Possibly starting ADN at Excelsior as a Paramedic

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    Hello all!

    This is obviously my first post ever on allnurses.com and I wanted to start off with a hello!

    So, like many people who come to this portion of the site, I am seriously looking into excelsior and am very close to pulling the trigger. I have two A.S degrees, one in fire science, the other in Emergency Medical Technology. I am a licensed paramedic, and like most paramedics in Oregon I have found that the jobs are very hard to find as a paramedic and as a firefighter. I have been volunteer firefighting for two years, and am finding it extremely difficult to find a job. Thus, I am close to going down the nursing path.

    I am used to taking online classes so that atmosphere to me won't be any different. Are there any paramedics out there that have gone through excelsior (or anyone from Oregon that has done it)? What should I expect from Excelsior?

    I am not worried about the payments or the money, as it will cost me roughly around 8k when it is all said and done (thankfully, my fire department reimburses volunteers 5250 per year). I currently work at a hospital full time as a pharmacy tech (for those familiar, I work at OHSU, Oregon Health and Sciences University). If I put my head down and really hammered this program out, could I possibly do it in 10-12 months?

    Thank you all for any replies/information that would be beneficial to my decision!
    Glenna, LPN and tnmarie like this.
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    Ooooh, say hello to Portland, one of my favorite cities in the world! And I've been all over the place. I was born in Coos Bay and my heart will always be on the "Best Coast." And welcome to allnurses! There is a ginormous thread of info here that might interest you: http://allnurses.com/excelsior-colle...ce-808335.html

    We've had a few allnurses Oregonians complete the program, but I can't recall if any of them were medics -- I think not.

    Timeline ... maybe. There are a couple of things timeline-wise that are out of your control, like the wait for the CPNE (usually at least 3 months) and the length of time it takes for the FCCA (8 weeks minimum, doing both modules together). I did EC's ADN (as a paramedic) before the FCCA existed, and it took me five months to go from my first nursing exam to being CPNE-eligible. I saved some non-nursing stuff for the CPNE wait time, which was much longer back then. There have been some changes to the curriculum, though, like requiring A&P and Micro first, and cutting down on the number of CLEPs/ACE credits you can use. But I'm betting with your two Associates degrees (I had the same thing coming in -- one in liberal arts, the other emergency medical technologies) that you probably don't have a whole lot extra to complete.

    I would recommend (if you haven't done this already) to submit your application and get transcripts evaluated to see how many classes you'll need to complete. With that info, you can map out your plan.
    silverbat and tnmarie like this.
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    I'm a medic doing it now. Its going good.
    tnmarie likes this.
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    Portland gives it's hellos! It is actually sunny, for the first time in months, so it is absolutely beautiful as of late!

    There is only a couple electives I would have to take, one being information literacy! Thankfully Oregon requires Paramedics to have a degree, so I do already have A&P, along with the rest of the other little requirements. I am planning on sending in everything to be looked at this week, already feeling very excited to start. Do they allow you to continue to take classes at a local community college if you are missing small requirements? For instance, I have to take micro in the summertime.

    Actually that thread was the one that started me to allnurses.com! It was the first thread I came across which pretty much answered almost EVERY question I had! It is an amazing thread, thank you!

    As a paramedic how do you feel the transition was to the nursing curriculum? With everything you learned from paramedic class/in the field, was it overall an "easy" transition (I use easy lightly, as I know nursing will be overall a complete new ballgame). Thanks again everyone for the feedback as it is really helping me with pulling the trigger on going through Excelsior!
    tnmarie likes this.
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    Yep, you can take Micro at a community college. I'm glad you found the big thread! When I wrote it, I was like, "What do I wish I had known ahead of time..." LOL

