Paramedic to RN/BSN, NYC area, need guidance

  1. 0
    Hi everyone!

    So here's my situation. I'm a paramedic in NYC, a busy place to say the least (1.2 million+ calls per year). I've been a medic here for 3 years and an EMT for 3 more, so I have lots of clinical and decision-making experience (compared to someone fresh from HS). I'm considering getting my RN and BSN degrees (I currently don't have either an AAS or a bachelor's), and looking at my options. I have 52 credits (~2.5 GPA) from a major SUNY school, but I'm worried that the GPA will keep me from getting into a brick-and-mortar RN / ASN course. I want to go into ER and/or ICU nursing, but I have some questions before I decide on a school. Such as:

    -Does anyone know of a brick-and-mortar in the NYC region that has a Paramedic-to-RN bridge class?
    -Is the Excelsior ASN program reputable? Do Excelsior RN's in NYC have a harder time getting a job in ER/ICU nursing than (say) brick-and-mortar, community college RNs?
    -What's the job market really like for nurses in these fields with ASNs and not BSNs? Even with prehospital clinical experience, I've heard rumors that, essentially, no one is hiring RNs without a bachelor's for these kinds of jobs. True? False?
    -What about skills? Foleys etc? Where do Excelsior nurses go to learn clinical skills not taught to paramedics? Where do they go to practice?
    -Do other institutions accept Excelsior credits when considering students for BSN or MSN programs? I.E. if I looked at a SUNY or CUNY, would their courses be "good enough" not to have to take classes over again? What about if I decided I didn't like Excelsior and I wanted to transfer to a brick-and-mortar school?
    -Is the Excelsior BSN program any good? (i.e. well-received by potential employers?) Is it harder for Excelsior BSNs to get jobs than it is for BSNs from community colleges?
    -NYS doesn't have an issue with nurses sitting for the NCLEX out of Excelsior, but some states do. Even if I have clinical nursing experience after graduatingd, would certain states have problems taking my card for reciprocity?
    -Am I better off trying to get into a community college (i.e. LaGuardia) and taking their ASN program? Or am I better off just saying "screw it" and taking Excelsior's program?

    I can't afford to give up my job to go to school, and I like the flexibility that online classes offer.... but I'm worried about my reputation on graduation as an "Excelsior nurse". Then again, my reputation as being a "medic-nurse" might have an impact too...

    There's also the question of whether or not I'm self-motivated enough to actually study, but it seems like most of these courses are exam-based with no papers or essays to do (I'm FANTASTIC at multiple-choice exams!). The self-motivated question is one that I'll have to answer for myself, I know...

    THANK YOU SO MUCH in advance for your replies. I know that a lot of these have been covered in other topics but I'm looking to consolidate some answers here.
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  3. 9 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    Quote from MizBlackCrow
    Hi everyone!

    So here's my situation. I'm a paramedic in NYC, a busy place to say the least (1.2 million+ calls per year). I've been a medic here for 3 years and an EMT for 3 more, so I have lots of clinical and decision-making experience (compared to someone fresh from HS). I'm considering getting my RN and BSN degrees (I currently don't have either an AAS or a bachelor's), and looking at my options. I have 52 credits (~2.5 GPA) from a major SUNY school, but I'm worried that the GPA will keep me from getting into a brick-and-mortar RN / ASN course. I want to go into ER and/or ICU nursing, but I have some questions before I decide on a school. Such as:

    -Does anyone know of a brick-and-mortar in the NYC region that has a Paramedic-to-RN bridge class?
    -Is the Excelsior ASN program reputable? Do Excelsior RN's in NYC have a harder time getting a job in ER/ICU nursing than (say) brick-and-mortar, community college RNs?
    -What's the job market really like for nurses in these fields with ASNs and not BSNs? Even with prehospital clinical experience, I've heard rumors that, essentially, no one is hiring RNs without a bachelor's for these kinds of jobs. True? False?
    -What about skills? Foleys etc? Where do Excelsior nurses go to learn clinical skills not taught to paramedics? Where do they go to practice?
    -Do other institutions accept Excelsior credits when considering students for BSN or MSN programs? I.E. if I looked at a SUNY or CUNY, would their courses be "good enough" not to have to take classes over again? What about if I decided I didn't like Excelsior and I wanted to transfer to a brick-and-mortar school?
    -Is the Excelsior BSN program any good? (i.e. well-received by potential employers?) Is it harder for Excelsior BSNs to get jobs than it is for BSNs from community colleges?
    -NYS doesn't have an issue with nurses sitting for the NCLEX out of Excelsior, but some states do. Even if I have clinical nursing experience after graduatingd, would certain states have problems taking my card for reciprocity?
    -Am I better off trying to get into a community college (i.e. LaGuardia) and taking their ASN program? Or am I better off just saying "screw it" and taking Excelsior's program?

    I can't afford to give up my job to go to school, and I like the flexibility that online classes offer.... but I'm worried about my reputation on graduation as an "Excelsior nurse". Then again, my reputation as being a "medic-nurse" might have an impact too...

    There's also the question of whether or not I'm self-motivated enough to actually study, but it seems like most of these courses are exam-based with no papers or essays to do (I'm FANTASTIC at multiple-choice exams!). The self-motivated question is one that I'll have to answer for myself, I know...

