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Is it true or false that the fastest way in becoming a RN ( Registered Nurse) is to first be a CNA (Certified Nurse Assistant) ?

I am currently in a trade school for CNA (Certified Nurse Assistant) , after I complete my trade I am planning on going to LBCC community college.
#registered-nurses #nursing #healthcare #medicine #nurse #cna

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Kerrie’s Answer

I would not say that becoming a CNA is the fastest path to becoming an RN, but I have learned that a lot of nursing schools now require it as part of their curriculum. Back when I went to nursing school, it was not part of the curriculum, but I was an aide at a local children's home for children with physical and mental disabilities. My niece graduated from nursing school with her BSN a little over 2 years ago and she said it was a requirement of her curriculum, as well as volunteering for local programs (e.g., homeless shelters, food shelters). I know that there is a shortage of nursing professors out there and a lot of nursing students waiting to get into programs. so this is a way to help "weed out" some of the applicants that are not sure if they really want to become a nurse or not.

I also know the fastest way to become an RN is to get a 2-year degree and then bridge to a 4-year program (BSN) while you start working as an RN. You can take the NCLEX exam after you graduate from a 2-years program, but most hospitals now are looking at RN's with 4-year degrees based on the IOM report wanting 4-year degree nurses at the bedside. If you have a plan in place or are already enrolled in a program to bridge to a BSN, some hospitals may still hire you and some may wait until you have a BSN degree. For most hospitals, there is not usually a lot of pay difference between the degrees, but more for the years of experience and specialty settings, so I would start working as soon as possible.

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Hwal’s Answer


I'm a PA student but worked as a CNA before starting PA school. I'm not sure being a CNA would be the fastest way to become an RN, but I have plenty of anecdotal evidence that prior experience as a CNA often strengthens your application to nursing schools. I hope this helps.

Good luck!


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Barri’s Answer

I am an RN who went from only having hospital experience as ancillary staff as an admissions clerk. However, I was in class with other students who were already experienced CNAs. It seemed as if being a CNA allowed these students to excel during clinicals, and even have a better understanding of physical skills, such as turning patients, making beds, and even medication administration, because they were directly or indirectly experienced with the skills already.

I see, that there are sources online that state the CNA to LVN to RN path is "faster". These sources say you can get your CNA certificate in 4-6 months, get a job as an evening or night nurse, and then go to school for your LVN while you are working as a CNA. However, you should keep in mind that working while attending school is very difficult, especially when your work is evening or night shift. Your instructors will not care that you missed class because you had to work forced overtime at work, nor that you are tired at 8am because you just came off an 8 hour shift. Clinical instructors may ask you to work at times conflicting to your scheduled work shifts. I can tell you this because I attempted to work full time, 3pm-11pm, as an admissions clerk, while attending nursing school full time to obtain my bachelor's degree in nursing.

Consider these points before you take that path.