Advice needed from Portland area Critical Care RN's!!


Hi everyone! :) I'm new on here and just started posting. I've been a paramedic for about 10 years now, am transitioning to nursing, and am about done with my prerecs. I'm keeping my 4.0 so far, and don't plan on losing it.

I missed this application cycle by only 3 credits!!!! :devil: I now have to wait until next year to apply to schools for possible entry in the fall of 2012. :devil::devil::devil: I plan on applying to OHSU, CCC, PCC, and MHCC, and possibly UP, Linfield, and Clark College in Vancouver, depending on how much time I have to complete the extra prerecs required by those programs. I took pre-req classes based on the OCNE model.

Moving is not really an option for me, but I am determined to get into school by the fastest route possible, as my current job is taking its toll on my poor back (I know nursing can also be hard on your back, but not as bad as routinely extricating 300+ lb. patients from a car on its side in the rain can).

I really want to get into critical care nursing here in the portland area, as CC is what most interests me, and it is what I thrive at my current job as well. I love taking care of critical patients. I was considering the online programs like excelsior and other programs where entry can be quicker, but am concerned this could hurt my chances of A) getting hired at an ICU; B) getting my BSN from OHSU, as that appears to be the best option for me for the BSN as I stay here in the Portland area.

Am I right in thinking that I should avoid those online programs? Or are my fears unfounded and I should just get into a program as soon as possible? Any advice is appreciated and thanks for taking the time to read!


166 Posts

Specializes in ICU.

Well since you are applying for 2012 it sounds like you have time. I wouldn't mess with an ADN, if you want to be competitive. Go straight for your BSN - especially in the Portland area. U of P, OHSU and Linfield are all good choices, and you can finish in about 2 years. OCNE will take you three years to do the same thing.

For Legacy's RN Resident program that started last August - Linfield had the highest percentage of graduates in the program. It will be the only way for a new grad to get into the hospital from now on, and the CNO is really pushing for BSN only applicants.

For the 6 Legacy ICU spots last August, 5 were BSNs and the 1 ADN already worked on the unit as a secretary. I would avoid online programs like excelsior, they carry very little weight with the managers. The managers know the BSN programs in the area and are often selective of these programs.

For perspective, the RN Residency program for Legacy had almost 700 applicants for the 62 new grad positions - about 10 of the spots were reserved for current Legacy employees transitioning to RNs. They strongly encouraged BSN applicants to apply. The second round that starts at the end of the month had 350+ applicants for 18 positions. They raised the minimum GPA to 3.5 and the BSN degree was again very strongly encouraged.

It is very very competitive in the job market right now, if you are going to stand out for an ICU position, you best have your BSN and know your stuff and make sure the right people know you.

If not, be prepared to move, work in a SNF or be unemployed for a bit... sorry to end on a down note, but that is how the new job market is right now.

portland medic

71 Posts

Thanks for the reply oregonBSN. I appreciate it. Yeah I had a feeling the online programs were not appropriate for me, as critical care is my goal. Good to know about the much increased preference for BSN's though. I will weigh that heavily in the coming months when making decisions. Yeah I know the job market is highly competitive right now and am trying to put myself in the best position possible when I finally do get out there. I've been a paramedic in the Portland area for a long time so my awareness is probably more realisitic than many when it comes to the Portland job market. Thanks again!