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CNA to LPA to RN

Hi there! I was just into accepted to a LPN program. My goal is to be an RN but the programs in my area are so competitive it takes much longer to get in. So, I am going to start with LPN and bridge to RN after completing that. My question is: what advice can you give to those if us preparing to start a nursing program? I do have 10 years experience as a CNA, so I have that going for me, but I know I can’t possibly remember everything in the program so what should I really focus on?

Having CNA experience is so essential.  Once you get into the nitty gritty, you’ll be able to recall so many patient experiences that will further your understanding.  Also, yay for not going through that awkward period of figuring out how to act around patients when you’ve never had any patient experience before!  You’re seriously 42 steps ahead.

Being a CNA focuses on completing many ever-so-important tasks.  Transitioning from that to nursing can be kind of tough, as now you’re determining what tasks to delegate as well as getting a big picture of your patient and how to coordinate + administer their care in a time efficient manner.  

Forgive me, I’m not as familiar with LPN school as well as what they can do since it varies state to state.  With your LPN coursework, you’ll get a lot of basics down so you won’t have to worry about learning that when you start your RN.   (Phew!)

From a big-picture perceptive, during LPN school it would be wise to really familiarize yourself with some of the tougher concepts to grasp in RN school.  

Really start getting your head around diabetes, different insulins, and blood sugar management/long term care of diabetes.  That can be a tough concept to understand in nursing school.  The sooner you can wrap your head around it as a whole, the better.

Get some medication classes down in your head, like ACE inhibitors, beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, and diuretics.  And understand the class as a whole.  Start to get familiar with the heart and path of blood.  I’m not sure if in LPN school you’ll touch on ECG’s at all, but that is also a tough thing to truly understand and interpret so the sooner you’re familiar with it and know the basics, the better.


Diabetes, cardiology, acid/base balance, and pulmonology are huge concepts/chapters in school that are all tough to understand.  Having a really good anatomy base will really help you.  Make sure you pay attention in your anatomy class, if you haven’t already taken it.  The people that had a crappy anatomy class really struggled in nursing school, especially with those bigger-concept units (previously listed).

You’ll also have the opportunity to get your time management style figured out.  Observe some nurses that really have it together and see how they manage their time, prioritize, and then re-prioritize.  Ask them why one thing is their priority and if something changed and now a different task is the priority, ask why.  They’re thinking 8 tasks ahead, when you’ll just be thinking about the first 1-2 things you need to get done.  

And, if possible, start getting comfortable collaborating with physicians!  It’s a tough thing in nursing school to to a point where you can confidently collaborate with them.  If they are open to it, ask them questions about disease processes and whatnot.  

Unfortunately, what is important to focus on in school is what I would focus on when getting to the real world of nursing.  Keep in mind, your priorities and focus will change when you get to the bedside.  

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