New to the concept of nursing and Excelsior... Help!


Hello everyone,

I am a 43 year old Paramedic ready to make a serious effort at getting my RN. I applied about 2 years ago along with my ( now ex-wife who was also a paramedic ). The plan was to study together, but I could not for the life of me get her to put down her phone and stay off facebook long enough to participate.

She slept with an EMT co-worker while I was working at the same company as a supervisor. For my own mental health and to avoid felony charges I decided to find employment elsewhere. I now work on an offshore oil rig as a paramedic, and the sole medical provider for up to 150 personnel. I have an office, an examination room, and a 2 bed infirmary. My company has provided me with advanced training beyond IV's, cardiac monitoring, pain management and intubation. I learned suturing, antibiotic therapy, eye and ear examinations.

I recently went to Florida to visit with an Emergency Room RN who I have delivered many drugged up, dirty, crazy, combative patients to. I had to pull a patient off of her after he assaulted her one night ( wasnt my patient ) and we have been friends ever since. She works at 3 different hospitals and is taking 4 classes this semester and is already a BSN.

I asked myself... *** are you doing with your life?

I work 3 weeks and am off for 3 weeks. That schedule and the fact that I suck at math make a brick and mortar college kind of impossible. I love my job and usually have hours and hours of free time every day to study. I save more money than I spend each paycheck and have no bills, kids or real responsibilities outside of work. So I applied again a week ago.

I used Aleks to complete intermediate algebra, have all my electives and english covered. I am studying for the developmental psych CLEP, and have intro sociology and Humanities material lined up next. I am hoping to start Anat/phys and Micro by november. I have been able to study with little interuption and feel good about my first CLEP exam.

I was really looking over a site covering the CPNE... thats when it hit me...

I am terrified...

I havent failed an exam, or hands on scenario, or really anything in my adult life. Honestly I never really aimed for anything I didnt feel I could accomplish easily. I make RN money at my current job but being 160 miles out in the ocean for 3 weeks at a time gets old. I love providing patient care, I take patient advocacy very seriously, being a Paramedic or EMT is the first job I have truly loved. Every job from 19-38 involved carrying a gun, handcuffs or pepper spray. ( Military, corrections, armed security supervisor, private investigations ). I absolutley love the opportunity to make a positive change in someones life.

I am afaraid maybe I am hard wired for acute treatment... my careplan in the past has been "Keep them breathing until they are off of my stretcher" and I was very good at that.

Is my love of helping the sick and injured and lots of desire going to be enough to get me all the way through the CPNE? I can honestly afford to take a workshop every 6 weeks from now until eternity, and will if thats what it takes.

Any medics able to make the transition to the role of a nurse?

Id like to work in the ER, I think thats where I would feel most comfortable, possibly with psych patients ( dont ask me why... but I have always been pretty good keeping them calm )...

Any advice?


108 Posts

Welcome to the forum.

With your schedule, you can absolutely blow through the eight nursing theory exams like they're nothing. Honest to god, no joke, you can do an exam a week with the right motivation and StudyGuide101. I used SG101, the EC practice tests and Saunders NCLEX review and finished the last six exams in six weeks which included a week off for a beach trip. The material is not that hard to learn. The biggest part for me was turning off paramedic brain and thinking long term instead of short term. With off shore work in your background and the training involved that should be a little easier for you.

As for "getting through" the CPNE. You made it through paramedic school, why couldn't you get through the CPNE? It's not like they torture you with nails or something. Take a couple of workshops since you can afford more than one and then go get it done. I haven't done it yet and yeah I'll be stressed but lots of people pass it the first time through. Do the work and the results will come.

One piece of advice, take your A&P and micro through they're classes include a lab which will help you should you decide to get a BSN at another college besides EC.

Specializes in Med/Surg, LTACH, LTC, Home Health. Has 37 years experience.

This sounds like a thread for our own Pixie.RN. Barring the personal life, which I know nothing about, you two seem to have a few things in common: Paramedic, military, transition to RN. :yes:

What I will tell you until Pixie.RN or any of the other medics/former medics chime in is that the CPNE is followed by a 500+ page study guide for you to prepare with as well as EC and other sources offering workshops for you to attend until you feel you are ready to be tested.

Also, I don't know how fast a learner you are, but the exams will turn into 16-week courses as of July 2015. Of all of the subjects you mentioned above only anatomy and microbiology have to be completed prior to beginning the nursing exams/courses. Studygroup101 and are two of the resources that I loved during my stint through EC.;)

There are many threads on this website regarding EC as well as the CPNE. But if you have made up your mind and are sure that EC is the route for you, I say forget about the CPNE until you complete those nursing exams and the FCCA. You can thank me later.:D

I am actually trying to figure out how Starighterline works. From what I read doing a class with straighterline results in being awarded credits from the American council on education ( ACE ), since they are not an actual college.

from Excelsior's website about ACES ... The Excelsior College School of Nursing will limit acceptance of credit from these sources to 25% of the general education component toward the degree requirements, and no credit from these sources will be accepted for core requirements.

