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:
Finish up my per-requisites and apply to the RN program.
Start the 6-8 semester wait on the wait list.................
while I'm waiting for them to call my name.............
Complete the C.N.A. (certified nursing assistant) program at the local community college.
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).
Apply to the LPN program at the community college........... still on that wait list just sitting around.. Might as well be productive.....
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.
Complete my LPN (one year).... still on that wait list anyways.....
Get a job as an LPN. Their scope of practice is wider and they make more anyways.
Apply to the advanced placement of the RN program... Bypass blocks 1 and 2, go straight into block 3 of the nursing program.
Complete blocks 3 and 4.
Graduate, and get my RN...... 2 years before my time on that 8 semester wait list would be up.
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.