    My paramedic also came with a degree, and a professor/dean who was very passionate about A&P, pathophys, etc. I think she might have the only paramedic program with her own cadaver lab! So the exams were pretty easy -- just some more depth in areas where I (thankfully!) didn't have a lot of experience, like childbirth. The CPNE was doable with plenty of study and practice. The transition from paramedic/ER tech to ER nurse was somewhat stressful, but was really just a matter of getting good at time management and prioritization. I stayed on in the same ER where I'd been a tech, so that was helpful -- I knew how everything worked already.
    tnmarie likes this.
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    Well Congrats on your decision to go the RN route. I am going through Excelsior my self as we speak. I will be testing for the RN transition class in early June. I am an LVN in California and as we all know, I am not going to be able to get licensed in Cali. My plan is to move to Oregon. I have family in Eugene but I am more interested in the Portland, Gresham area so we'll just have to see. How are the job prospects right now for new grads? Are they as bad as they are here in Cali?
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    Hey!!!! I live in Oregon too! I also work for the VA, not at the main hospital but one of the clinics...although I don't live that far from the main VA hospital. I just sent in all of my transcripts to excelsior this last week and now I am playing the waiting game to see what the think. I have my associate of science degree so hopefully I have everything I need in the pre-req area. In 2010 I needed an ambulance ride after passing out at home....anyway when I was being taken to the hospital I was talking to the paramedic and she was telling me how she was working on her paramedic to RN through excelsior and was liking it.
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    I did the program with a similar background as you (ff/pm, as in ems and fire science). I was very motivated, and finished the classes in 9 weeks. the non-nursing classes I had to do were micro and info lit. then it took 6 months waiting (and studying like mad) for the cpne. personally I wouldn't recommend excelsior due to the ridiculous impossibility of the cpne.
    natnat122 likes this.
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    I am a graduate of Excelsior college (2001). It was called Regents when I enrolled, but my diploma says Excelsior. It's changed since then in format, but I think it was a good basis for my degree. I am an Associate's degreed nurse, almost done with her BSN (through phoenix) and I am applying to grad schools.

    I feel it forced me to be an independent student and critical thinker when the classroom experience failed me. Plus, getting through the patient-care situations were very difficult, but those care-plan note cards made a major difference in looking at individual problems and allowed me to critically think better.

    It has its draw-backs, though. Mostly in perception by others. But I don't care what they think. I passed my boards and have proved my knowledge in practice. Truth be told, when you start working anyway, you are far from being truly knowledgable. You really have to learn as you go and build upon the strong foundation you gain in school.

    Good luck to you!
    natnat122 likes this.
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    Quote from notaflyguy142

    As a paramedic how do you feel the transition was to the nursing curriculum? With everything you learned from paramedic class/in the field, was it overall an "easy" transition (I use easy lightly, as I know nursing will be overall a complete new ballgame).
    I'm a paramedic and graduated from Excelsior in November. I really enjoyed all there was to learn from the Excelsior curriculum; never knew there was *so* much to learn about nursing until I really got into the thick of the program!

    There are some notable differences between paramedicine and nursing. As paramedics, we learn a lot about a very narrow segment of the healthcare picture... emergency medicine without the benefits of all of the diagnostic tools and such in the ED. As paramedics, there is a heavy emphasis in making as accurate a field impression as possible with information we can squeeze out of the patient. We can even blurb out ACLS, PALS, ABLS, and other algorithms in a drunken stupor off shift (okay, maybe that's a Texas thing). Paramedicine is a very important segment no doubt, but in nursing, now everything is far more detailed beyond the emergency setting borders. You will be expected to dip into the many jars of diseases, medical procedures, nursing expectations, pharmacology, etc., and while you are not expected to become an expert in mental health nursing, renal, etc., you will need to gain a solid understanding. I loved it, but it does require a LOT of reading and time to grasp the concepts. It took me nearly two years. Your mileage may vary.

    The transition from paramedicine to nursing was interesting in regards to the CPNE (your clinical exam weekend with real live human patients). As a paramedic, you should have no problem defining your priorities, asking patients the appropriate questions, and performing your assessments and medication skills. You've seen a lot of the "weird" stuff out there already, so a colostomy or recognizing an infected wound is not going to be a problem. Personally, what I found more challenging was the sterile field preparation (beyond what we do in the back of the unit for sterile suction), assessing the *entire* patient (not just a focused assessment), time management when caring for your patient, and most importantly, care plans. I never even heard of care plans when I began Excelsior, and that is a big component to not ignore. A number of my fellow CPNE testers (also paramedics) did not give serious time and practice to care planning, and it really hurt them during the CPNE.

    Excelsior is very doable, given time, plenty of studying, an open mind to the nursing process, and focus on the weaknesses (care plans). I also found the NCLEX-RN exam to be easier than the National Registry (if your state requires that certification); I took my renewal NREMT-P exam and the NCLEX-RN three days apart because I apparently like pain, and quite honestly, the NREMT-P seemed more difficult.
    tnmarie, natnat122, and Pixie.RN like this.


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