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Im not sure what to do in life. I know they have different pre-reqs but since I was a neuroscience major I have all the pre-reqs for both EXCEPT the genetics and bachelors degree (i have like 5 more classes so one more year for it). I have a 3.96 GPA currently, ive worked in a restaurant for 4 years and have been a tutor at my university for organic chem and psychology for 3 years. And I also worked in a organic chemistry research lab for two semesters. Due to me having to work those jobs (i thought i wanted to do med school but I dont) i only have about 150 hospital volunteer hours. Would I even be able to get into PA school in florida? I wouldnt want to move from home since thats money i dont have to spend so theres only 2 id apply to. Are the hours long? Do you work holidays and weekends? I dont care about most holidays except christmas and thanksgiving. I was thinking about going to nursing school since id get out a year before and I know 100% id get into nursing school but I dont want to work night shifts or holidays (or at least the two holidays i mentioned). And every nurse i talk to HATES it but ive never spoken to a PA. Im scared I wont get into PA school and I cant afford that. Im not a good test taker and I probably wont do good on the GRE (i did poorly on the SAT/ACT and great in college). I also want a family and low hours and nurses only work 36 hours a week usually, are PAs like that? Which would you say I should do? 

 

And since I have a year to complete my bachelors I was planning on trying to get a job as a scribe or something for hours of experience. 

 

And im scared to wait to go to PA school because they have cut offs for when you took your classes. And I took orgo like 3 years ago so if I graduate nursig school and want to go to PA school I have to retake most of my sciences.

Edited by Nik1122

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Do nursing school now. You can always move up to NP or PA later. As a new grad RN you will likely have to do some night/weekends/holidays as most schedules have a seniority component. 150 hrs of volunteer work will not get you into any decent PA programs. typical applicant has > 2000 hrs of paid experience as the level of EMT, CNA, medical asst, etc

PA work schedules are all over the place based on specialty and location. I work 24 hr shifts. I work my share of weekends, holidays, etc.

some folks work 12s or 10s or 8s. I have worked all of these schedules at various times.  There are m-f 9-5 PA jobs out there, mostly in clinics with no nights/weekends/holidays. good luck whatever you decide.

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Agree with EMEDPA. Since you don't have very substantial hands on health care experience, you wouldn't make a very competitive PA school applicant at this time. Academically you are spot on, and would make a great applicant. 

Going to nursing school will:

-Get you into the medical field in an excellent career path

-Help you decide if medicine is what you truly want (nursing is also a great career if you find you love it)

-Give you quality health care experience should you decide you want to pursue NP/PA down the road

I currently work in a dermatology clinic setting where it's mon-friday 8-5 with no holidays or weekends and no call, which has suited my lifestyle well. There is every type of schedule that you could imagine in medicine though. As a PA, you can gravitate toward the specialty that most interests you and best fits your lifestyle. 

Best of luck to you!

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I added this to my discussion also but

 

And since I have a year to complete my bachelors I was planning on trying to get a job as a scribe or something for hours of experience. 

 

And im scared to wait to go to PA school because they have cut offs for when you took your classes. And I took orgo like 3 years ago so if I graduate nursig school and want to go to PA school I have to retake most of my sciences.

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They would know better than me, but it might be worth applying to 1-2 PA schools while also applying for nursing schools just to see what happens. You should definitely try to at least shadow a PA or two though so that you gain a better understanding of the profession (this is also a requirement for many programs). For example, Nova Orlando doesn't require direct patient care experience.

Scribing is an excellent way to go for Florida schools imo.

Edit: I obtained all of my pt care experience via scribing and my GPA is much lower than yours, and I've been accepted into 3 programs so far (all in Florida). Why not give the application a shot, you know? Just make sure you have enough people willing to write you LoR so some can do it for nursing and some can do it for your PA app.

Edited by daydreamy

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Not every program has cut offs, but that is few and far between.  As for getting a job your last year of school, some schools do not count being a scribe - so double check on that before you go that path.

While all of the points brought up are good, one is the difference in the job.  Nurses are phenomenal and an integral part of the healthcare team, but their decision making is limited.  In general they are given orders by the provider (MD/DO, PA, NP) and they carry out those orders.  As a provider you are the one making decisions.  If you care about making every decision about everything then go to MD/DO school.  If you don't mind working collaboratively and having a physician overrule you at times then PA school (of course I'm biased, but in my opinion NP school is deficient...doesn't mean you can't find a good NP and I've known several good ones).  If you don't mind being given orders then consider nursing school.  I considered RN, but after spending time working in a hospital and shadowing a variety of healthcare workers I knew I would not be satisfied being an RN.  It's not that I can't take orders and follow directions, but I wanted to know the reasoning behind the decision and also be involved in that decision making.

As for schedule, as has been said: as a nurse - expect to work nights somewhat regularly while starting out.  As you gain experience you can often transition to day shift, but usually the rotation still requires working a regular rotation of weekends and holidays - hospitals don't close.  The exception is if you move up the ranks to some form of nursing management/administration, but then you often lose the 3x12  shifts and move to a normal M-F 8-5 schedule.

