I have a BS in BioEngineering (Biomedical Engineering). Because the job market in the Pacific Northwest for this degree was so minimal, I was not able to find work close to home. I accepted a Civil Engineering position and have been working in this field for 2 years now.

Currently, I am taking pre-requisite courses on the evening/weekends to apply for an accelerated BSN. I've always wanted to work in the health care field and have been fascinated with life sciences and math since before I can remember. However, I've always had problems deciding on "what I want to be when I grow up"...for lack of a better expression!

I think that a more "hands-on"role in medicine would be a good fit for me. I like working with people and the idea of being able to help them and answer their questions. But, I am totally lost what path to take. I volunteer once a week in the ICU/CRU at a local hospital and have tried to observe the nurses in action as much as I can.

I don't think MD/DO would be a good choice for me because of the length of schooling it would take (I'm 29 and want to start a family in 5 years or so) and I don't know that it would offer us the flexibility I would like when we do have kids. I like the things I have read about being a PA/NP. Since the PA programs require 1,000 clinical hours for entry and I assume the NP Programs require a BSN....would it be a good choice to get my BSN and then move onto these programs?

I feel a little lost with all of the options I have and I'm not sure what to do. Any insight would be appreciated!


I highly recommend these additional forums....

The PA forum will require you to register (free) - but between the student doctor, allnurses and PA forum I find the PA forum will be the least bias of all three when looking at the comparison and contrast of NP / PA. (notice i said "least".... yes I expect that observation/opinion to not be supported by everyone here....)

Please note that there are other routes to the NP:

(given that you have a previous BS and are conducting nursing pre-reqs)


ADN: low cost, generally 2 academic years, Then proceed directly to MSN NP after you have a bit of experience and will have better likelyhood of acceptance in your area of interest.


ADN: low cost, generally 2 academic years, get exp and then proceed to PA school


accelerated BSN which you are looking into... generally a bit more expensive.. they have programs for those with prior BS "2nd degree bachelors accelerated" as well.... typically 11-16 months in length. You could pursue a MSN or PA at any time after.

MEPN / GEPN / DEPN: masters level or doctorate level (somtimes called graduate) entry level nursing programs for those with prior degree... a bit more expensive for the "RN" portion and you might be less competetitve for popular specialty areas...but one stop shopping and fairly quick. Yes there are direct entry DNP degrees ;)

PA direct entry. Check out PA forum.. you will find the majority of schools require HCE (health care exp) but there about 25 schools that do not... though it does make you more competitive...

I think a lot will be dependent on your geo area... and when you decide the PA is right.. or NP is right... or you want to become an RN and just have the flexibilty of choosing either after a bit of time (ie aBSN or ADN).

Best of luck to you ;)


2 Posts

Thanks very much for the prompt reply. I have glanced at your links and will explore them in more detail tonight!

From what I've seen it sounds like I could access NP or PA via being an RN. There are 3 programs in the area I will apply to in January - 2 are accelerated BSN, and 1 is an AS degree. The AS degree entry is via a lottery system while the aBSN degrees are through a cohort matching system. I guess the best route for now since I'm not sure what advanced degree I'd like is just to go through with whichever RN program I get in and then go from there. I live in Oregon and there are few programs here for either NP or PA. I'd hate to move away to go to school, but it would be only temporary (hopefully!).

I appreciate the insight!

diane227, LPN, RN

1,941 Posts

Specializes in Management, Emergency, Psych, Med Surg. Has 32 years experience.

I have a BSN in nursing. I have thought of becoming a PA or an ARNP but the money just was not worth it. I make more here in Seattle as an RN charge than my sister in law makes as an ARNP at one of the hospitals in Seattle. She has to work 24 hour shifts and she gets no overtime. I have one friend who works as a PA in Idaho and it is the same thing there, more liability and less money.

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