For students that are undecided between RN/PA

  1. I wanted to let anyone that is considering PA vs NP or RN know that I have experienced a semester of nursing classes, and found that the curicculum did not match my expectations nor seem appropriate for later consideration of applicability to a PA program post BSN.

    I don't want to blather on about a subject that I have been vocal about since I came to the board. This debate has been worked over and over on many threads, but never before with someone that had been through nursing classes, to my knowledge.

    If there is an interest expressed, I will post away and answer questions for the people that wish to discuss the topic.
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  2. 86 Comments

  3. by   Angelica
    I'm sorry that your experience with nursing school was disappointing. I feel fortunate to be entering into my fourth semester of a nursing program that has done a pretty good job of preparing me and my fellow nursing students to be RN's. At the risk of sounding ignorant, don't people who want to pursue a career as a PA usually attend PA school?
  4. by   zacarias
    Peeps,

    While I'm very medically oriented, I still want to finish my nursing education. The nursing diagnosis stuff is really what I hate most about nursing, oh and the many obstinate instructors.
    Providing primary care is my ultimate goal, but I see nursing school as a good choice for me. I have learned many things that will benefit me in the future and when I get to primary care, I will probably choose the NP route rather than PA.
    I really enjoy the fact that I have so many options and going to nursing school is affording me most of those options.

    Z
  5. by   Peeps Mcarthur
    By Angelica
    don't people who want to pursue a career as a PA usually attend PA school?
    PA practice, much like the way physical therapy careers have evolved, is now demanding a masters level education to successfuly enter the field. Spending 7-8 years in school while waiting to earn a paycheck, while absorbing school loans that can be very pricey for PA programs, is not an option for alot of students. Most PA programs require a BS, as well as the equivalent of a year of pt contact hours. It is logical to arrive at the conclusion that the ADN or BSN route could give a person some credit towards a both requirements while filling out the rest of the non-arts core for PA.

    There are bachaelors programs for PA, but there are fewer every year because the field is moving towards the entry-level requirement of a masters. Here in Maryland the entire state only has one bachaelors program for PA. Most PA programs are certificate programs that require a bachaelors in science to apply.

    So no, you really can't just go to PA school unless you already have a bachaelors and you have the required science courses.
  6. by   Peeps Mcarthur
    Zacharias,

    Be careful to compare course descriptions between NP and PA for content that would help you better serve your patients. My own personal opinnion is that NPs would be better equipped to handle the psychosocial aspects of care, since it is the foundation of nursing training throughout, however, PAs do have the same prerequisite psychological training that nurses do.

    PAs are trained specificly to treat disease by incorporating two years of a medical doctors training. PAs take classes that are more specific, like gross anatomy for instance, but maybe there are some NP programs out there that do that, it's just an example. I think if my primary care provider was to palpate my liver, I would want them to have at least seen one though.

    You needn't decide now though. If you find that you just can't face another 2 years of psych papers, OB, Peds, intimately exploring nursing theories, and the such, you can always still opt for the PA route to primary care provided your GPA survived it.

    I feel more comfortable with a science curicculum as a foundation for my primary care career, but nursing does have its attributes at as adjunct to psychosocial care.
  7. by   DIPLOMATICRN4HIRE
    There is a school in North Dakota that accepts RN BSN for PA for Masters degree and it can be completed with in one yr.
    All classes for BSN are accounted for and accepted for cross transfer. University Of North Dakota.
    Zoe
  8. by   Peeps Mcarthur
    Yup,
    There's a PA certificate program here in Maryland that accepts BSN as the bachaelor's requirement, but there is some additional prerequisite science coursework beyond that found in a BSN program.

