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RN questions???

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Are there any RN mama's out there?

I am considering going back to school to become an RN and have questions...

First of all, my passion is lactation and helping women breastfeed. So I want to become a lactation consultant. I have a BA in Sociology/social work and experience with children with special needs and their families. I know I don't have to be a RN to become a lactation consultant but it seems like many of the classes required to sit for the IBCLC exam would be taken in nursing school and many places like to hire a lactation consultant who is also a RN.

Do you learn how to draw blood in nursing school? Give shots? start IV's? Can you tell me the clinical things I would expect to learn and perform.

Also, I would have the option of getting my associates at the community college or another bachelor's at a state school. Do you think it would be okay to just get the associates and become a RN that way? Or, is it worth the effort to go for the bachelor's? (they have a second degree program so it it's 2years not four for me)

Any other suggestions for me to consider?

Can you tell me about nursing school?
post #2 of 10
Yep to blood draws, IVs, shots. You learn all basic nursing skills, different assessments of patients based on what their issues are, surgeries, birth, etc... Nursing students do everything from mental health rotations to OB, home health. You learn different procedures how to place an NG tube for example, drug calculations, watch surgeries, create care plans, how to chart. In my last year I was doing all the patient care myself with a RN making sure everything was correct. Nursing school is not easy, I would check out some of the old threads on this subject. The subjects in school are tough and then clinicals are often 12 hour shifts. We had to work nights here and there, and some weekends.


Things to consider are the programs in your area, how long are waiting lists, are new grads finding jobs, those type of things. As far as the ADN vs BSN program, a BSN is never a bad thing in nursing. A BSN allows for management positions, the pay difference between the two could be nonexistent depending on the area. Getting an ADN and then getting a BSN at later date if you feel that you need it is always an option. I can say personally that a ADN was the only option I had unless I moved when I went though nursing school. I have managed to hold supervisor positions because of my experience in my speciality. Some places that do have a BSN requirement may accept an ADN and then BA for example, my current place of employment has been known to do that.

I will be sitting for the IBCLC exam next month. I work as a RN, CLEC right now, my job can not be held by someone who is not an RN or a RD. Some hospitals do hire non-RNs IBCLC but it is preferred in the industry because nurses have so many other skills that a non-RN IBCLC lack. I do not work currently in a hospital, but a public health setting providing lactation support. Hope that was helpful!
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your reply Peony.

I don't want to give shots, draw blood,
start IV's and that kind of stuff. I never
thought of myself as a nurse. I love lactation--
helping women breastfeed, reading about research, promoting breastfeeding with classes and programs and even laws. I love all that.
Is becomming a RN the only path that really makes sense?

Another option could be getting a MPH in infant marternal health. ???
But in the end, I still may have trouble finding a job without being a RN??

I need a career counselor!

Thanks and any feedback is welcome!
post #4 of 10
I recommend getting a job working for WIC as a peer counselor. Or become a LLL and start there. MPH is definitely an idea. You could do something with Speech pathology or nutrition and become IBCLC too.

Good Luck.
post #5 of 10
It just depends on what type of job you want as a IBCLC. Do you want to work in a hospital, private practice, clinic setting, public health... Being an RN means that you could do all the above, being a non-RN IBCLC means that some of those doors may be closed to you, or maybe not. Every area is different. A MPH would lead to work in public health settings, health depts seem to really prefer RDs, I know some with a MPH as well, and then RNs are accepted but very few in breastfeeding management in health depts here. This is for my state of course, I work within the worlds of WIC and LLL which are widely different, but equally interesting.

If you are interested in private practice then it doesn't matter since you'd be hiring yourself! Birthing centers are other places that often hire IBCLCs. With hospitals and clinics, it just depends on their policy and the local environment. The reason some prefer RNs is because all those skills a nurse learns in nursing school. Currently health care in the US is largely driven by malpractice, liability, lawsuits, if a case goes to trial, there can be a difference between a RN IBCLC and a IBCLC. A RN IBCLC has the skills (hopefully) when doing a consult to see other medical issues that a IBCLC may not be aware of because she doesn't have the medical knowledge to assess situations outside of lactation. It is a covering their behind policy, and a MPH may not help in that type of policy.


There are certainly options and places to work without being an RN, it just may not be as easy. Check around your local hospitals, see if their IBCLCs are nurses are not, that will give you a feel for the environment. I have been wondering with the IBCLC requirements increasing in 2012 if that will ease some hospital's fears about IBCLCs who do not have a medical license.
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks.
Another idea is to go for a MSW since my undergrad is in SW
but again, jobs may still prefer RN IBCLC

I would ideally like to work in private practice, with
the homebirth community (I had two homebirths) and possibly with
the natural birth center. I would also love to help young mothers.

I want to keep options open for employment though.

Thanks for the suggestions so far
post #7 of 10
I don't know if I'd bother becoming a nurse if I did not want to be a nurse. Most of the LCs at the hospital in my area are from the Mom and Baby floor, not outside the hospital. And if you become a nurse, you will be starting IVs, doing blood draws, and many many other things you might not want to do just to pass school, which some programs are very challenging.

I might try another path. MPH and Social Work might be a better fit.
post #8 of 10
This was an unusual case, but I will just throw it out there. I don't remember her name, but when I was at a midwifery conference at Monterey last year, one of the speaker was a medical historian. She had a PhD in Medical History, and her doctoral research was in history of breastfeeding. She taught history of breastfeeding and general breastfeeding information class to interns and residents at a medical school! She said most of her colleagues didn't even know she was not an MD and teaching classes at a medical school. They just assumed she's an MD, because she's a "doctor".

Just throwing it out there, since you said you enjoy reading about research, promoting breastfeeding with classes and programs. If you did what she did, then you will be impacting many OBs or Pediatricians at a time, which can impact so many babies and mamas.
post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by moonyoungi View Post
This was an unusual case, but I will just throw it out there. I don't remember her name, but when I was at a midwifery conference at Monterey last year, one of the speaker was a medical historian. She had a PhD in Medical History, and her doctoral research was in history of breastfeeding. She taught history of breastfeeding and general breastfeeding information class to interns and residents at a medical school! She said most of her colleagues didn't even know she was not an MD and teaching classes at a medical school. They just assumed she's an MD, because she's a "doctor".

Just throwing it out there, since you said you enjoy reading about research, promoting breastfeeding with classes and programs. If you did what she did, then you will be impacting many OBs or Pediatricians at a time, which can impact so many babies and mamas.
You definitely don't have to be an M.D. to be a med school professor - a lot of the profs who lecture have PhDs.
post #10 of 10
Many IBCLC's are dieticians, instead of nurses. Just something else to consider....
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