I am using 2 credits from an ACE math class already. I thought I read somewhere that Anatomy/phys and micro were part of the nursing programs Core requirements.

Either way I am cool, I cant imagine getting a BSN elsewhere. I also have Statistics for behavioral health completed and being sent to Excelsior just in case I do BSN and need that upper level math.

You are correct sir... in 12 hours I have done about 2 hours worth of work. I have researched excelsior mixed with making study notes from developmental psych.

Jeeze, I just read about the online seminars...

If you desire to complete examinations without the additional conferences you must register for the examinations prior to July 1, 2015.

When you register for an exam do you have to pick a date right away? how does that work? I can always jump to anatomy/physiology/micro right away and start banging out the nursing exams instead.

any help is appreciated, I know nothing about the exam registration process... but I DO NOT want to do 16 week seminars... sorry it sounds like a grab for cash to me.

per excelsior... You can register and pay for your exam online. After you register, you will receive an Authorization To Test (ATT) letter. You will have six months from the date of that letter to schedule and take your exam at the Pearson VUE Test Center of your choice.

so i can register for any exams I havent completed July 1st 2015 and have until january 1st 2016 to take them... whew... im glad i didnt wait any longer....

i guess I will be studying anatomy and micro instead...

Specializes in Med/Surg, LTACH, LTC, Home Health. Has 37 years experience.

Once your advisor grants approval for the nursing exams, you will go online to your MyEC page and click register. Then you will browse the exam list and follow the registration process. Once you receive your authorization to test (ATT), you will log onto Pearson Vue (Computer-Based Testing Provider for Certification and Licensure Exams :: Pearson VUE), create a username and password if you haven't already, and schedule your test. PV now charge a fee for administering the exams. What I did was schedule the exam before I started studying and made myself ready by that date. I used two weeks to study for each of my exams, with that one episode in which I thought I could walk on water after one week of preparation. I passed, but barely....sweating bullets all the way with that one.

I am so glad I joined this forum and got a little more info. My application had to be completed again and should be approved as soon as my intermediate algebra and statistics arrive from ACE. I am going to download the anatomy and micro from SG101 tonight and study one for the next 2 weeks while I am out here and take the exam when I get home.

Any input on what to take first as a paramedic with good a fuctional anatomy background? Anatomy/phy or micro... heck which one is easier?


108 Posts

per excelsior... You can register and pay for your exam online. After you register, you will receive an Authorization To Test (ATT) letter. You will have six months from the date of that letter to schedule and take your exam at the Pearson VUE Test Center of your choice.

so i can register for any exams I havent completed July 1st 2015 and have until january 1st 2016 to take them... whew... im glad i didnt wait any longer....

i guess I will be studying anatomy and micro instead...

Sort of.

For the phase one exams they only let me register for one at a time. Once I passed Chronicity I called to get authorization for Reproduction and the adviser asked me if I wanted to just go ahead and register for all four phase two exams, so I went ahead and registered for all four exams at once.

Once you get your ATT you schedule your exam on the PearsonVue website and you can reschedule it on the website as many times as you want.

For your situation, with the deadline coming up, I would HIGHLY, HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend that you work on A&P and Micro and get those out of the way. You could realistically be done with those by the end of the year, if not sooner. Once those are out of the way, get the eight Nursing theory exams done before the July 2015 deadline. Then work on the rest of your gen ed credits. Once 7/2015 rolls around the exams will require an eight week conference prior to testing, so skip all that crap and get 'em done prior to that.

My experience with Micro and A&P was different than Pixie's. I thought Micro was torture while A&P was ridiculously easy. Of course I had taken an A&P class for paramedic school and I had never had a biology course in my life. So that could easily account for the difference in perceptions.

Since money is no object for you, go here for an awesome resource for your A&P and micro exams...

That site was invaluable for me for Micro and it was a big help for A&P. I would read a chapter and then watch the videos that corresponded to that chapter, I got an A on A&P and a B on micro that way. It will speed up your process greatly. Another great resource is Vangonotes, they're available through Get the Vangonotes for A&P, it was great and was a big help as well.

You got tons of time available while you're off-shore, you can do this whole thing quick and relatively easy.

I have officially put away my Human Growth and development study guides. I appreciate the advice and the savings of weeks and weeks and thousands of dollars.

I have paid for and am currently downloading the microbiology audio and pdf from SG-101, as well as anatomy/phys audio and pdf.

I have about 2 weeks to study micro before I get back on land. I will take an extra week to cram right before the exam. Then I will have about 6 weeks to study anatomy.

This alert has kind of lit a fire under my rear and has me feeling a greater sense of urgency. As a paramedic I work well under those conditions.