    Patient contact hours and science course GPA are the main indicators for successful application.
  9. by   kimtab
    Peeps,

    I haven't followed your previous grumblings very closely I apologize. So it is unclear to me exactly why you are dissatisfied. You said the nursing didn't SEEM appropriate, not that it wasn't a valid education that would be accepted as credit and clinical experience by a PA program. That would be the question I would be interested in if I were considering going for a PA. Are you upset because you were told your education would transfer to a PA program and found out later that it would not? Or are you just peeved because you spent 16 weeks on something you didn't personally like? I could certainly understand your disgust in the first case, but just warning "medically minded" people off of nursing because you didn't find it palatable isn't doing those people any service at all. Obviously, people who would choose nursing as their route to a PA would do so because, as in your situation, going straight through a BS and master's program is prohibitive for financial reasons, or time reasons, or whatever.

    It still sounds like a valid course to me, and I think you may have given up on it prematurely. The first semester of nursing is fundamentals. Perhaps you would find the heavier Med-Surg stuff and the more intense pharmacology more interesting. Someone must have given you the advice to use nursing as a route to a PA, do they have any further help for you? At any rate, nursing is a springboard for you, not a career. It's a means to an end. If you have a desire for knowledge that is not being satisfied by nursing school, don't you think that might be compensated for in some later aspect of your education?

    I hope you find what you're looking for! I hate to see anyone thwarted in the attempt to follow their dream.

    Kim
  10. by   DIPLOMATICRN4HIRE
    Yes you will need 5 yrs of clinical experience to be able to clep the other requirements if you have 5 yrs of clinical hand on experience then you are accepted into the program for your Masters in PA .If you maintain your Rn you will also be able to be covered in areas that PA's are not.
    Zoe
  11. by   Peeps Mcarthur
    By Zoe

    if you have 5 yrs of clinical hand on experience then you are accepted into the program for your Masters in PA .
    But you should have calculus and at least a semester of organic chem(read,just take the other semester), unless you're only applying to one program.
  12. by   zacarias
    Peeps,

    I understand that you are frustrated with the nursing system, but you I assure you that while NP and PA programs are different, BOTH train for primary care. NPs are nurses, but really they do a lot of non-nursing(more medical) things to treat patients. NPs are holistic and often are interested in the psychosocial aspects of patient care in addition to medical pathophysiology. The reason, as you know is that they are interested in the total person. While I am fascinated by and love pathophysiology, I think it's still crucial for psychosocial aspects to be considered in all patients.
  13. by   DIPLOMATICRN4HIRE
    I had to have those classes to get my Rn degree...... Path is the only class which you can clep with the 5 yrs hands on.
    Zoe
  14. by   Peeps Mcarthur
    Kim,
    I appreciate the thoughtfulness of your post, so I will try to respond.

    I entered nursing school on the strength of my previous observations of nurses and the work that they do. From my vantage point it appeared to be medicaly based. I thought it would be appropriate for someone interested in science based on what I assumed would be in the curicculum.

    A course covering fundamentals would be the foundation of the rest of the training. Since I thought the fundamentals of nursing class was so different from what I had envisioned to be important and relevant to patient care, I imagine I would be dysfunctional in relating it to the rest of the course. I cannot validate the use of psychosocial relevance to everything. I just don't think that way. If the rest of the course has much in the way of science, it doesn't give it away in the course descriptions.............of any alternative schools that I've looked at as well.

    My GPA would never survive it. I find that I dislike the common threads through the curicculum as to make it difficult to study. For me nursing is just a springboard into an empty pool!:chuckle
    Some people that consider nursing school, do so with the expectation that they are seeking a higher degree and a position of autonomy and respect. Simply put, they want to diagnose and treat disease as a care provider. There are two clear paths to this end. NP is more nursing,psychosocial,sociological while PA is medical,biological,physiological,scientific.
    I don't think I'm the only one with that realization. Sometimes it takes a little discussion for someone to look at the issue introspectively. It took me 3 years to reach this point, but only one semester of the foundations of the profession to make it crystal clear. If I can share what I've learned and help put a lost soul on the right path, then I will not have done it in vain.

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