My nursing school plan, any suggestions?

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My nursing school plan, any suggestions?

Postby Hotshot007 » Sun Nov 07, 2010 12:54 am

Hello, I am trying to ultimately become an RN in CA, and was wondering if the path I was working towards seems feasible or common, or if there are any common problems I am overlooking here. First of all, I'm 26, a former college football player, and already have my B.A. in Anthropology, as well as now working on recertifying my EMT-B. I am looking into going back to school to ultimately become an RN, but there are a few factors to get to that route that I have to consider. First and foremost, since I already have my Bachelor's, I don;t qualify for any grants or free money out there, only loans, and other friends of mine are having trouble getting both government and private student loans in this economy. This will especially impact me since I was laid off recently from a rather lucrative job and will not be able to acquire anything near what I was making for the time I am in school, which will mess with the expected family contribution from my FAFSA qualifying me for loans. Anyone had this kind of problem as well?

Secondly, I know that I qualify for an accelerated-BSN from certain schools in CA, but the nursing pre-reqs, almost none of which I have, have to be completed first in most cases, and given the way the CC system is impacted in CA, I won;t be able to get these classes anytime soon. (For anyone that doesn;t know, imagine this: I went to try and crash a basic anatomy class, when I got there, there were the lucky 30 that got in, 20 on the official waitlist, and another 50 that were hoping the 20 on the waitlist weren;t going to make it!). The other consideration is even after I get my pre-reqs done, for most schools with nursing I will be put on a wait-list for the RN program specifically, which is typically 1-2 years of academic limbo. The other option is trying to get the RN done at a private college with no required pre-reqs, of which there are few and which charge you out the nose. I went for a preliminary interview with these people, and the total cost of the program was $136K for 3 years! Not even my Bachelor's was that expensive!

So with all those considerations into account, I was planning on taking a part-time, 18 month LVN class in Los Angeles for about $18K while working on the side, preferably as a CNA, which I just got the cert for earlier this month, or even EMT-B, after I finish all the recert paperwork for it. Then after finishing school, while working as an LVN I was planning on trying to go thru the LVN-RN pathway at one of the local colleges. That way after I get my RN (and to some extent even my LVN), I will already have a ton of direct nursing experience that I can use in ultimately acquiring an RN job. Any thoughts, critiques, pitfalls, or otherwise that I may have left out? Please let me know.

Edit 9.28.11 - Since there seems to be a recurrence in interest to this subject, I thought I would add an update to my progress in working towards RN school. After talking to a family friend who is a senior OR nurse at the hospital back home, he put me onto becoming first, instead of an LVN, a surgical technologist, then while getting my nursing school pre-reqs or even while I am in nursing school, work in the OR as a surgical assistant and acquire patient care experience that way. In his words, OR experience is "like gold" and counts more than any work you do at the LVN level, as you can;t get much more "direct patient care" than digging thru a person;s body cavities. I went and researched both the LVN and the surgical tech schools, and in Southern California, LVN programs are usually full and have a rigid class schedule they adhere to, while surgical tech programs can be the same length as LVN (18 months part, 12 months full) with your clinical experience included in that time frame, and have a shorter wait. In addition, the costs are comparable and a select few have open enrollment so you don;t have to wait for a start date. I started classes about 6 months ago and have enjoyed it immensely, having been consistently at the top of my class in terms of grades.

In addition, i recertified for my EMT-B and around the same time as I started school, I also started working nights for a private ambulance company based out of LA. So overall, my new plan is to work as an EMT while going to Surgical Tech, then get CST certified and perhaps go out of state for a semester to get my necessary pre-reqs for nursing, then get into nursing school and work as a per diem CST at the local hospital while I am going for my RN. Is anyone doing anything similar to this path? Please note, after gettting my CST/RN combo, I will most definitely want my nursing specialty to be intraoperative surgery.
Last edited by Hotshot007 on Wed Sep 28, 2011 5:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: My nursing school plan, any suggestions?

Postby CaribMD » Sun Nov 07, 2010 8:43 am

Hi, why not 2 year RN? you already have a BS degree

Nursing school is nursing school and RN is RN, difference between a BSN and ADN is the degree not the license.

RN is the license level

is the federal loan site, have you finished paying the first loan off? ... ond_Chance

There are ways to get the loans you need, but yes they will be loans until your income for taxes will be decreased, unfortunately if just laid off it will not be until you are able to report 2011 tax returns.

LVN is not a good choice, this is limited in practice. If you could get into a RN program at a 2 year school, its much cheaper ( by at least 100K probably 110K less ) and after you work as an RN many places will pay for further college and or pay some of your loans back for working for them.

Courses, look for distance online courses as well, you can take many prereqs on line
You may have to travel to a school to get the courses in as well. Its worth it in the end.

I will travel 32 miles one way for my next and last clerkship for medical school, every day around 64 miles commute, I have learned we do what we must :mrgreen:
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Re: My nursing school plan, any suggestions?

Postby nogopogo » Mon Jan 03, 2011 7:27 pm

Another option is to be a nursing assistant during your studies. It keeps you involved in the field, pays decently, has flexible hours (re: evenings for students) and you can learn a lot if you keep your eyes open. There are some decent online sources for regional job searches (, among others). Good luck!
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Re: My nursing school plan, any suggestions?

Postby doriswilkey » Wed Sep 28, 2011 3:32 pm

Hey hot shot,

Sorry to hear about your lucrative job. So many have that same problem these days. You will get through it!

I am sorry to say but there is simply no way to get through an RN program fast these days. I am a paramedic, also going to RN school, and the path is lonnnng. Your pretty much going to need the pre reqs, no matter where you apply. And for good reason, you need to have a basic understanding of Anatomy and physiology as well as microbiology and chemistry. Its a must. But those courses alone can take you almost 2 years, because you have to take chemistry, then micro then A and P. Not to mention you have to Ace each class if you plan to get accepted.

Heres a trick on getting accepted... firstly go to the class and stay at the class past the first add day. Keep showing up, and keep contacting the professor for the first 2 weeks. Not just for one class but for all of the classes that you can get to. You can pretty much find a class like this almost every time. I live in Sacramento california and I added almost all of my pre req classes. Start with microbiology, its easier to get into then the first A and P.

Once you get enrolled in one semester, the next semester will be much easier to get into because you will have priority enrollment. Then you get the first A and P. One more thing you can do is tell a counselor that your planning on transferring (small fib) and they have the ability to give you SUPER priority enrollment, in which case you enroll before EVERYONE. Just say your transferring next year to a state nursing school and they will hook you up.

Getting into a nursing school, is still tough though, your gonna have to wait or go to a 90k school, which is still worth it imo. lpn training isnt a bad idea nor was cna training, its all work experience. And also there is alsways the lpn to rn track which is going to be much easier to get in through I think.

Good Luck!!
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Re: My nursing school plan, any suggestions?

Postby JamesMarkham » Tue Jul 24, 2018 1:38 pm

CNA classes online is becoming more prevalent and gaining in popularity. Taking online cna classes for the cna certification has several major benefits.
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