An Inside Look with Mallory, LPN

by Samantha Rhea, MSN, RN

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    00:01 Hi, thanks for watching.

    00:02 And joining us today and I'm Samantha Rhea and I'm sitting here with my student Mallory and I actually know Mallory because she was my student through RN school.

    00:12 But why she's sitting here with us today is Mallory was a practicing LPN.

    00:18 And she actually decided to go on to bridge from her LPN to RN, and that's how we met.

    00:24 And you know what's unique about Mallory is that she actually works in the intensive care unit.

    00:29 So she'll be able to give us a really neat perspective on that piece and that level of care.

    00:34 And we'll explore that a little bit later.

    00:36 But really, I just wanted to sit down today with Mallory, have just an informal conversation about what's it like to be an LPN? What's it like to really be in practice nowadays? So we're going to ask some of those questions.

    00:51 But first thing I really love to say is or just to ask you Mallory is when you decided to go into LPN school what was that point of your life, like were you straight out of high school and decided LPN was for you or just kind of where were you at in your lifetime at that? So at the time, I was working for a cardiology office, I was a medical assistant and I was scrubbing like venous cases.

    01:17 I was done with doing that, I had always wanted to be a nurse.

    01:20 But my husband was active military and deployed and we had a daughter, we had a 1-year-old at the time that I went to LPN school.

    01:26 So that's where I went from there.

    01:29 I bet that was busy.

    01:30 - Yeah, it was. - Okay.

    01:32 So how was that with your family dynamics? Was that difficult to maybe juggle that type of schedule? Yeah, it was because not only was he active military, but I mean, I had babies and got married young.

    01:43 So both of my parents, both of my husband's parents are working.

    01:46 So it's not like we had childcare.

    01:49 So it was difficult to find childcare Monday through Friday, and make it still be affordable because I wasn't really able to work during LPN school.

    01:56 Okay. And why would you say that would be the case? Why were you not able to work? Well, I had a family. So that was my number one, of course, but it I mean, Monday through Friday, 8am-5pm.

    02:06 So unless you're going to work like evening shift or weekends.

    02:09 I mean, if you were single, or if you had to make it work weekends would be okay, but it just was difficult.

    02:14 Yeah, okay.

    02:15 Mallory, why did you become an LPN in the first place? Like what was it about it that seemed advantageous for you? Or why was that the right route for you? What was attractive about being an LPN for me was the program was a lot shorter.

    02:29 My program specifically was 11 months, compared to that of a bachelor's degree was three to fourish years.

    02:36 So that and with my husband being deployed often, it was easier for me to do an 11-month program rather than a long period of time getting a bachelor's degree.

    02:45 Okay, awesome.

    02:47 So when you decided to do that route, do you feel like you would do that over? Yeah, I would 100% do it over again. And here's why.

    02:55 It's because at work, there's only a couple of LPNs because it's rare.

    03:00 But I would say and I've heard this often that that LPNs have more of a background of skills, and they're better skill oriented.

    03:07 So we're always being asked to do IVs and GS, Foley's things like that.

    03:12 And it gave me a really good base to be an RN.

    03:14 Yeah, great. Okay.

    03:18 In your current level of practice, do you feel like obviously, there's some advantages, but what can you tell me as being an LPN Acute Care? What do you think the disadvantages are? Or just the LPN, being an LPN in general, what do you feel like the disadvantages might be for someone? I think one of the largest disadvantages that I've noticed lately is not always just like the staffing coordinator, or how supervisor or whatever know that you're an LPN.

    03:45 They just look at your name on the board.

    03:47 So they'll just see Mallory Hoffman as a nurse.

    03:50 And though a lot of the times, especially from an ICU, they'll try to give me an ICU level patient, and I cannot legally take like event or a drip.

    03:58 So that's a big disadvantage.

    04:00 Okay. So that actually brings up a really pertinent point that it feels like is this fair to say that as an LPN even though you're working at a high level of care that you are the one that has to protect yourself in regards to your scope of practice and your license? Is that fair to say? Yeah, multiple times, I've had to step in and fight for myself.

    04:23 So I'm not taking a patient that wouldn't be appropriate.

    04:25 How do you feel like that actually goes over? - Not well. - Okay.

