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Career path towards PA...

Discussion in 'Clinicians [ RN / NP / PA ]' started by MattC1420, Mar 13, 2019 at 12:32 PM.

  1. MattC1420

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    Hello everyone,


    I hope I am posting in the right area and I do apologize in advance for how lengthy this may be. I am a 25 year old male who wishes he could go back to when he was 18 and start his career path a different way but that's sometying we humans just cannot do anything about.


    I am currently working full-time firefighter as an EMT-Basic who decided to go to paramedic school seeing how much I was enjoying the medical side. When I was younger I had no idea how much I liked the medical field until I was told to get my EMT-B as a firefighter. This led to wanting to get my paramedic but during my time in school I have realized that I want to go further. One reason is because Paramedics do not make enough money for what they do and I do not want to end up on a bus my entire life barley surviving when I'm in my 50s. I want to life a successful life. So I decided that once I attained my paramedic I was going to do a paramedic to RN bridge program that is a year length. After completing this program I was going to keep going to school to get my bachelors degree in nursing.


    Just recently I started reading up on master degree programs such as CRNA'S, NP, Nurse Midwife, Physican Assistant, etc. With my current path it sounds smarter to just go the NP route but in my opinion it's not that I have zero respect for NP but rather I do not feel confident in the amount of clinical hours they offer to attain such a degree and I do not believe it would be as rewarding compared to PA. So I decided I would like to attain my physcician assisstant degree before the age of 40. Seeing that I will graduate from my paramedic school in February 2020. I plan on moving to Texas for this one ambulance company that pays pretty decent for paramedics and is a highly regonized ambulance company that cares about its employees. Then I was going to knock out my prerequisites for the bridge program and hopefully get in one quickly and have my nursing degree before the age of 29. Then have my bachelors of nursing before 32. Then my plan was to start to work towards getting into a physician assistant program by knocking out whatever prerequisites I have left. Hopefully attain my PA before I'm 36. Ultimately I would like to specialize in the sports medicine area. Orthopedic Physican Assistant sounds like the future I belong too.


    I understand this route sounds completely off course and just stupid but too be honest with you I am not really sure any other way of me doing this without starting back from square one and moving back in with mom and dad which I am not going to do. I like to work while working towards my goals. I never liked just sitting down and studying because that's not in my nature. Anyone's I was wondering if anyone else had advice for me? Am too old to even try to go for this? Should I just forget about it and just stick with nursing and maybe one day become a flight nurse or should I go for it even though I am a bit older. I want to be a PA and not be a nurse while working in my later 40s or 50s.
     
  2. pamac

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    You will need to get a bachelors degree to get into PA school. You’ll also need really good grades in some fairly robust prerequisite courses. By the end of all that, you will have invested a lot of time and money into becoming a PA, simply for the satisfaction of doing the exact same thing as an NP, but without having any chance at practicing independent of a physician... something an NP can do in most parts of the country.

    If you want to work while you go to school, then the medic to RN to NP route is the way to do that. I accumulated no debt as I worked my way up through Np school because I was making $80,000 per year as an RN while moving towards my goal. My employer even paid for the biggest chunks of my education. Along the way I’ve had great experiences, and gained so much insight into the industry compared to what I would have done had I continued to pursue becoming a PA. And having an independent license to practice definitely pays off vs what I would have had as a PA.
     
  3. IknowImnotadoctor

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    I’m a paramedic who became a NP. If you’re going to get a BSN, NP school makes the most sense.
     
    MattC1420 likes this.
  4. OP
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    MattC1420

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    How did you end up going through your path? I’ve considered nurse practitioner but have always heard how they are not well respected in the medical field. I was nervous about going through all the schooling and then evenatually end up being looked down upon. I don’t mean this in a negative or rude way towards you. I think what you had accomplished is solid in my books and have my respect.

    If you can share with me how you did it that would mean a lot because I am turning 26 when I graduate paramedic and I’m starting to get up in age before I start a career that is actually a good career. I’m looking into working for this one company in Texas that pays 60k for paramedics and works 24 on 24 off and then 4 days off and rotate. The only bridge program near that job is lone start which requires 2-3 days a week of class and clinical’s. This is tough because I’m not sure how I will be able to work while going through the program. I am a single dude so I also do not have a wife or a girl who can move in with me and help pay the bills for an apartment.
     
  5. OP
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    MattC1420

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    Solid information sir. If you would look at my comment above to me replying to the last person maybe you can help me figure it out. I’d reply to you specifically but it would just basically be me repeating what I have said to the othe person. How were you able to work as a paramedic while going to nursing school?
     
  6. IknowImnotadoctor

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    Uffttt… this'll be long winded. I'll handle it point by point so I try not to miss any of your questions:

    1. I joined the army guard out of high school. Did training, came home, enrolled in college. I was a medic in the army so I was an EMT and decided to use that to work for my local ambulance company. I thought it would just be for the experience; I thought wrong, I really loved it. So I worked and went to school. Got deployed to Iraq. Came home, decided to go to paramedic school. I finished and worked on a private ambulance company in a large metropolitan area, spending many years on the box as an EMT and then paramedic. I came to the realization that I stopped learning new things many years before, and that EMS is not all its cracked up to be. I went to nursing school, ADN. I found a very expensive direct entry nursing program that made me an RN in under 2 years but not a lot of people make it through. With my paramedic background I leveraged that into stepping into an ICU just out of school as an RN, I took a year to orientate, and then started by BSN, which was essentially free and I was able to work full time. I had a dude nurse mentor who pointed me in the right direction, and by his advise a few years later I applied and was accepted to a well known public NP school. That was my path, later I'll tell you why I think it was the right path.

