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I am wondering what the best route to take from your undergrad to PA School is. To me, nursing as opposed to a biology or health sciences, et. would be the most logical, because not only are you taking the same prerequisites as any other major, but you are getting the most hands on experience working directly with patients and in a hospital or other health care setting. You can also get all your clinical hours acquired through this route, and work as a nurse before applying to PA school to finish courses or to pay off loans. Will PA schools see that I am a nurse and think that being a PA was just a second option (which in reality it is the primary goal) and therefore not consider the application as much? Also, will this discourage my advisors and other people I will be working under or learning under during nursing school? I understand getting into PA school is very difficult and extremely competitive and that is why I want something good to fall back on with my undergraduate degree, and nursing has many routes I can take as opposed to some other undergraduate degrees. Any thoughts on this route or if not, a better major to choose?

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To me, nursing as opposed to a biology or health sciences, et. would be the most logical, because not only are you taking the same prerequisites as any other major, but you are getting the most hands on experience working directly with patients and in a hospital or other health care setting.

 

I absolutely agree that nursing is a great path to go because you get such great healthcare experience, but you are incorrect about nursing students taking the same prereqs as any other major. Most nursing schools require an introductory chemistry course, for PA school you need a full year of general chemistry and then a semester of organic chemistry and a semester of biochem. You will not take these classes as part of nursing school or as prereques for nursing school, so you will have to take them after or try to cram them in if possibly during nursing school. These classes must be taken sequentially, so you are basically talking 2 years extra of classes, which could be done after finishing nursing school while you are working as a nurse to get your HCE. The prereuqes to PA school are almost identical to medical school, so keep in mind that this won't be easy, but nursing all and all is a good path, but there is a reason why so many PAs go the Bio major route.

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This should really be under pre-pa

 

I think nursing is a good undergrad for PA schools.  The prereqs are similar but not identical in most cases.  You should be able to handle the added course load to satisfy both during your fresh/soph years.  As for clinical hours, most RN programs will provide approx 500 +/- hands on patient care hours.  Although these are good hours, they still do not compare to paid hours.  Working as a RN in a broad field for a couple years would be ideal experience.  You will still need to have PA shadowing hours too.  As for while in RN school, don't flaunt that your only going to use it as a stepping stone...nobody likes that person. 

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I absolutely agree that nursing is a great path to go because you get such great healthcare experience, but you are incorrect about nursing students taking the same prereqs as any other major. Most nursing schools require an introductory chemistry course, for PA school you need a full year of general chemistry and then a semester of organic chemistry and a semester of biochem. You will not take these classes as part of nursing school or as prereques for nursing school, so you will have to take them after or try to cram them in if possibly during nursing school. These classes must be taken sequentially, so you are basically talking 2 years extra of classes, which could be done after finishing nursing school while you are working as a nurse to get your HCE. The prereuqes to PA school are almost identical to medical school, so keep in mind that this won't be easy, but nursing all and all is a good path, but there is a reason why so many PAs go the Bio major route.

Or just take the higher chemistries instead of the intro. They take anything that's higher for prereqs. Taking orgo isn't necessary unless a school you want to go to wants it. I never took orgo. So really it's no extra time if you do it right.

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This should really be under pre-pa

 

I think nursing is a good undergrad for PA schools. The prereqs are similar but not identical in most cases. You should be able to handle the added course load to satisfy both during your fresh/soph years. As for clinical hours, most RN programs will provide approx 500 +/- hands on patient care hours. Although these are good hours, they still do not compare to paid hours. Working as a RN in a broad field for a couple years would be ideal experience. You will still need to have PA shadowing hours too. As for while in RN school, don't flaunt that your only going to use it as a stepping stone...nobody likes that person.

Caspa prohibits using hours while in training, just FYI to anybody reading.

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As for while in RN school, don't flaunt that your only going to use it as a stepping stone...nobody likes that person. 

 

By going this route you are probably taking the spot of someone who truly wants to become a nurse. Sure, it's a nice fall back in case becoming a PA doesn't pan out, but IF you are someone who is dead set on becoming a PA, than I feel it is a bit selfish.

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Or just take the higher chemistries instead of the intro. They take anything that's higher for prereqs. Taking orgo isn't necessary unless a school you want to go to wants it. I never took orgo. So really it's no extra time if you do it right.

