LPN to PA or BSN PA?

Posted
by Lpentzold (New) New

Hi everyone,

I am new new here and looking for advice applicable to Washington State. I have been a Licensed Master Esthetician for 7 years and I have goals of becoming a Physician Assistant one day. I've done plenty of research and have decided it is the place I would love to end up. However, I have no prior college education, therefore I am looking at a long and expensive route to get there :(

I've met with advisors twice, and have been told the same each time :

I need to complete prerequisites to apply for a nursing AA, then obtain the AA, then obtain a bachelors, complete one more year of RN to BSN, THEN apply to PA school after obtaining 4000 hrs of paid patient care.

Ive recently been informed about an LPN program, and was wondering if anyone had experience transitioning from and LPN to a PA, or RN to PA, or if anyone has some insight either way. I would really appreciate and support!

Thank you!

Laura

verene, MSN

Specializes in mental health / psychiatic nursing. 1,790 Posts

PA programs generally require a bachelor's degree (in any field), full-fillment of pre-reqs and work/volunteer experience in healthcare.

LPN programs could be a way to get your foot in the door and start working in healthcare, however most LPN programs are either certificate or associate's degree programs and will not get you the bachelor's degree necessary for admission to PA school. You can get LPN training then bridge to ADN (then BSN) or BSN as bridge programs exist.

Other options are:

As you've been advised applying for an associate's RN program, then bridging to BSN (usually a 9-12 month process during which you can work as an RN).

OR you could apply directly to a BSN program (4-year university).

OR get work experience as CNA/EMT/Scribe (which does not require a college degree) and get a bachelor's degree in a unrelated field.

All of these options will have pros and cons, and it is up to you to figure out which one will best fit your life circumstances.

Lpentzold

2 Posts

Thank you very much for your suggestions. It's very helpful to gain confirmation in my findings.

caliotter3

38,332 Posts

There are two kinds of PA programs, those that require previous patient care contact and those that do not. This information usually can be found on the website. Or you can call the program office with questions or attend information sessions for those particular programs that interest you. I recently looked over the site of a PA program (less than a week ago) and remember that it specifically stated that previous patient care experience was not required to apply to that program.

NurseNoNonsense

3 Posts

Hello from Seattle! Small world.

I am a Licensed Practical Nurse in Washington, and have been practicing since 2014. I applied to several LPN-RN bridge programs at local community colleges in the area (with the eventual goal of DNP), and was continually not accepted. It is tricky in this state (not sure how it is with others) as MOST nursing programs through CCs are undergoing significant re-structuring, resulting in many schools not accepting as many LPN bridge students.... which leads to less places you can apply..... which then leads to literally "pulling names out of hats" (not kidding- lottery systems prevail)... anyways, I digress.

I applied to the PA program through University of Washington MEDEX after talking with a friend. I didn't expect anything from this, because the odds are ridiculous- WAY more intimidating than any nursing program. For example:

The LPN bridge programs had approximately 2-3 spots open (max) per quarter, however these weren't guaranteed and based opened only after nursing students left the program (kinda wrong, but it's almost like crossing your fingers for someone to fail :(....) From the nursing program administrators, the LPN applicants amount would vary but was approximately anywhere from 0-15 nurses (often more) for only a few- not guaranteed- spots! Yuck!

In contrast, my PA program had 1,500+ applicants for the year that I applied, and program wide (we divide into various campus satelite sites located throughout the state and elsewhere). About 130 of us were accepted (from the original 1,500+).

But obviously I got in! (Only through the grace of God and unbelievable luck). Currently, I am close to completion of didactic year. My program is amazing, and while it is undoubtedly very difficult, it is interesting, challenging, and rewarding, in all the right ways.

As far as difficulty: Nursing school was hard. I used to say it was the hardest thing I ever did, and I'm sure it was true, up to that point. Learning how to "think like a nurse" can be a painful process, as with all growth. That being said, PA school IS MUCH MUCH MUCH harder, in all aspects. The sheer volume, in addition to the level of depth on obscure topics, which is only further compounded by PA programs being accelerated in nature- well, it's enough to make your brain feel like a liquified pool of once-jello with occasional pieces of old fruit.