    2. The nurse practitioner being less well respected point. They certainly are less well respected on these forums, but many people on these forums see NP's as competition and people that they cannot easily control. In the real world yes there will be some physicians who will prefer PA's over NP's, but if you're a Paramedic/Critical care nurse like I am, that sort of thing is a moot point. They want your experience and your ability to recognize a sick patient very quickly and accurately, and with years on an ambulance and in an ICU those skills will be rock solid. My physician group specifically looks for ICU nurses that became NP's to hire. We have a ton to learn, just like everyone in medicine, but I feel the physicians feel better knowing there's less chance your patients are going to be a code 4 than with other NP's they could hire. The dr's you work with will teach you the rest. I am not in any way look down upon in my group, because my experience speaks for itself.

    3. Bridge program: So, not to toot my own horn, but I'm an above average student and pretty smart guy. I have a friend who is smarter who it took years of pain, sacrifice, and extra money for him to get through his EMT-P to RN program. The academics was easy, but they college did nothing to prepare them for the hands on pass/fail skills testing. It took him 2 years and 4 attempt to get a passing score, and this was a brilliant and motivated guy. I know a handful of other paramedics who have attempted the bridge programs only to fail out. My last point on this is, as a nursing instructor, nursing is as much about socializing you into the nurse role as it is about the academics behind it. If you went to a normal, traditional school, you will get a much better education and be more employable as an RN on the other side.

    4. Advice: Pick your future job carefully. Try to find a 2 year nursing school that you would like to attend that's in the same city as whatever EMS service you would like to work for, with the understanding that things change. It is competitive in some markets to get into nursing school. Start researching different colleges. If you have the means, maybe take a trip to Texas and schedule meetings with nursing school admission advisors and talk about their progams, their admission process, and the average wait time, and just like buying a new car, dont let yourself get sold. Find out about health insurance if you are part time on the ambulance, have a clear path to where you want to be. Start asking about pre-requisite courses like A&P 1/2, microbiology, patho. I was working on those courses when I was still a paramedic. Remember that science credits expire in 5 years, check with the registar of whereever you plan on applying to make sure they will accept the credits and what grade they require (sometimes they require a solid B to transfer). This will start preparing you for the increased rigour of nursing, because it's significantly harder than paramedic school. Don't worry about your age. People go to medical school at 50. You can be an NP by the age of about 35, making over 100k a year, and have 30 years to make a great salary, go on vacations, and enjoy life. Let me know what other quesitons you might have. Good luck.
     
  7. OP
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    MattC1420

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    Firstly thank you for taking the time to respond back to me and give me a bit of your experience and pathway. Also, thank you for your service during your time in the Army. If you do not mind me asking, at what age did you decide to transition over from your paramedic to your ADN and what college did you attend? You talk about the bridge program that you attended had a pretty decent failure rate. The reason why I ask is that I would not consider myself stupid by any means but I am the kind of person that needs to study and really focus in order to pass. I would consider myself a kinetic learner. Also when it comes to the paramedic program I do not really find it difficult but rather just learning the drugs takes time and the ECG but other than that I find paramedic school fairly easy.

    You talk about how you have had a decent amount of buddies or people who did the bridge track and failed out. You even mentioned a buddy of yours that is a pretty smart guy who has failed the nursing skills quite a few times. Why do you feel the nursing bridge program is so tough and why does it have a pretty high failure rate? The reason why I chose this route was that it would hopefully allow me to work while working towards my RN.

    Currently, I am living in Georgia planning on finishing up my paramedic program and then moving to Texas for that company since they pay very well and the job looks good on the application for hospitals. The issue I am running into is if I did a traditional RN route then I would not be able to work. I would end up going to school 4-5 days a week and would not be able to find days to work since nursing is a full-time gig and I will not move back in with my parents. I hate doing that because it makes me feel like a loser or a bum. Doing the traditional route will eventually lead me to not being able to pay my own bills. Heck, I do not even know if the bridge program will allow it either. The only option I really have is to stay here in Georgia for one more year and do a bridge program while staying in my grandparents house mortgage free and only worry about utilities but I do not want to do that because I know my parents want to see the house and use that money to split up between siblings since my grandpa who is my dads father died. My parents are moving to Pennslyvania. They would let me borrow my grandparent's house but I would feel really bad and a loser for doing such a thing because I feel like I would be putting my parent's live on a longer hold when they are in their late fifties. I hate that. Sorry for my rant.

    I ended up finishing A&P 1 & 2 but the time I graduate paramedic school I believe my five years will be up or they will just be ending. I still need to take microbiology. Other than that I have my English, math, psych and an elective course done along with medical term.

    Why did you find nursing school so hard? I did not find anatomy and physiology hard but rather just required a decent amount of studying. I would hate to fail nursing school.
     
  8. IknowImnotadoctor

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    I rented a room in someone’s house for like 350 a month. Made some financial sacrifices, as you will have to do. Nursing content isn’t awful, it’s the NCLEX and the way they word their questions that will frustrate you.
     
  9. OP
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    MattC1420

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    I may have to rent a room as well unless I can find a buddy who would want to split the expenses up together.

    I’ve always heard of financial sacrifices being done but I never know what we are talking about here.

    That’s what my buddy was telling me who has done the bridge program. He said he struggles on the exams because it’s how the content is worded and how you have to think like a nurse and not a paramedic. We have to think short term rather than long term where in nursing it’s the opposite
     
    IknowImnotadoctor likes this.

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