Updated: Aug 26
This post coincides with the YouTube video I made regarding this dilemma, and here's a link to that video right here: https://youtu.be/oaCmrDlw8jw - BUT this post will give you the straightforward and to-the-point answers on why you should choose one over the other. This is a dilemma I find many aspiring nurses find themselves in and I'm here to save your brain from all the stress surrounding this decision.
So here it is....
1. Are you a parent?
If you are: How old are your children? Are you a single parent? If so, are you willing to make sacrifices that can change your current time spent with your child or children? How are you able to manage tasks and your time as a parent?
If you are not willing to sacrifice something, you won't get the results you need; however, you must take your kids' level of needs into consideration and determine whether it is something you can realistically see yourself juggling. If you don't have the family support, is there a way that you can get support otherwise? Time with your children will likely need to be sacrificed in order to give nursing the attention it needs in order for you to be a successful student.
Tip: Plan ahead, manage your time well by writing out every hour of your day, always give yourself a little more time or wiggle room if possible and set boundaries with everything so that one thing is not taking too much time away from other things that need you.
If you're not: This one won't apply to you. Move on to my next question/consideration
2. What are your current life circumstances like?
Everything you want to pursue in life involves a plan-- if you hope to succeed, that is.
Sit down and write down all of your life problems and roadblocks that you predict getting in the way of you pursuing your goals and dreams in becoming a nurse. This could be toxic relationships; this could be not having reliable transportation as you do not have a vehicle of your own. Either way, on one side of the page, write down what the issues are and on the other side, write down realistic ways or options for solutions to each problem.
Let's say you don't have reliable transportation. If your income is limited, do you think it'll be realistic for you to decide to just get a new car? I hate to break it to you, but 9 times out of 10 it's not. So, you may have to settle for taking public transportation in order for you to be assured that you can and will make it to school every day, and on-time. Is this an ideal situation? No, it is not. However, it is a solution to your problem that is realistic and will get you to where you want to be. My advice: Just focus on the solutions to your problems, so you can reach your ultimate goal. This may require getting uncomfortable and making a few sacrifices that you are not in favor of, but it's part of the process, my friend.
Don't focus on what sucks-- Just. Get. It. Done.
3. What does your support system look like?
Limited support: If you don't have it, it doesn't mean your aspirations are impossible, it just means you need to become more resourceful. Sadly, when your support system is slim to none, this may also require for you to make some HARD and unpleasant sacrifices. You just have to determine whether you are willing to accept this part of your journey. If so, it is important to go about doing things with grace and not be so hard on yourself. You will and you can get through this. Just take it one day at a time!
It is important that you exercise your will power and to want it more than anything. You have to be determined to go for it despite your lack of support or odds against you. Look online for local support if you are a single parent or see if you can lean on a classmate who may be going through some of the same struggles as you.
Support: If you have an adequate support system, then that's great! Firstly, give lots of thanks to God, the Universe-- whatever! The only thing at that point would be whether this is something you really want badly. Nursing is a rigorous schooling process and so it requires those who are committed and determined in order to accomplish it.
Evaluate and reflect: What does your commitment level look like? Is this something you are willing to prioritize over other things like a night out with friends before the day of an exam?
Is my support system stable and if something were to change, how could I go about making sure I can still carryout my dream of becoming a nurse?
4. Are you looking to advance in your career?
Though you can always advance in your career as an LPN, you can skip a step by going straight for your RN, but this is not always the option for many, and you can save money if you do it all through a community college first! Trust me when I say the school you attend won't make much-- if any-- difference at all in pay or status; a healthcare facility only cares that you've passed your boards and have the credentials necessary to get the job done!
5. What are your finances like?
For some, they are not in the most sustainable financially standing to be in school for a long duration of time, especially if you are a parent. If you are in this situation, it may benefit you to obtain your LPN first, and then pursue a bridge program for you to pursue your RN. This will allow you to gain some experience and footing as a nurse, make a nurse salary that can support you and your family while you continue on to pursue your RN. LPNs make a pretty good salary and with that experience you are gaining, you can finish off as a more clinically competent and confident RN. Did I mention with the experience under your belt you can also put yourself in a better position for more competitive pay as an RN once you have successfully reached RN status after working as an LPN for some time?
Once you've evaluated all of the above, you will then be able to determine which is the right path for you. I hope this helps!