    THANK YOU SO MUCH in advance for your replies. I know that a lot of these have been covered in other topics but I'm looking to consolidate some answers here.
    Paramedic is great background for nursing. Since you already are with SUNY could you retake some classes to up your GPA. Science courses may only be good for five years. What would it take to get BSN at SUNY?? Or apply to LaGuardia as transfer student. Get your ASN, then BSN later. Good luck!
  5. 0
    Thanks for the zippy reply! SUNY doesn't have any schools in the NYC region other than Downstate (and their nursing programs are only for RNs becoming BSNs), and my work schedule and NYC traffic aren't flexible enough for me to feel comfortable commuting to SUNY Nassau. Taking classes at my old school (Stony Brook) would require 120 miles of commuting each and every day.

    Also, one thing I just realized is that all my undergrad stuff is more than 6 years old, which means I might have to retake the sciences.... *cringe*

    I'm going to talk to LaGuardia on Tuesday and find out what it would look like for me to apply to them and see what they say, but I'm also curious about the Excelsior path.
  6. 2
    Currently doing excelsior lpn to rn classes. It takes a lot of self motivation to do it. It is also not the cheapest option but i couldn't afford to not work to go back to a brick and mortar school. I'm in texas and work with several excelsior grads. All employers here care about is you have your RN and are in good standing with the BON. There are several brick and mortar schools with online tracks for RN to BSN, texas tech and university of north texas are the ones im looking at for after excelsior. If you can't afford to quit working to go to school than excelsior is a good option. As far as skills, i learned the basics in lpn school but mostly it was on the job training so don't worry about that part, just be prepared to be upfront with your future nursing employer about any skills you do or dont know.
    loveoverpride and natnat122 like this.
  7. 0
    I know a medic from NYC who did his ADN/RN through EC and now works at an ER in the city. EC is a great choice for people who cannot do brick-and-mortar for whatever reason. I did EC as a paramedic and did well. Four plus years later I have my BSN, working on my MSN, and I'm an RN in the Army. Good stuff.
  8. 0
    Im in the nyc region too..

    I'll answer the questions you posed that I have the ability to:

    Quote from MizBlackCrow
    Hi everyone!
    -Does anyone know of a brick-and-mortar in the NYC region that has a Paramedic-to-RN bridge class?
    -Is the Excelsior ASN program reputable? Do Excelsior RN's in NYC have a harder time getting a job in ER/ICU nursing than (say) brick-and-mortar, community college RNs?.....-Am I better off trying to get into a community college (i.e. LaGuardia) and taking their ASN program? Or am I better off just saying "screw it" and taking Excelsior's program? There's also the question of whether or not I'm self-motivated enough to actually study, but it seems like most of these courses are exam-based with no papers or essays to do...
    About a year before I became an EC student I searched relentlessly for a community college that had a Medic-RN bridge program. I called westchester community college, bmcc, Ncc, and LaGuardia (to name a few!) and they all said the same thing.. NOPE.. So then I considered moving to Florida because a few of their colleges offer the medic-RN bridge program but it wasn't feasible at the time for me. So I signed up with Excelsior. It's been great so far and you do have to be self-motivated. If you are not that by nature, you CAN train yourself to be. I did. As far as hiring, I don't think that will be a problem.
    Last edit by natnat122 on Feb 11, '13
  9. 0
    I don't recommend EC unless you plan to never leave NYC. Some states don't recognize EC credits or degree for licensure. Also EC is a ton of work. It's not easy at all and unfortunately, the caliber of your classmates will not be impressive. I know from experience as I took a few courses there to complete some credits. The only advantage of EC is that if you have half a brain and can write coherently, professors will love you and practically give you an A before you even take a test. Some of the people taking courses there are that dense. It was a very frustrating experience for someone who likes to think...

    Your GPA is not great but you can get into a school. Have you looked into PBISON? They are supportive of adult students and second career people. It's local, has tons of scholarship money, and is soon to become a BSN program. (That's Phillips Beth Israel school).

    Another place to look at is Lehman College.

    The reality now in NYC is that getting a job without a BSN is almost zero.

    Do yourself a huge favor and do school the right way now. As a paramedic, you have the chance to schedule your work to be in school.

    Good luck! I think your experience will make you a great nurse-- especially in ICU or ED.

    Sent from my iPhone using allnurses.com
  10. 0
    I really wish some people would know what they are talking about before posting lies. My advice to anyone looking into Excelsior College is to do your own research, if I would have listened to half the negative comments on here about EC, I would not be 1 exam (CPNE) away from achieving my RN.
  11. 0
    Quote from antoniaLPN
    I really wish some people would know what they are talking about before posting lies. My advice to anyone looking into Excelsior College is to do your own research, if I would have listened to half the negative comments on here about EC, I would not be 1 exam (CPNE) away from achieving my RN.
    I'm sorry if you're offended, but I'm not posting lies. I'm speaking about my experience with EC and my classmates were sadly uneducated and did not contribute to any growth for me. Save 2 or 3 of course. I left EC because I needed more, that's all. It's a totally viable option for many. I just couldn't take being in classes with people that didn't think beyond the box.

    Sent from my iPhone using allnurses.com
  12. 0
    Quote from edmia
    unfortunately, the caliber of your classmates will not be impressive. The only advantage of EC is that if you have half a brain and can write coherently, professors will love you and practically give you an A before you even take a test. Some of the people taking courses there are that dense. It was a very frustrating experience for someone who likes to think...
    WOw, someone ate a sour grape!


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