I am a NREMT-P currently and I am considering taking an online bridge to RN. What are the best programs and what are some of your experiences taking these programs?
Thanks for your help,
Derek Hogan, NREMT-P
Be careful, Derek. Nobody has yet figured out how to teach psychomotor or patient contact skills on-line.
Be sure that any program you consider is NLN accredited and acceptable to your state board of nursing, otherwise you may wind up with a bag of .... something that doesn't help you with your career change.
Excelsior is about the only one recognized by the NLN but it is not accepted in all states. The primary reason is there are no labs or clinicals. Excelsior and a couple of the other programs were intended to transition an LVN (or LPN) to RN who has had several hundred to over 1000 hours of clinicals as well as work experience as a Practical Nurse. Somewhere it got EMTs, Paramedics and RRTs into the program and then had to back track eliminating the EMTs.
For the states which do accept it there may be some additional requirements like getting 700 hours of clinicals done by a hospital which will sponsor you. In some places that can be difficult. Other states may require you to work as an RN in another state which accepts the program for x amount of time before applying for licensure in your state.
The rules may change for each state as some are now making the push for the BSN and others are tightening up some licensing weaknesses. You could end up with just a very expensive piece of paper.
Besides talking to the BON in your state you should also talk to the nurse recruiting offices at the local hospitals to see if they will hire someone with an online ASN. I know many places will not since there are many well qualified BSN grads looking for work. The students from the traditional programs may also get first chance since they are known from their clinical experience at the hospitals. Specialty units like the ICUs may have their own requirements which might be higher.
The other issue is trying to get the credits to transfer when you do want a BSN or some other degree. Usually these colleges will get you locked into taking more expensive classes at their own colleges or at private online universities which may or may not be credible.
Excelsior has an outstanding track record over more than 30 years, both with ASN and BSN programs. There is no clinical "time" requirement but their ARE clinical proficiency exams, which are in person and relatively demanding. Their BSNs are accepted by all of the MSN programs (all is a big word, but I've never heard of any that did not).
But Excelsior is not an "on line" program per se. You can earn your credits in a variety of different ways. It is a combination of a "credit bank" and "credit by exam" in which you self-study if you wish.
Geri is right in that the willingness of state BONs and hospitals to hire allow/hire grads of non-traditional programs seems to ebb and flow with the nursing surplus or shortage. Who says it's all about the patients?
I would be very hesitant to give the OP such a glowing recommendation that the credits are all accepted by all colleges. I do know this is not necessarily the case and have known students/RNs who spend thousands of dollars retaking courses or just giving up to take Excelsior or U of Phoenix's program which also not cheap. I suggest the OP do some research with college advisors before enrolling in a program like Excelsior.
The CPNE is only 2 days. There is really much more covered in the 800 - 1300 hours of clinicals in a nursing program and can not or should not be summed up by just two days of a few skills.
I did not say the purpose of allowing or not allowing Excelsior grads was about ebbing the surplus. In the 1980s nursing made it too easy to enter the field by allowing some nontradional programs like Excelsior and reducing existing education requirements to reduce a shortage. That move may have set back nursing's advancement by at least 10 to 15 years. Nursing should already have been at a BSN entry. Several other health care professions have not only established a Bachelors for entry but also Masters and in Physical Therapy it is a doctorate which is expected. It is time for the ADN or ASN to become the entry for the LVN like in Canada.
I do not want to get into another anti/pro education discussion on this forum again. Let's just say I am pro education and have seen many benefits come from it. Sometimes it is necessary to know why you do a skill or how evidence based medicine can affect patient care. It is too bad you believe an advancement in education for a profession to a higher level is not about the patients.
I appreciate the info. I am just looking for a way to advance my career to make more money without losing my productivity in becoming a medic. I know I can always work as a medic on the side, but I'd like that to at least cut down on some education requirements. The local college where I took my medic class only has an associates in nursing and BSN program. I can't find a brick and mortar bridge program closer than 2.5 hours. I guess it just seems like starting over if I go to nursing school outright.
Your input is much appreciated, thanks!
"Cut down on some education requirements" ?
Some education requirements are in place for a reason.
The 1 year of prerequisites are basically the same for almost all health care programs which require a degree even at the Associates level. If you have the math and science classes which meet the prerequisite requirements, you are starting all over. Some Paramedics I have spoken with have gotten frustrated when their abbreviated 1 week long Anatomy class from the local Paramedic school will not take the place of 2 college semester long A&P classes with labs.
Either an Associates or BSN are what you start with in nursing if that is what your local college offers. You won't be going into an MSN program as entry unless you have a strong Bachelors degree in related field which also meets all the prerequisites.
There are some classes which you can take online even at traditional schools. But, labs and clinicals really should accompany the classes concerning direct patient care.
RN and Paramedic have very different focus concerns in patient care. Too many shortcuts will just do the patients a disservice.
Since you are looking at nursing more for the money, I really suggest you find a program that is traditional at least for the number of clinical hours which should be no less than 800. You might find it is not what you expected. And remember those who are interviewing you for a job in nursing will be asking if you are just wanting a job or a career.