Also: GRE is not everything.  The greatest hump for PA school is getting in.  It's something like only 5-10% of applicants get into a PA school, but 95%+ graduate and pass licensing exam.  That doesn't mean you can relax in PA school, it's rough, but getting in is the "hard part."

Last comment: I would HIGHLY recommend figuring out what you want before you spend $100k+ on PA school (yes many school's tuition is less than $100k, but factor in loans for rent/food/gas/etc.).  Nursing school is FAR cheaper and often is shorter  - and you can usually work while in school.

Edited by mgriffiths
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5 minutes ago, daydreamy said:

They would know better than me, but it might be worth applying to 1-2 PA schools while also applying for nursing schools just to see what happens. You should definitely try to at least shadow a PA or two though so that you gain a better understanding of the profession (this is also a requirement for many programs). For example, Nova Orlando doesn't require direct patient care experience.

Scribing is an excellent way to go for Florida schools imo.

Edit: I obtained all of my pt care experience via scribing and my GPA is much lower than yours, and I've been accepted into 3 programs so far (all in Florida). Why not give the application a shot, you know? Just make sure you have enough people willing to write you LoR so some can do it for nursing and some can do it for your PA app.

I have to disagree with this. I don't think anyone should apply to PA school until they are 100% sure it is what they want to do.

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13 minutes ago, PADisplayName said:

I have to disagree with this. I don't think anyone should apply to PA school until they are 100% sure it is what they want to do.

This person still has a year before they apply, which gives them plenty of time to figure out if it's what they want to do (via shadowing and research, which it looks like they've already gotten a head-start on), so if it is, then I say go for it personally! My grandmother is a retired RN, my aunt is an RN, and my best friend is a physician. All of them wish they had been PA's instead, for what that's worth ❤️

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Daydreamy- docs who say they want to PAs have forgotten that it is like being a resident forever....

PAdisplay name. I agree with you. One should not allow random chance to direct the course of their life. If I applied to pa school, plumbing school, and barber college and only got into barber college would that be a wise way to decide on my future?

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Y'all are definitely correct that OP needs to do research and get some shadowing experience at the least.

@EMEDPA my grandmother and my aunt are not physicians, they're nurses. The OP is discussing nursing vs PA. Also, my best friend who is an MD is in her residency and does not feel that way about her work versus what the PA's do around her.

I will also point out that I've met a surprising number of first-year PA students during my interviews who had little to no patient care hours when they were accepted. The reality is that there are some programs out there, even excellent ones, that do not require patient care experience and accept students without these hours.

Anyway, just my opinion based off my own experiences and the experiences of some medical professionals around me.

Good luck to the OP in figuring out what they want to do, I certainly wish you well ❤️ 

Edited by daydreamy

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38 minutes ago, daydreamy said:

 my best friend is a physician. All of them wish they had been PA's instead, for what that's worth ❤️

this is what I was referring to. what I meant by the residency comment was that PAs by definition always answer to someone, at least for now. docs do not (other than hr admin, etc).

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Just now, EMEDPA said:

this is what I was referring to.

Please read my entire post. I know what you were referring to, and I took the time to clarify it for you.

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Just now, daydreamy said:

Please read my entire post. I know what you were referring to, and I took the time to clarify it for you.

I did read your post. Thank you for the clarification. I just meant docs would not enjoy having to be 2nd fiddle forever.

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Thank you so much for all this information,  I was looking to apply to Nova in ft. Laud and keiser university for the PA programs, if thats what I end up doing. Both dont have a minimum for experience. I know I want to do something in the medical field, im just not sure what. Everyone tells me not to do nursing, almost everyone! I was even tutoring a RN for orgo chem and he told me do PA because RN is horrible and hates it and he was a RN for 5 years. But I have never heard anything wrong with PA. And i looked at examples for patient experience and i THINK it was nova who listen scribe under. And i know i can be a scribe for a year before applying for PA school. But im not sure how nova and keiser are with acceptances for their program. Again thank you everyone!

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you owe it to yourself to shadow a bunch of PAs in a variety of fields before you make your final decision. It is not all unicorns and rainbows as a PA. it works for some and not others. Caveat emptor.

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Also, when I apply for PA school must I have my bachelors degree finished? Because my pre-reqs will be done but ill have a semester left for my bach degree completion. And ill be done with my bach degree before the PA program starts.

 

and id have to apply to nursing school in two months so i wouldnt have much time to shadow a PA in the mean time. Thats why i have so many questions. If i chose the PA route id of course shadow

Edited by Nik1122

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this varies by program. some allow you to apply in your senior yr, others require a completed degree at the time of application. do yourself a favor. take a yr and get some experience in health care at a lower level and see if you even like it before heading into a health care field. a cna class is 60 hrs. emt is 120. you can do them over a semester or as accelerated programs in a few weeks. then work for the remainder of that year. maybe you hate demanding people or can't stand blood or body smells, etc. this is one of the reasons prior experience is so important. it would suck to spend 100k on PA school only to discover you really dislike health care. there are not a lot of non-clinical options for those who have a PA cert.

