LPNs: You Will ALWAYS Be Learning!
My name is Sami Aakhus and I have been a LPN for 9 years. During that time, I have worked at skilled nursing homes, assisted living, memory care units, and different areas in clinic nursing.
As a young child, I always wanted to be a nurse in the newborn nursery. Growing up in East Grand Forks, MN, I found out around age 16 through job shadowing, that it was mainly OB surgical technicians that helped in the nursery. But that didn't change my mind about wanting to pursue a career in nursing. I became a CNA at a local nursing home at age 16 and did that for 4 years and even worked a short period of time at a rehab facility. I strongly encourage anyone considering nursing to work as a CNA first. I learned invaluable knowledge this way.
Right out of high school, I enrolled at a local technical college for my practical nursing degree. I have always been one to second guess big decisions, so that was a hard internal battle through LPN school. Shortly after graduation, I opted to turn down a spot in the RN programs because I had just accepted a clinic nursing position; I thought getting good experience as a LPN would be best. I enjoyed clinic nursing very much and miss it terribly, but I now live in rural Minnesota and it seems that once people get their foot in the door at clinics, they stay for life:)
I have always regretted not going straight through for my RN-I figured I'd always go back a few years later. Here I am, 9 years later and I still haven't gone back. The reason I haven't gone back for my RN (yet) is because I am terrified of the extra responsibility and liability. If I knew I could go back, get through school, and do some type of educational job with no experience, I'd go back in a heartbeat; However, around here, places usually require 1-2 years of experience first.
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Being a mom of 2 young children makes clinic nursing the best option for me right now. Plus, I'm not really a fan of the trauma/adrenaline kick you can get with ER/hospital nursing. I feel clinic nursing allows quite a bit of flexibility-that is a plus. A negative side of clinic nursing, I feel, is you lose a lot of skills. You become proficient in telephone etiquette, paperwork, computer charting, phone calls, and vaccine administration. Depending on what specialty or clinic you work in, you lose skills. like IV administration, placement of urinary catheters, physical assessments (besides vital signs-you do those a lot)!
So there's my background in Practical Nursing and my opinions. Some things I learned as a LPN is, a majority of the time, there's a huge opportunity to try different areas of nursing-so don't be afraid to try new things. You will ALWAYS be learning! Nursing isn't just a paycheck; you genuinely need to care about others. And lastly, if you have the opportunity to go straight through schooling to get a higher degree, take it:)