advice, but I am impressed that you have a plan in place and I think that as long as you have a plan and are working the plan things can change along the way, but you will still achieve your ultimate goal. You go girl!!
    2746 days ago
  • 144AUTUMN
    You can do it! Maybe get your ADN and get hired at a hospital or even a nursing home that pays for future education as part of your benefits!!! This will let you have a job while you move up the ladder and you get to graduate without a debt!!! : ) I mean one way or another unless you win the lottery or marry someone wealthy you will need to work years to come either way, right!?! So to become financially independent I would get my ADN first, which is an RN and then work your way up the ladder from there!
    2746 days ago
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