Yikes! One week and one day until nursing school starts and I'm back on the fence about it. I'm not entirely certain I'm making the right decision.
You see, the program I applied to is an LPN program. I have now discovered that the world has changed greatly over the years and LPNs are not in demand. They have been phased out of hospitals and have been replaced by lower paid techs. Today an LPN program is a great entry into the field of nursing. It's merely a stepping stone rather than a destination, and that is not what I was looking for.
It seems that unless I want to be restricted to working in nursing homes, home health care or prisons (yes, prisons), I will need to take what is called a "bridge" program to RN (Associates Degree), while working part time as an LPN. Then it would be in my best interest to either take courses and become certified in specialty or continue on to get my BSN. *sigh* I LOVE school (I could honestly become a full time student as a profession if I could get paid to do it rather than having to pay for it!). The thing is, I really do not want to be in some form of nursing school for the next 4-6 years, which is what this all means. The idea of waiting until I'm about 60 years old to get finished and get going on the nursing career I want exhausts me just to think about it.
I have to make a decision this week as to what I'm going to do. I can still easily pull out of the program without the student loans going through, therefore the only thing I will have to pay for is the 2 text books I've used. No big deal. And that would mean I'd make one of the alternates who have been waiting to get into the program very happy indeed.
I've thought about this long and hard. If I do pull out of the program, I am going to go back to school, but only for a few months to finish earning a few additional certifications to add onto my medical assisting creds. Since I'll soon be back on the job market if I don't go to nursing school, that can only help open more doors (and hopefully doors that pay a bit higher too).
I've not totally decided against nursing school though. I could go through the LPN program, be a nurse a year from now, and work in a nursing home the remainder of my work career. LPNs are pretty much in charge at the nursing homes, I could work two to three 12 hour shifts a week and bring home great pay. This would also leave me with about 4 days a week to pursue my biggest interests in life. Sounds ideal, but the problem is that in this economy the LPNs are not budging from the nursing homes and even though the population is aging and more nursing homes will open, etc., schools are churning out LPNs en masse after making promises of great jobs due to a nursing shortage that doesn't really exist.
Oh, and did I mention that the school I am scheduled to attend is only accredited by my state's Board of Nursing and is not regionally accredited? This means that while it's a legitimate school and I would indeed be a bonafide LPN after finishing and passing my state boards, the credits that I earn there will not be transferrable into other colleges. Given the exorbitant tuition they are charging (5 figures!), I find it unacceptable that my credits would be useless. If I knew that I wanted to simply become an LPN and stay one forever it would be fine. But since I was looking at RN and a specialty, this definitely puts a huge damper on the whole thing.
I have to make another confession while I'm discussing this whole conundrum, and that is that I am unable to see myself being able to work in a nursing home for the next 15 years. I just don't know if I have the right stuff for it. I fear it would become too depressing and I would grow to dislike it.
Tomorrow I'm going to call the 2 schools I've been checking out for my additional certifications to add to my certification as a medical assistant and see if I can drop by this week and check things out so I can make a final informed decision.
You see...Cate's cracking up! Apt change to the title of my blog I think!