Ramona Ward has nursing in her blood. Growing up, she helped her mother, a licensed practical nurse (LPN), take care of sick family members.

After graduating high school, Ramona got married and had three children. Her husband was in the military, so they moved around a lot. She earned her certified nursing assistant (CNA) license and cared for patients in private homes and in skilled nursing facilities through an agency. Ramona enjoyed the work, but wanted to make more money. “I started looking into LPN and RN programs because I needed something that I would be able to do and also be a mother and wife,” she says.

In order to complete an LPN program, Ramona would need financial assistance and flexibility. She found an LPN program through a local community college that offered scholarships. You didn’t need to be a CNA to enter the program, but she says her experience helped a lot. The program was full time including summer, and lasted one year.

“Once I went from a CNA to LPN, my salary nearly doubled,” says Ramona. She completed her program back in 2000, but nowadays, there are many flexible options for LPN programs, including many that offer classes in the evenings, nights, and on weekends.

Ramona has worked for Maxim Healthcare Services for the last six years and the last four years in Jacksonville, Florida. Shortly after getting her LPN, she went on to get her RN and BSN, and now works as Clinical Manager overseeing a team of home care CNAs and nurses. She enjoys mentoring CNAs and helping them move forward in their careers. And, she’s considering going back to school to earn her MBA or MSN.

Deciding whether to go to nursing school?
If you are a CNA thinking about whether you should go on to become an LPN or RN, here are some things to consider when reflecting on your nursing career:

  • Is my current salary enough to cover my expenses?
  • Am I satisfied in my current job?
  • Why do I want to be an LPN or RN?
  • Am I committed to the time and effort required to go to school?
  • Do I fully understand what an LPN or RN does?
  • Who can I lean on for support while I’m in school?

“As an adult learner, you have to be able to take care of your family,” says Ramona. “I needed flexible hours because I had young children. The CNAs I know who move forward to LPN were able to do that because we offer scheduling flexibility.”

The first step to making the leap from CNA to LPN is to compare the various programs that are available and find one that works best for you and your family. “We have some people who go to school during the day, and some go at night and on weekends, which takes a little longer,” says Ramona. “Take your time so that you achieve your goals at the end of the day.”

At Maxim Healthcare Services, you will find a willingness to create opportunity and facilitate training for CNAs so they can become LPNs and RNs. View our current job openings in your area today!