 

Most schools require Ochem as a prereq to Bio Chem, which the majority of do schools require, it would be foolish to not take Biochem if you really want to have the best chances of getting accepted to good programs. So even if you do count a higher Chem course toward nursing school, that still leaves 2-3 additional courses of chem and on top of that you will likely need other bio classes such as genetics and general biology. I guess my point is you won't be able to just apply to PA school after nursing school without taking some difficult extra courses which will probably delay your time to apply compared to if you were a Bio major.

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Most schools require Ochem as a prereq to Bio Chem, which the majority of do schools require, it would be foolish to not take Biochem if you really want to have the best chances of getting accepted to good programs. So even if you do count a higher Chem course toward nursing school, that still leaves 2-3 additional courses of chem and on top of that you will likely need other bio classes such as genetics and general biology. I guess my point is you won't be able to just apply to PA school after nursing school without taking some difficult extra courses which will probably delay your time to apply compared to if you were a Bio major.

Okay, if you say so. I graduated with a BSN, taking higher chem than necessary, and didn't need to take anything to apply to a list of about 2 dozen schools. Just my experience. Considering orgo is worthless to the practice of medicine, I recommend people avoid it if possible. That's just my opinion.

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Most university 400 lvl. Biochem courses require Organic Chem and sometimes Quantitative Analysis as prereqs.

 

This is why the biochem requirement or recommendation of some schools is frustrating; you can't take it at your home university w/o those courses, but people are taking it at the intro, CC level, or biochem for nursing with only chem 101 as a prerequisite. Two different animals.

 

Upper level biology courses are the most useful and IMO, fun.

 

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I taught in a community college that has an RN (ADN) program. The nursing prereqs were at a far lower level than the PA prereqs. Intro chemistry, A&P I and II, and an English course were all that was required for entry into the RN program.

Source? I would be surprised to see a school not require bio, though you are talking about an associates and not a BSN.

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By going this route you are probably taking the spot of someone who truly wants to become a nurse. Sure, it's a nice fall back in case becoming a PA doesn't pan out, but IF you are someone who is dead set on becoming a PA, than I feel it is a bit selfish.

 

Kinda the nature of the beast, isn't it?  "We require paid HCE, but don't take anyone else's job, ok."

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By going this route you are probably taking the spot of someone who truly wants to become a nurse. Sure, it's a nice fall back in case becoming a PA doesn't pan out, but IF you are someone who is dead set on becoming a PA, than I feel it is a bit selfish.

 

^^^^ should never enter in your consideration.  ever. ever. ever.  

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Feel free to expand.. People on this forum are extremely against the pre-pa that wants to use pa school as a stepping stone to med school. Am I missing how this is that much different?

 

Sure.

 

Any pre-pa that PLANS to utilize their physician assistant master's degree as a stepping stone to become a physician is a pre-PA idiot and probably has an IQ far too low to become either. A bachelor's degree is required to become a physician assistant.  Feel free to choose ANY bachelor's degree you want to gain admission to PA school.  Yes, if you choose RN/BSN, you might knock someone (who is less qualified than you) out of the class, but it's not like your maliciously going around trying to ruin people's lives.  Who knows, you might decide you want to stay a nurse.  I just recommend not going around to all your nursing peers/professors and say you plan to move on to bigger and better things after graduation...it's just poor class.   

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Feel free to expand.. People on this forum are extremely against the pre-pa that wants to use pa school as a stepping stone to med school. Am I missing how this is that much different?

PA school is a terrible idea as a "stepping stone" to medical school, especially as something planned out beforehand. So much time and debt and then to do it all over again...lol

 

The people on the forum you're referring to are against people who really want to go to medical school in the first place, but can't get in, thinking PA school is an alternative/backup.

 

PA school isn't for those who want to be a doctor but can't. It's for people who want to be PAs. If the former 'settles', they'll probably be unpleasantly surprised later on.

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I just do not understand why people do not want to take OChem.  I found it extremely interesting when I had to take second the second semester again to reach the right number of credits for admission to my program.  The first time I took it was in 1976 in a trimester college system.  I was therefore short 2 stinkin' credits of OChem and 1 credit for OChem lab when I applied for PA school in 2000.

 

I only needed to re-take second semester Chemistry with lab and the professor almost didn't let me in the class.  I convinced him I could do it.  My lab partner was a brainiac high school student who was taking college courses.  He was so smart he only allowed me to do certain things like measure some stuff on a scale when we were making fireworks materials.  Then he helped me with those equations.  I passed the course with a B.  For a few brief moments in time I thought I actually understood what it was all about. 

 

That high school student now has his Phd in chemistry.  His wife is a physician and I precepted her once in the ER when she was a med student.  She was just hired in this area as a pediatrician.  I think he is teaching somewhere or doing research.  