    04:28 It never goes over well, that's always drama.

    04:30 And you feel like if that's the case, maybe because you've worked there for some time, can you kind of tell me how you actually became an LPN in the ICU setting? Because that's not typically a common place.

    04:43 But how did you actually get into that position? How did you learn that role? Actually, one of my friends is one of the HR coordinators with the health system, so she called me one day and said that they were opening up like trial spots for LPNs.

    04:56 And it was supposed to be an admin discharge and transfer nurse however this was during COVID.

    05:02 And we were short nurses.

    05:04 So they throw us into staffing and legally we were able to take up to patients, like progressive care patients so.

    05:12 I see. Okay.

    05:14 I'm glad that you said that because state to state is different, but really advocating for yourself I think that's difficult, but you are astute enough to do that.

    05:25 And I think that is something to consider that if you're an LPN, really wanting that higher level of care, you will have to be your best advocate and protect your license, protect yourself, because, you know, nobody wants to lose that obviously, right? You work really hard for it.

    05:42 And I think that's something that comes that you're gonna have to understand with being an LPN is you're gonna have to be able to fight for yourself.

    05:48 No you're not an RN, but don't ever let that discourage you, because you are a licensed nurse.

    05:52 So you need to be able to advocate for yourself and your patient.

    05:55 Okay. I love that.

    05:56 You kind of touched already on this.

    05:59 But one thing I'd really love to hear from you is that you're an LPN in a special role.

    06:06 What do you see that maybe that you like sell in in regards to your RN colleagues? I think that since I've already been an LPN, and more especially in an acute care setting, I'm really good at critical thinking.

    06:18 I'm really good at being able to differentiate what needs to happen first, time management. I think that's one of my best aspects.

    06:25 I love that. Okay.

    06:26 And why do you feel like that is the case? How do you feel like your LPN education really just sets you up to have that foundation? In my program, at least, it was really hardcore, making sure that you did have the ways of thinking as an RN as well, and not just setting in the role as an LPN.

    06:45 I think that's like really good about LPN schools, you're getting the base of everything that you need to know to set yourself up for success as if you do further your education.

    06:54 Is it fair to say that you had a good amount of clinical time? - Yeah. - Like a lot of clinical hours.

    07:02 So that's kind of my experience that I was an LPN as well.

    07:06 And when I went to school for LPN, and then I taught in that program that clinical time is a strong emphasis.

    07:13 So you get a lot of patient care contact. Is that fair to say? Well, yeah, I mean, we went the whole pretty much the whole 11 months, there was only one or two weeks that we weren't in clinicals that we were there 24 hours a week, so yeah.

    07:25 Okay.

    07:27 So you settled into the ICU, do you feel like that was a great place for you as an LPN? Yeah, I do. I do. Although it can be challenging at times, because I do have to watch what I'm doing, what I'm pushing, what I'm touching.

    07:41 But yeah, I think it's taught me a lot. Yeah.

    07:44 Okay, great.

    07:46 One question I'd like to ask you that how I met Mallory as she was an LPN coming into our program.

    07:51 And she has actually decided to bridge to her RN, can you kind of explain to the audience what that looks like as when you came in the program, where you came into the curriculum, and why you decided to go from an LPN to RN bridge? When I was in LPN school, I was also finishing up an associate degree.

    08:14 So you do have to have that to be able to bridge in at least to our program to a bachelor's program.

    08:19 And when I went in, we skipped the fundamentals part, and like health assessment, but we went into like med surg too, mental health, things like that.

    08:29 And so I felt pretty prepared, because we touched all those things in our LPN program as well.

    08:33 So I think it was easier for me, I wouldn't say was easy, but it was easier to transition.

    08:39 Okay.

    08:40 And tell me what was your main driver of going back to RN school? Because I'm essentially doing the same job as the RN, at least in acute care, but I'm getting paid probably $10 less.

    08:52 Yeah, yeah, that's fair.

    08:56 Can you tell me what your goal is? Do you think from going from LPN now to RN, what is your end goal? It's always been this is why I went for a bachelor's degree I want to educate.

    09:08 I want to educate the nurses that are gonna come after me, take care of me when I'm older, take care of my family.

    09:13 I want to educate.

    09:15 Okay, awesome.

