I also thought i would have to start from scratch, such a horrible feeling. I ended up feeling out a few schools and finding where my previous coursework would go the furthest. Prereqs will differ (slightly) from school to school. I live in NJ and ended up going to a NY school as it was the cheapest. Don't be discouraged by prices. The first NJ school i looked at was 76,000 for the one year program!! NO THANKS! I ended up paying 36,000 for a private school in NY. (3 semesters total)
Also program length varies greaty. One i looked at was 24 months. The one i ended up in was 12 months if you're a full time student.
As far as working during school goes, during the first 3 months I only worked about 12 hours a week, however, as the program continued and i realized i could work more I went up to around 24 hours a week. My advice would be to keep your work schedule as light as can be in the beginning until you have a handle on what is expected out of you. If you find yourself absolutely needing to work during school look into weekend ABSN options. My school offered one but it was 24 months as opposed to 12 months that full time students were offered.
And for the PA vs Nurse debate, my instructors always emphasized that nurse practitioners often have more autonomy than PA's, making nursing a better career choice
Best of luck!!