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1 hour ago, EMEDPA said:

this varies by program. some allow you to apply in your senior yr, others require a completed degree at the time of application. do yourself a favor. take a yr and get some experience in health care at a lower level and see if you even like it before heading into a health care field. a cna class is 60 hrs. emt is 120. you can do them over a semester or as accelerated programs in a few weeks. then work for the remainder of that year. maybe you hate demanding people or can't stand blood or body smells, etc. this is one of the reasons prior experience is so important. it would suck to spend 100k on PA school only to discover you really dislike health care. there are not a lot of non-clinical options for those who have a PA cert.

I am one of the applicants that was admitted to PA school with very limited experience. For the past 5 months I’ve been working as a patient care tech on a med surg floor at a large hospital in a downtown, urban area. My eyes have certainly been opened to say the least. I have found that I have little patience for crazy people and it has definitely made me biased in favor of specialties like surgery or dermatology vs psych or inpatient medicine. That being said, I would strongly recommend obtaining experience prior to applying. I volunteered in a hospital for several years during undergrad, but it’s no substitute for getting your hands dirty so to speak. I’m still very excited to enter PA school and learn about how the physiology behind diseases and how to treat them etc, but I could NEVER have been a nurse based on what I’ve experienced at my current job. Caring for a patient at bedside is a lot different than diagnosing and treating their condition IMO. I highly suggest you shadow both professions before making a decision. 

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9 minutes ago, lctexas4 said:

I am one of the applicants that was admitted to PA school with very limited experience. For the past 5 months I’ve been working as a patient care tech on a med surg floor at a large hospital in a downtown, urban area. My eyes have certainly been opened to say the least. I have found that I have little patience for crazy people and it has definitely made me biased in favor of specialties like surgery or dermatology vs psych or inpatient medicine. That being said, I would strongly recommend obtaining experience prior to applying. I volunteered in a hospital for several years during undergrad, but it’s no substitute for getting your hands dirty so to speak. I’m still very excited to enter PA school and learn about how the physiology behind diseases and how to treat them etc, but I could NEVER have been a nurse based on what I’ve experienced at my current job. Caring for a patient at bedside is a lot different than diagnosing and treating their condition IMO. I highly suggest you shadow both professions before making a decision. 

yup, this. glad you are getting the chance to work some of these things out before PA school. I have seen folks who enter XYZ field, thinking it would be fun and totally hate it. some are now stuck in those fields because laterally mobility is not all it has cracked up to be. if you have 2 years experience in urology, you pretty much are qualified to do anything in the pa scope of practice....in urology....

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Hey! Welcome to the forum!

I too battled with this choice and was pro-pre-pa my entire undergrad but somehow ended up becoming an RN lol. 

Your GPA is fantastic so don't worry about not getting an interview somewhere. If you play your cards right (with enough PCE) you will be a first go-round pick. As for being scared of not getting in, you miss 100% of the shots you don't take.

Let me first say I was against becoming an RN because of all the horror stories. But it's been nothing but a wonderful experience for me - from student RN to professional RN. The ED staff is very welcoming, and the patients are so grateful. I tend to get less of the blow when patients are angry. That said, I'm still in the honeymoon phase of my nursing career. 

When I applied to PA school my cGPA was a lot less than yours - 3.53 to be exact. I applied to 9 schools, interviewed at 2, and got rejected. Applied to 1 BSN program, interviewed, and got in. So my interview skills was probably not the problem. 

Nursing isn't all that bad, but then again, I'm not working inpatient...I could never do it. The ED is where I belong. My confidence level has increased tremendously but I do have 3 years of MA experience. You're kind of forced to become confident in the ED. Things move so fast, you don't have time to think of your emotions.

If you want normal family-oriented hours...outpatient is your best bet (9a-5p) whether RN, PA, or NP. All of the nurses, providers, and ancillary staff at my hospital work 3 12s which I love. I'm doing 5 8s for the first 3 weeks but I absolutely hate being at work so much. Also as the newbie, I got hired for nights which I don't mind because I'm young and have no family. Plus I'll be working a nice +15% on top of my hourly rate during nights. 

If I should do it all over again...I would have done nursing school during my first undergrad instead of earning a BSN as a second degree. Then go off to PA school. But as it stands right now, I'm probably going to do an EM-NP Program due to lower cost.

As for being a diagnostician vs a clinician that carry out orders...you have to do your due diligence. As an RN you can't just carry out orders willy nilly because these are peoples' lives in your hands. You have to know what you're assessing for, why you're giving a medication, how it works, any side effects, and how to fix it should sh*t hit the fan. 

For example, just the other day, a young patient came in with severe chest pain, after a neg. cardiac workup was scheduled to get morphine for pain...his BP was low at baseline and I still gave it but had a 1L bag spiked and running just in case he decided to tank. Well, he did so I got the ER MD asap to get an order in for levophed...my point is, although I wasn't diagnosing...I'm the one at the bedside. Can you imagine if I gave him the morphine as ordered then left the room? He would've coded. 

 

Edited by Diggy
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