2 answers

Should I get my BSN in a 4 year program or get an LPN then a RN and then my BSN?

Updated New York, New York

I don't know if I should take the shorter route (LPN) or the longer route (4yr)
#nursing #nurse #healthcare #hospital-and-healthcare

2 answers

Ursula’s Answer

Updated Portland, Oregon

Now this is a question for the ages!

Hi, Dori-Ruth, my name is Ursula and I am currently an LPN. Yes, I obviously did obtain my LPN first. I was an excellent high school grad with a 3.6 GPA, and continued to do well in college. I ultimately chose to be an LPN first since the nursing schools in my area (Portland, OR) are so competitive. I am happy I chose this route because it has allowed me several years of nursing experience; doing almost the same work as RN's in fact, with getting paid a heck of a lot more than a CNA as I continue on with school. There are many programs that have bridges such as Sumner so that you are able to become an LPN then continue on. You must be careful, though, that you obtain your education through accredited schools. There are complications when it comes to continuing for your BSN, et cetera. I would, however, recommend skipping the RN-BSN if your ultimate goal is your BSN. That is, go straight into a BSN program.

If you are very excited to become a nurse and get going, then by all means get your LPN, but it is best to do this through community college rather than a technical program (such as Sumner) because those credits will transfer to a BSN program. Also community college is a LOT less costly than those other programs. For example, provided that you keep a good GPA (~3.4+) at community college, and obtain your LPN there, Indiana State University has an online option for LPN-BSN.

If you are concerned that being an LPN first will somehow count against you in your pursuit of your BSN, the answer is ABSOLUTELY NOT! Programs LOVE to get LPN's who are applying to further their career. And, as aforementioned, you can make LPN wages whilst going to school. Most facilities will be happy to work with your school schedule and allow you to continue working while finishing your degree. In fact, that is what my work is doing as we speak!

I should mention, though, that there is a down side to being an LPN first: having to sit for the state boards twice. There are board exams for LPNs, and another one for RN's.

Of course, if you wish to get there faster, by all means go straight for the RN, but I highly recommend doing so through a BSN program.

Maybe not a straight forward answer, but this is an age-old question and it is an individual choice because everyone's circumstances are different. It comes down to what is going on in your life, and which avenue will work best with your personal situation.

Hope this helps!

~Ursula, LPN

Barry Eugene’s Answer

Updated Key West, Florida

Hello Dori-Ruth,

This all depends on your financial status and your personal resources. I have been in the nursing profession for 34 years. I started as an LPN, became an RN, worked towards my BSN degree, eventually obtained my MSN and this past December I completed a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. I chose this route as I did not feel confident in my abilities to take on a monumental task.

Family and work responsibilities will become a major factor in your ability to complete your nursing programs. I work as a nursing professor and I have many students who work and balance family responsibilities while attending school for their ADN degree. If you progress though various levels, you may be able to obtain tuition assistance from your employers. This may mitigate the expenses associate with school. For some they may want to complete their BSN and be done with school. However, I feel taking the stair step approach will allow you to draw a salary while attending school. I was also able to be more successful in all of academic endeavors. No matter which route you take, it is important to complete your BSN degree.

It is important to evaluate your lifestyle. Are you the primary breadwinner of your household? Do you have a support mechanism while you are in school? What additional responsibilities do you have and can you delegate them while being enrolled in your nursing programs? I apologize for not being able to provide you with a direct answer as everyone's situation is different. Speaking from a personal perspective I am happy with the route that I took to get through school. Best wishes to you in all that you seek to accomplish.


Barry Eugene Graham, DNP, MSN-Ed., RN