Art student going into medical field RN or PA question

  1. Hi.
    I have a dilemma which career i should do ... RN or PA.
    to make a long story short, i'll try to summarize my situation.

    im an art student and have a bachelor of arts in advertising. now i'm thinking of changing careers and it came down to either RN or PA. i know there is a bunch of topics comparing the two but i still can't decide what i should do.
    I have no science background so i will be starting from scratch on both from pre-reqs and so forth. i was highly considering the PA route by getting some EMT experience because i already have a bachelors so it would mean i can just continue on without letting that go to waste.

    but then a nurse student friend of mine told me that going from nothing to PA field might be too big of a step for me and maybe i should consider going nursing first and then see if you want to be PA or whatever else. Nursing would give me more options for advancements other than PA since i'm not too familiar with medical field this might be a good experience.

    so i went to a community college career counseling session to get more feedback and she told me that i should just go directly to a PA program if that's what i want to do. Nursing program is highly competitive and it will definitely take longer to finish. 6-7 years for nursing (bachelors) compared to 3-5 years of PA. ( these include my pre-req years. ) i would want to get a bachelors for nursing if i went that route and then definitely go for some specialty advancement afterwards which may take another 2 years on top of 6-7 years of nursing.

    now i'm just confused on what i should do.
    another worry is that since i have no science background i might be at a disadvantage or i may not be able to keep up in school in these classes. so what would you suggest may be a good route for me. also, will i be able to find a job in both fields in california? thanks!
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    Joined: Apr '11; Posts: 1


  3. by   Kathleen3545
    Hi, I just came across your post. I see that it was posted over a year ago, so hopefully by now, you have come to some conclusion regarding your career route. I was in a similiar situation so I thought I would comment for what it is worth.

    I had a degree in Psychology with a minor in art (Photography). I too decided to go back to school for better pay and benefits. SInce I already had a degree I chose nursing school because of the flexibility of the job and ability to travel and work anywhere and I got a job right away as soon as I graduated. I took 1 and 1/2 years to complete prereqs. that I did not have from my previous degree experience then two years for nursing school. Not sure why the counselor told you 6-7 years, that sounds too long. I worked as a RN for several years then I went to Nurse Practitioner school. I have been a NP for two years now. I work with PAs and NPs. The NPs that I know treat the patient as a whole, have alot of experience which was gained from past experience working as a RN and have better personalities. The PAs that I have worked with, work more often than not, tend to work in a surgical area. They tend to do more procedures and are trained more like MDs. In other words, they do not look at the patient as a whole, they just want to fix the problem at hand. Both jobs have a great potential to earn money and have a nice life. NPs work under their own license and can open their on clinics in most states, while PAs usually do not work independently. I think PAs are at a disadvantage for not having hands on patient care experience before they practice as a PA. but that is just my opinion. I would consider your age, what you want to do in the future and the length of time that you have available to not work. NP programs can be done online while you work as a RN and PA programs can not. Think about the kind of training you desire, I.e. ..treating patient from a whole body perspective or treating them from a purely medical standpoint like a M.D.

    I hope this helps!
  4. by   yuna_cry
    It's funny that I'm coming across this post as well, thanks to your last reply.

    I also have a BA in arts/language, and is looking to transition into nursing.

    As far as I understand, RN and PA are not on the same level, RN is a slightly lower level care provider than PA and NP. RN usually have a degree in BSN, whereas PA and NP means a Master degree in the field.

    My question is, how do you become a PA, do people start from a RN and then pursue a higher education to become a PA, or is a direct fixed path from start?