This blog was created by a second career nursing student to help anyone who has considered becoming a nurse as a second (or third or fourth) career. I will attempt to give you the benefit of months of scouring the internet and nursing school websites and to show you exactly what you need to do to become a nurse and finally follow your heart.
Sunday, January 8, 2012
Educational requirements: Nurse Practitioner vs. Physician Assistant
Degree: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
License: Provided by the Board of Registered Nursing in the state the nurse practices in. A Nurse practitioner, in addition to holding a license as a Registered Nurse, also holds a separate license issued by the BRN upon completion of a licensing exam, allowing them to practice in the advanced practice role.
Length of programs: 1-2 years
Pre-requisite requirements: Generally, Nurse Practitioner programs require you already hold a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing (BSN). However, there are a number of programs which allow you to earn a Masters Degree in Nursing and a Nurse Practitioner license if you hold a bachelor degree in ANY field. These are often called “direct entry” programs.
The following is a list of these direct entry programs I know about in California, however a simple google search for “direct entry masters in nusing” will find the ones in your state.
University of California, San Francisco Masters Entry Program in Nursing (MEPN)
Degree: Generally, a Masters Degree in Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS), Health Science (MHS), or Medical Science (MMSc). While there are Bachelors Degree programs and even non-degree programs, these are quickly dying out and are not recommended.
License: Licensing of PAs is regulated by individual state medical boards, in other words the same body that regulates medical doctors. PAs are required to work under the supervision of a medical doctor. PAs must pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam before being able to practice as a PA-C, or certified Physician Assistant.
Length of Programs: Generally 4-7 years of post-secondary studies. This is often accomplished by first obtaining a bachelors degree in another field, as well as the PA pre-requisite classes (discussed below), and then applying to a 2-3 year PA Masters Degree program.
Pre-requisite requirements: Pre-requisites vary by school but generally a bachelors degree in any field, along with the following courses:
Human Anatomy with lab Human Physiology with lab General Chemistry with lab Microbiology or bacteriology with lab
Algebra, Calculus or Statistics English Composition Two courses in Social Sciences (e.g. Psychology, Sociology or Cultural Anthropology)
Biology (this requirement varies by school)
Applying to PA schools is done through the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA)