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Really need some advice. How do I decide between PA and NP? Or not going back at all?

Nurses   (662 Views | 5 Replies)
by Kbrown03 Kbrown03 (New) New

193 Profile Views; 2 Posts

My situation is a little unique, but I would appreciate any advice while I try to decide between a rock and a hard place here.

I am an RN-BSN in North Carolina. I have 3 years experience, 1 in ICU and 2 on a step-down. I am currently enrolled as a post-bacc grad student and just started classes on Monday that are pre-reqs for PA school that I did not do for nursing school. I struggled with the decision to do NP or PA, because I already have everything I need for NP, but have been unable to get into a program as of yet. My GPA is a 4.0. The average candidate has 7 years experience, which is not something I can get any faster.

In order for me to complete all the pre-reqs I need for 7 out of the 12 PA schools here in NC, I'll need to do 2 classes per semester for the next 3 semesters (Chemistry and upper level Biology classes). I am currently PRN working every other Saturday, hoping to switch to days so I can work more with school Mon-Fri. We are essentially broke. Financially, we are both in university, living in my parents guest house, have one car, and i have medical bills and grad school to pay for. My husband is currently looking for part-time work while he finishes his Chemistry degree.

The dilemma here is that my husband and I (25 and 23) want to start a family. I was diagnosed with endometriosis in August and had two endometriomas, one tumor, and my right ovary removed in September. My GYN said the endo was going to come back and in his opinion, it was going to go straight for my only healthy ovary I have left and recommended I get pregnant ASAP. I go back to the doctor next week, hopefully to see if I have anymore endometriomas growing. I want to try to have children now while my ovary is still healthy, as I will probably end up with no ovaries in the next 2 years.

Though I really would prefer to do PA (I'm really enjoying the chem and bio classes), I am unsure as to whether I can be unemployed for PA school for 2 years and fund both grad school and a toddler. So my brain tells me to quit school now because I already have everything I need for NP school, work full time as a nurse until I get into NP school, then work part time in school. But that would require being admitted into an NP program and giving up on PA.

I've discussed this heavily with my husband. He wants me to do what I feel is best. Right now with such little income, it's hard to make ends meet. If I get pregnant, we'll need to get a different car, health insurance for a baby, a bigger house, etc. I want to keep pursing PA school, but financially find it difficult. And I wouldn't mind NP, but can't seem to get into a school because I don't have a decade of experience like everyone else trying to get out of the bedside. Honestly, I feel like my purpose in life is to be a mom, and I want it more than anything. But stay-at-home-mom jobs can't pay the bills when it's a fat chance that hubby will be able to do it all for us. And I DO NOT want to be a bedside nurse for the rest of my life.

Basically my question here is, if you were in my shoes, what would you do?

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Sour Lemon has 9 years experience.

3 Followers; 4,331 Posts; 33,045 Profile Views

As someone who waited too long to have children and ending up with major problems, I'd say put the children first if they are important to you. You may not be as educated as you'd like to be at this point, but you're educated enough to provide for a family (in conjunction with your husband). It sounds like you have good support from other family members, as well, since you're living in their house. And hopefully "the scenic route" will allow you time to pay down the debt you've accrued so far ...or at least keep it from growing as fast.

As a final thought, babies don't always come when you plan for them to. Even if you decide to have a baby now, it doesn't mean you will succeed. It could take years- or never happen, at all.

Best of luck in everything!!

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Atl-Murse has 1 years experience.

474 Posts; 7,243 Profile Views

I don't think you really want to support yourself. Why spend time and resources for PA school when you really want to be a stay at home mom . Grow up , get a full time job, support your family and quit leeching off family members. You can work full time and take classes at the same time. Time to be an adult

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2 Posts; 193 Profile Views

I don't think you fully understand what I typed. I work BECAUSE stay-at-home mom is not a paying job. The reason I'm going back to school is so that I can BETTER support my family, just as I have for the past five years. And just because we live with my parents right now does not mean I'm not paying them for it. That is not leeching. Not everyone has the same life situation as you. Putting others down is not 'giving advice'.

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SierraMoon has 8 years experience as a ADN, BSN, RN and specializes in ICU/UM.

215 Posts; 4,049 Profile Views

If kids are the most important thing to you, then ditch school, get a full-time job for a year (for insurance and FMLA reasons) and start trying. Work as a staff nurse until the baby starts school and at that time you'll have more experience for NP school.

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KatieMI has 6 years experience as a BSN, MSN, RN and specializes in ICU, LTACH, Internal Medicine.

2 Followers; 1 Article; 2,472 Posts; 42,941 Profile Views

Which NP program wants 7 years of bedside with 4.0 GPA? Just genuinely interested, because I went through a whole lot of them, including top-notchers like UofMichigan and UofChicago, and it was quite clear that they all value GPA and academics above everything else.

Do you know that most PA programs are as competitive as the best NP programs, and in general they are not friendly to RNs?

You can generally work through NP school unless you go to heavily front-loaded accelerated program or specialty like CRNA. But PA program, being, essentially, a medical school compressed in 2 years instead of 4, cannot be done when working. Also, there are tons of part time NP programs but all PA programs are full time.

Being NP, you can work independently (depending on place and circumstances). As a PA, you are tied to MD/DO forever.

With all that and your family, you can either do like said above (convert your job to full time or pick an agency and work till your child goes to kindergarten, then go back to school; this way, you can put aside some money and in a few years get enough to pay for your advanced degree; or continue your life as now but ready to sharply reduce school load when you get pregnant. Either way, something will have to wait, and it is ok. Life is not perfect.

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