This post will be somewhat off topic so I apologize in advance for that...I'm in my second semester of Nursing school, so far it's been pretty hectic but not too bad far as studying and time management goes, I've been told that 3rd semester is the make it or break it semester, that is the one with Med Surge and Mental, and people say that once you get through that semester, you're golden, meaning that the program is still difficult but managable in 4th and 5th semesters...anyway initially when I started the path to obtaining my BSN, my goals were
1) Graduate with my BSN
2) Join the Military as an officer (I was hoping to get loan payback and maybe a bonus)
3) After 2-3 years in a critical care capacity, apply for NP and/or CRNA schools, but be on a military release to go to school, and then join back when I've graduated..
But recently I've been told about Physician Assistant programs and I also looked at the Physican Assistant job description for the Air Force, I read on the air force site, that their is a loan called HPSP( which will give you a monthly stipend and pay for your tuition and fees, most PA schools range between 2-3 years) and it also states that once a Physician Assistant graduates they are automatically promoted to Captain..so these are my questions
If I dont' get picked up for HPSP, will the Air force pay the student loans back upon commission?
For Physician Assistant for their pre-req's, they require alot of Chem in my opinion, chem isn't a strong suit for me, I would still have about 4 semesters of Chem to take and some Biology courses, but I don't think I'll struggle with those as much, is it realistic for me to maybe take one bio and chem course along with the nursing courses each semester...keep in mind I have a decent amount of study time available..
For PA programs they require
1) Have completed a Degree I'll have my BSN in May 2012
2) Shadow a PA-Hours range for each school, some require 100 hours and some require around 1000
3) 3 LOR
4) Program length 2-3 years
5) 3.3-3.7 G.PA overall miniumum/Science G.P.A similar
Time required for PA
1) Graduate with BSN (2 more years)
2) Apply and get accepted to PA school (2-3 years length of school)
3) Go into the military as an officer and start as an 0-3
(5 years to goal)
My age would be 38 years old when I would be entering the military, assuming I would start the year I graduate with my BSN
of course these times are only if I get accepted the first time around, if not the times are longer
So time required for Nurse Practitioner would be
1)Graduate with BSN (2 more years)
2)Get 2-3 years experiece as a RN
3) Get accepted in NP or CRNA school, if accepted (3-4 years)
Overall time to my goal=9 years
My age when joining the military would be 33, assuming I get my commission accepted the year I graduate with my BSN
I also have 6 years prior service so the NP route looks appealing based on retirement years
I've just have been doing alot of research on both professions and their just doesn't seem to be alot of difference between the two, I've read on some posts that the NP has alot more independence, but I can't see that being the case for a NP in the military, (I plan on being a lifer, if they'll let me)
Also I have a strong interest in Neuro and Surgical and ER and Cardiac
Also I was thinking about applying for commissioning in the Air force to be an RN about May 2011, a year from when I graduate, also will be taking the GRE and also applying for the PA programs in June 2011, so one of my concerns is what if I apply for the commission for RN and get accepted into the military, and get accepted to PA school? if something like that were to happen can i turn down the commission for RN and pursue PA and maybe get the HPSP while in PA school?
I also live right by Sheppard AF Base, I would like to shadow a NP and a PA at the hospital here, any suggestions on how to go about doing that? Sorry for the long post again, and I know it seems like I'm leaning towards PA, i'm really not, just PA is looking more appealing due to less time to obtain an advanced degree and starting would be coming in as an 0-3, I'm older-31 so that is one reason the PA is looking like the way to go, but I'm open to discussions and suggestions...
Also so there is no misunderstanding, thus far I've really enjoyed Nursing, just trying to figure out what would be the best fit for me as far as long term goals are concerned, since I'm a non traditional student and older..