Derek has put his finger on exactly what is wrong with paramedic education in the United States. Instead of including the common core allied health professions courses as prerequisites to paramedic education, paramedic schools teach "just what we need to know to pass the test" and call all that anatomy, physiology, psychology, math, etc. "unnecessary."
Unfortunately, the graduate is then screwed! Back to the beginning and start over, if you want to also become a nurse, physical therapist, medical technologist, or whatever.
Me, I prefer the Australian model. My agency hosted five of these students a couple of years ago for their summer clinicals. To become a paramedic, you get a bachelor's degree (which in their system of education takes three years). If you want to become both a paramedic and a nurse, you take one additional year. When you graduate, you have choices - and the competition is to get a paramedic job, because the pay is better and there is more autonomy! Why is the pay better? Less paramedics! It's hard to become one.
If you've gone to a "certificate program" or a non-degreed (or even some associates degree) paramedic program in the US, and you want to enter another allied health profession - back to the beginning. Sorry.
Unfortunately, I had arrived at the same conclusion before I posted here. I just wanted to make sure there wasn't a way before I made a decision. Thanks for your time, Skip and Geri.
Accredited by one organization or accredited to have an enducational program in a state are very different terms.
Let's take it from an EMS example. A private trade school can be accredited by CAAHEP but that does not mean it will translate into accepted college credits. Even in traditional college situations the transcript must be evaluated to transfer credits from one college to another. It is not a slam dunk that any college will take another's credits.
Legislation for the entry into a profession can change. GA just updated theirs about Excelsior as did a couple of other states. Whatever examples you might say you knew someone once who did something 10 or even 5 years ago may not apply today.
I again caution the OP to check the state BON and schools rather than just taking "don't know anyone" as concrete fact you will be okay in your state and for other colleges.
If people can finish this nursing program in 7 weeks that just puts more weight towards this being a very inferior program or that this person is definitely the exception and not the rule. There are EMT-Basic programs which are just 3 weeks in length and meet the state requirement for number of hours but some in EMS will say they are inferior because of the length of time for these "boot camps". The same for the 6 - 8 month Paramedic programs which we have in my area. They are fully accredited but their credits will transfer only to certain schools and in a limited quantity. I have also heard of shorter Paramedic programs in other states which are accredited by your profession and seem to be well accepted so I can see where those in EMS do not see a problem with skipping prerequisistes like the sciences and maths or don't want to do clinicals even if it is in an area such as hospital situations where you do not normally work such as onocology, peds and OB.
I would like to post your example on a couple of nursing legislative discussion boards to show it is time to tighten up on Excelsior or any school (at least 2 other private schools) with these loop holes and strive to raise the education entry for the RN to the Bachelors. The clinical hours should be a mandate by itself and just that portion should be alot longer than 7 weeks.
Where did your friends get their BSN degree before being accepted to a CRNA or FNP school? How much work experience as an RN did they have before applying to CRNA or FNP school?
Striving for higher education with standards for prerequisites and patient contact hours through clinicals should not be seen as a bad thing.
There actually IS some research correlating nurse education levels and patient outcomes.
I found this one in about 30 seconds: http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=197345
"Not studied" and "Not supported by the evidence" are not the same thing. You can reach no conclusion based on the former - which is why papers have a review of the literature on the subject even if there is no literature on the subject - to identify the need for research.
I completed both programs in traditional settings. Practiced full time in each. I will always see a medic in the mirror, but the value of my years in ICU at a level 1 trauma center can not be overstated. Hundreds of hours manipulating meds and vents and exotic therapies, guided by monitors in the brain, heart, belly, vessels; gobs of lab data, world class doc's explaining it all...I see 60 aspects of my field patients' presentations now. My medic brain saw 10. When I start dopamine, IV Nitro, lasix, CPAP, morphine, albuterol and a Foley on a suffocating CHF'er in the ambulance, my brain 'sees' the blood gases, the chest film, stroke volume, peripheral vascular resistance... Transfers w/balloon pumps, Swans, head bolts, chest tubes(which are not simple), which IV's can be stopped...There's a handful of medics in my area w/RN tickets. Mostly pull a few ER shifts/month. None work in ICU. Yea, study nursing...do a complete on campus program...work a mess of hours in a good ICU. You'll be the happiest medic in town. ICU staff will sigh with relief when you arrive for a transfer. A quickie RN ticket and spotty ER shifts? Another RINO(RN in name only)? Best to you... (PS. Best to Chief Kirkwood, Sir)
I'm currently in the Excelsior program right now. It's the same program that RUE and TCN (The College Network) sell but they act as middle men. My recommendation would be, if you take that program, to do all the non-nursing classes at a community or technical college. That way the classes are MUCH more easily transferable. Also, EX doesn't have labs for A&P and Micro, so they're pretty much useless. Also, if there is a local college that offers a Paramedic associates, the general education reqs tend to be the exact same. Right now, when I finish Advanced A&P next semester, I'll finish the gen ed reqs for EX and the Paramedic Associates at my local college at the same time. 2 Birds with 1 stone if you will.