 

Small town life, gotta love it.   

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Once you become a nurse, you can work to build your HCE while you investigate the next step of becoming a PA.  (The above post about training hours was WRONG, by the way.  MANY schools accept certain types of training as unpaid direct-patient care hours.  I know this because I just applied with these kinds of hours, and they were accepted by CASPA and several schools to which I applied.)  At that point, you might also want to weigh the choice: NP vs PA, since both professions are evolving rapidly.  If you become anything but a nurse first, NP comes off the table.  That said, you're right that you're very employable as a nurse, so if it takes a while to get your CASPA app together or to receive an acceptance letter, you'll at least be working in medicine, gaining valuable patient care experience.  Good for you thinking it through so far in advance.  Just take it one step at a time.  Good luck! 

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 (The above post about training hours was WRONG, by the way.  MANY schools accept certain types of training as unpaid direct-patient care hours.  I know this because I just applied with these kinds of hours, and they were accepted by CASPA and several schools to which I applied.)  

 

yeah I entered my nursing clinical hours into CASPA back in 2011

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Patient Care Experience

 

Experiences in which you are directly responsible for a patient’s care; for example: prescribing medication, performing procedures, directing a course of treatment, working on patients as an active EMT, etc.

 

Other Health Care Experience

 

You are working in the health or a health-related field but are not directly responsible for a patient’s care; for example, filling prescriptions, performing clerical work, delivering patient food, cleaning patient rooms, working as a “Candy Striper” or hospital volunteer, etc.

 

Directly from CASPA website. Take it as you will, but it doesn't seem to me that training counts here. You could make an argument for "other," but do what you like.

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PA school is a terrible idea as a "stepping stone" to medical school, especially as something planned out beforehand. So much time and debt and then to do it all over again...lol

 

Any pre-pa that PLANS to utilize their physician assistant master's degree as a stepping stone to become a physician is a pre-PA idiot

 

I feel both of you are squirreling your way out of this.  Whether you think it is "smart" or non-ideal or whatever isn't really the point.  Denying that adcoms are complicit in topfeeding strikes me as very disingenuous.  It's better to own it and strike peace with it.  That includes backing down as militantly against PAs furthering their MS.

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Patient Care ExperienceExperiences in which you are directly responsible for a patient’s care; for example: prescribing medication, performing procedures, directing a course of treatment, working on patients as an active EMT, etc.Other Health Care ExperienceYou are working in the health or a health-related field but are not directly responsible for a patient’s care; for example, filling prescriptions, performing clerical work, delivering patient food, cleaning patient rooms, working as a “Candy Striper” or hospital volunteer, etc.Directly from CASPA website. Take it as you will, but it doesn't seem to me that training counts here. You could make an argument for "other," but do what you like.

Candy striping isn't training. Don't get things confused. You said "training" can't count as direct care experience. While it's true that certain schools only accept paid experience (which trainng typically is not), MANY schools accept training as unpaid direct patient care. For example, I know a chiropractor who counted his intern year (treating patients under supervision) as hours. No interpretation about it--he had his hands on patients (in a teaching setting). I know a nurse who did the same for the clinical training phase, and CASPA had no problem. I counted my hours as a clinical intern (seeing patients before graduating), and after reporting them very clearly and honestly in CASPA, saw them accepted all over the place. (Now schools may want to see additional paid and volunteer experience too.(. OP, just note any direct, hands on patient care in a medical setting will count--training or not...

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Candy striping isn't training. Don't get things confused. You said "training" can't count as direct care experience. While it's true that certain schools only accept paid experience (which trainng typically is not), MANY schools accept training as unpaid direct patient care. For example, I know a chiropractor who counted his intern year (treating patients under supervision) as hours. No interpretation about it--he had his hands on patients (in a teaching setting). I know a nurse who did the same for the clinical training phase, and CASPA had no problem. I counted my hours as a clinical intern (seeing patients before graduating), and after reporting them very clearly and honestly in CASPA, saw them accepted all over the place. (Now schools may want to see additional paid and volunteer experience too.(. OP, just note any direct, hands on patient care in a medical setting will count--training or not...

Like I said before, do as you like. What people do will have no affect on me. But the wording is unambiguous. Someone in training is not directly responsible. If the schools are fine with it, okay, cool. Caspa doesn't enforce, whatever, I have CoD to play. But it says what it says. I was originally trying to be helpful, but if you say they don't care, then by all means.

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