However, I wouldn't change a thing. Nursing school might not have been a good base as far as the knowledge and disease concepts (at least to the level required that I need now), and I did struggle at first trying to "catch up" in some of the more difficult science concepts. (Sidebar: I feel like I actually started over simplifying things far too much, for lack of a better term, after nursing school. This is great for communicating with patients, and my patient education is absolutely stellar and I don't use 300 syllable words every sentence- but not so great when you're sitting in lectures and having to use a reference for half of the information on each slide of a powerpoint....). Regardless, I am a great nurse, and while I undoubtedly struggle in some areas of my program d/t my background, I excel in patient education, management, and rapport. And these are SUCH IMPORTANT aspects of care that are so often forgotten, and not always easy to learn. I will be an empathetic provider who listens to my patients, and I have my nursing experience to thank for this.

Hopefully this helped answer some of your questions- I am always open to discussing this at further length if I can be of any service! It just seemed too perfect to not reply. LPN in Washington state that continued on to PA education? What are the odds?! Lol

Best of luck!

NurseNoNonsense

3 Posts

Caliotter3

The PA programs that allow applicants to apply without experience are VERY rare, and there are none in Washington state (at least that are accredited, anyways). For my program in particular, MINIMUM experience required at time of application was 3 years FTE, with the average per student at about 6.5 years.... But it might have been a little higher than that- it's been awhile since I looked. I was a nurse for 3 years before applying.. Hope that helps! :)

beeabea

Has 4 years experience. 3 Posts

On 1/30/2018 at 8:48 PM, NurseNoNonsense said:

Hello from Seattle! Small world.

I am a Licensed Practical Nurse in Washington, and have been practicing since 2014. I applied to several LPN-RN bridge programs at local community colleges in the area (with the eventual goal of DNP), and was continually not accepted. It is tricky in this state (not sure how it is with others) as MOST nursing programs through CCs are undergoing significant re-structuring, resulting in many schools not accepting as many LPN bridge students.... which leads to less places you can apply..... which then leads to literally "pulling names out of hats" (not kidding- lottery systems prevail)... anyways, I digress.

I applied to the PA program through University of Washington MEDEX after talking with a friend. I didn't expect anything from this, because the odds are ridiculous- WAY more intimidating than any nursing program. For example:

The LPN bridge programs had approximately 2-3 spots open (max) per quarter, however these weren't guaranteed and based opened only after nursing students left the program (kinda wrong, but it's almost like crossing your fingers for someone to fail :(....) From the nursing program administrators, the LPN applicants amount would vary but was approximately anywhere from 0-15 nurses (often more) for only a few- not guaranteed- spots! Yuck!

In contrast, my PA program had 1,500+ applicants for the year that I applied, and program wide (we divide into various campus satelite sites located throughout the state and elsewhere). About 130 of us were accepted (from the original 1,500+).

But obviously I got in! (Only through the grace of God and unbelievable luck). Currently, I am close to completion of didactic year. My program is amazing, and while it is undoubtedly very difficult, it is interesting, challenging, and rewarding, in all the right ways.

As far as difficulty: Nursing school was hard. I used to say it was the hardest thing I ever did, and I'm sure it was true, up to that point. Learning how to "think like a nurse" can be a painful process, as with all growth. That being said, PA school IS MUCH MUCH MUCH harder, in all aspects. The sheer volume, in addition to the level of depth on obscure topics, which is only further compounded by PA programs being accelerated in nature- well, it's enough to make your brain feel like a liquified pool of once-jello with occasional pieces of old fruit.

However, I wouldn't change a thing. Nursing school might not have been a good base as far as the knowledge and disease concepts (at least to the level required that I need now), and I did struggle at first trying to "catch up" in some of the more difficult science concepts. (Sidebar: I feel like I actually started over simplifying things far too much, for lack of a better term, after nursing school. This is great for communicating with patients, and my patient education is absolutely stellar and I don't use 300 syllable words every sentence- but not so great when you're sitting in lectures and having to use a reference for half of the information on each slide of a powerpoint....). Regardless, I am a great nurse, and while I undoubtedly struggle in some areas of my program d/t my background, I excel in patient education, management, and rapport. And these are SUCH IMPORTANT aspects of care that are so often forgotten, and not always easy to learn. I will be an empathetic provider who listens to my patients, and I have my nursing experience to thank for this.

Hopefully this helped answer some of your questions- I am always open to discussing this at further length if I can be of any service! It just seemed too perfect to not reply. LPN in Washington state that continued on to PA education? What are the odds?! LOL

Best of luck!

How did you fulfill the bachelor's requirement?