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Can I work as a nurse and earn my Bachelor's of science at the same time?

#registered-nurses #nursing #nurse #science

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Subject: Career question for you

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Kimberly’s Answer

You may become a nurse with an associates degree in nursing. After you complete that, you would need to take a state licensing exam. Once you’ve passed that, you can begin working as a nurse. You can work on a bachelor’s degree while working as a nurse, and many hospitals will help pay for that.
Thank you comment icon If you don't mind me asking, I can see you are a RN, how did you do it? And is there anything I can do as a Junior in High School to prepare myself for it? - Thanks Justin A.
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Cherry’s Answer

You're welcome Justin! Also, great questions! For nursing program in general, it was high competition in my time due to the high amount of people who wanted to get into nursing. I initially went to a CSU. GPA definitely counts. A 3.8 was average for the nursing program but your chances are higher if it can be above 3.9. My GPA was around 3.75-3.8. So, to increase my chances I took the TEAS (test of essential academic skills). I think I got an 89% but the CSU nursing program preferred a score above 90%. Eventually I got into a community college which only takes 2 years for an Associate's degree. When I was 1 year into the program, my school had a partnership with a University. So I was able to participate in the Bachelor's RN Bridge Program. So let's say after I was done with Spring semester for the community college, I started the BSN bridge program in the summer time. When I graduated with my Associate's, I continued the bridge program for another year. So in total, I spent about 5 years in college to get my BSN. (2 years general studies & prerequisites, 2 years Associate's, 1.5 years Bachelor's).

Also, I went to school in California. I noticed you are in Louisiana. Each state is a little bit different in nursing school or obtaining licenses. Here is your official website for Louisiana's Board of Nursing

https://www.lsbn.state.la.us/

The perks of getting a license in Louisiana is that you will be part of the compact states for nursing meaning, you can work in the following states with your Louisiana license as well:

https://nurse.org/articles/enhanced-compact-multi-state-license-eNLC/

Ways to increase your chances to get into nursing school:

Cherry recommends the following next steps:

In High School there might be a program called ROP (regional occupation program) that may offer you something related to nursing. You can go to your school's career office to inquire
You can volunteer in healthcare areas such as hospitals, clinics, American Red Cross
If you have a family member or friends who went to nursing school, ask if they can refer you to the program and if you can put their name on your nursing program application. Most of the time, networking increases your chance getting into nursing areas
Thank you comment icon Thank you! Also, when you were talking about your GPA, were you referring to your High School GPA? My grades freshmen-sophomore year were affected by covid. I had to work and go to school to help my family with bills and it really distracted me from my coursework. I have stopped working and my grades now are straight A's as a junior, but once I graduate my GPA will still be at a 3.1 at best:(. I don't know what to do, I really want to become a nurse but I don't think I'll even get accepted into a program. Justin A.
Thank you comment icon I was referring to my college GPA. I'm sorry you had some obstacles that affected your academics but keep pushing through! I understand your passion to be a nurse. Just apply anywhere and everywhere for nursing school! You will definitely be accepted into one. Associate's degree in a community college is no less than a Bachelor's degree from a university. Like Kimberly said if you get hired as a nurse with an Associate's degree, most likely your work place will offer financial help to get your Bachelor's :) Cherry Tran BSN, RN, PHN
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Maqsuda’s Answer

Yes, you certainly can!. During the COVID pandemic nursing students has been at an advantage of fast-tracking classroom lessons to the front lines for pay or volunteer for experience. Current pandemic related nursing shortage has put nursing students in a unique position to fill gaps legally while earning their nursing degree. Good luck!
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much for the advice. Justin A.
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Cherry’s Answer

Yes I agree with Kimberly. If you cannot get into an Associate Nursing program right away due to high competition, you can start low and go high. All of the following still requires completion of a state exam or certification:

1) CNA (certified nursing assistant)
2) LVN (Licensed Vocational Nurse)
3) RN (Registered Nurse)

While working with your Associate's degree, you can go back to school in the meantime to get your Bachelor's degree.

Cherry recommends the following next steps:

CNA: help patients with basic hygiene, feeding food, grooming, bathing, transferring patients from one area to another. Can help nurses get patient vitals (blood pressure, heart rate, respirations, oxygen level)
LVN (licensed vocational nurse): can do the same things as CNA. Difference is LVN can give medications to patients (only pills or any medications by mouth or artificial passages such as stomach tubes). LVN can give injections. LVNs cannot give medications that are intravenous (through the vein)
RN: has the responsibilities of both CNA and LVN. RNs can give all types of medications whether by mouth, injections, and intravenous (IV)
Thank you comment icon Thank you! Also, what type of competition would i see in the ADN area? I am planning on going to a community college for my adn but if there's anything I should do or know to make my chances higher what are they? - Also thank you very much. Justin A.
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