    09:17 Let's see.

    09:18 So you will do it again, the LPN to RN? - 100%. - Okay.

    09:22 And do you have any single piece of advice for maybe a student in nursing school, and maybe also a piece of advice as maybe a new LPN that you could give to our audience before we leave today? The best advice is this is temporary.

    09:37 It's not forever.

    09:38 It's only maybe 1, 2, 3 years of your life, that's it.

    09:41 You have 80 plus years to live. So it's only temporary.

    09:45 It does suck for now, but it's not always going to be that way.

    09:50 And tell me again that how do you feel about just looking at LPN versus RN school? What do you think again, just to emphasize the the audience what's the main reason why or some really good pieces of why LPN, maybe LPN school maybe a better choice? You're honestly you're a lot better at your skills.

    10:11 That's basically what you're doing an LPN school is you're learning how to do the skills as a nurse and being able to do those interventions.

    10:17 And you come out knowing how to do those things.

    10:20 Okay.

    10:21 What about the schedule program itself anything like that was that more digestible, if you will? I would say so. I mean, like some programs, maybe 15 months, mine was 11, Monday through Friday, 8-5, that was unfortunate, but it is better to me because it was faster to be able to get into practice and be a nurse.

    10:41 Okay.

    10:42 So I would like to ask you, what did you do to prepare for the NCLEX-PN, and how was your experience taking that exam? Yeah, so I blacked it out.

    10:55 Pretty much. I just did review questions, just like NCLEX review questions, read the rationales.

    11:00 The rationale will definitely set it in your mind.

    11:02 Like why you shouldn't pick that answer.

    11:05 The day of NCLEX, I really don't remember much.

    11:08 I just remember walking in, they pretty much like body check you, make sure you don't have anything on you.

    11:14 If you have like a wristband like a hair tie or something, they take it off, like they give you a new one.

    11:19 You go in, sit down, do your questions.

    11:21 There's practice questions within the LPN NCLEX that they don't tell you about.

    11:25 So you just answered them like you would, I mean, like you were going to take the NCLEX.

    11:29 So that's all I really remember.

    11:31 I went to my car and cried after, and then it took two weeks for my results to come back.

    11:35 So usually, that's not the case.

    11:38 It should take 24 to 48 hours, but that happened.

    11:41 There was a glitch during my test.

    11:43 Wow, okay.

    11:45 What did you do in that two weeks? I cried a lot.

    11:49 - It was during Christmas. - Oh, wow.

    11:51 I took it the 26th of December. So I took it the day after Christmas.

    11:54 I was supposed to start a job the first week of January.

    11:59 I couldn't so I had to push it back a week.

    12:01 So yeah, it shouldn't be that way for you.

    12:05 So did your employer work with you though? - Yeah. - Okay, all right. Great.

    12:08 So, at the end of the day, you were successful, obviously.

    12:12 So how'd that feel? I felt like I was on top of the world.

    12:17 I mean, I know there's so many nurses in this world, but like I was finally one of them.

    12:21 So it felt good.

    12:23 Great, okay.

    12:26 Any advice as a brand new LPN just going into practice in the middle of just where a nursing shortage is? Where it is at times? Anything maybe that you would just like to throw out there for the audience? Yeah, know what a safe ratio is for your unit.

    12:44 And do not take anything over that, just stand up for yourself.

    12:49 Mallory, thank you for taking time out today.

    12:51 And that was great information.

    12:53 Thanks for watching.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture An Inside Look with Mallory, LPN by Samantha Rhea, MSN, RN is from the course Things to Consider as a New LPN.

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Children
    2. Work
    3. Partner's job
    4. Weak support system
    5. Supportive family
    1. Shorter education program.
    2. Great base for becoming a registered nurse.
    3. Ample clinical/client exposure.
    4. Become proficient in nursing skills.
    5. Longer education program.
    1. Confusion between the scope of LPN vs. RN.
    2. Pay is less than an RN.
    3. LPNs often need to be their own advocate for their scope of practice.
    4. Pay is equal to an RN.
    5. LPNs cannot work in higher-level settings like an ICU.

    Author of lecture An Inside Look with Mallory, LPN

     Samantha Rhea, MSN, RN

    Samantha Rhea, MSN, RN

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