Paramedic to RN bridge….. options?

LoadingCosta

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What’s up everyone?

I’m a paramedic in the state of Georgia. I’ve been a paramedic for three years now and I’m 28 years old. I work full time at a fire department but I am currently unhappy with my current situation. I’m seeking some solid advice. I’m not old by any means but I feel like I’m falling behind in finding what direction I want. I thought at one point I did have it all figured out. I thought nursing was the route I wanted. I have passion for traveling and seeing the world. I love taking care of patients and making a difference. I love the medicine model but I’m far from smart enough to become a doctor or physician assistant. I don’t even have a bachelors degree. I thought about doing a bridge program from paramedic to RN and than travel with my RN license and one day transition to maybe NP and specialize in cardiology or orthopedic.

I recently was accepted into Albany State University bridge program and withdrew after a week. Many reasons for why I backed out. I’m not going to list them all here but I was driving two hours and 30 minutes to school and the material was “overwhelming.” I was taking two classes at the time. First class was nursing fundamentals that required 500 pages of text to read and Psych mental health reading over 300 pages. We would have a test every 2 weeks on each class and we had to finish the class with a minimum of 75. Only 6 module exams and one final exam. 50 questions on exams. 20 multiple choice and select all that apply and the rest was fill in the blanks and short answers. I also work full time at a fire department. I decided to withdraw after 1 week because I didn’t think that program was setting me up for success m.

Now I’m sitting here debating if I want to go back to nursing school and try another program or not but all programs I have called mentioned they changed there material because previous years, students were buying test banks and using them to cheat. This is why now they are doing short answers and fill in the blanks. I really don’t know what direction I want to do anymore. I would love to be a nurse but I don’t believe I have the passion for nursing school. I want to leave the fire department and get off the ambulance but I don’t know what to do anymore seeing there are not many options.

I thought about IT but the field is over saturated and it’s not very intriguing to me like medicine is.

I had goals goals and now I truly do feel like a failure and stuck.

I can’t do a traditional program because I’m single and by myself. Have bills to pay.

If you read this. First, thank you. Secondly, any advice or wisdom would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much and stay blessed!
 

mgr22

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It's not unusual to change jobs and/or try different career paths. When I was your age, I'd just started my fourth full-time job in seven years. The fifth would be three years later. Each time, I expected to stay longer, but I ended up feeling I'd be happier elsewhere. Sometimes I was.

Other than medicine, what do you like to do? What do you think you're good at? Do you have any college or trade experience? How did you do in paramedic school? What did you do before you became a medic?

You said something about seeing the world. Have you considered military service?

You mentioned a program that didn't set you up for success. What does that mean to you -- i.e., how would you want to be set up for success?
 

MMiz

I put the M in EMTLife
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This reminds me a lot of the time I took my evenings EMT basic class.

The drive was miserable, it was late at night, and just a few classes in I dropped the course. It wasn't a good fit.

I ended up taking it over the summer and had a completely different experience that I fondly remember as some of my best days in college.

I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss nursing based on this poor experience.

I'd find a local nursing program where you can get your Associates Degree in nursing.

Once you have that you can easily pursue a BSN degree, or something else.

You'll find nursing school is likely overwhelming, but the payoff after a couple of years is immense.

As far as nursing not being your end goal in life, that's fine. I've known nurses to become CRNAs, Physician Assistants, and completely leave the field for something else.

At the very least, keep moving forward. Can you take some nursing pre-requisites online to be transferred to the program? I was surprised to see that most community colleges now often nursing classes online.
 

EpiEMS

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I love the medicine model but I’m far from smart enough to become a doctor or physician assistant. I don’t even have a bachelors degree. I thought about doing a bridge program from paramedic to RN and than travel with my RN license and one day transition to maybe NP and specialize in cardiology or orthopedic.
That's not necessarily true! PA schools are practically meant for EMS providers and military medics (other than the hurdle of prerequisite coursework). You can turn your paramedic licensure into a good portion (something like 40-50 credit hours) of an associates' degree (I believe about 60 credit hours) and then you're halfway to a bachelors (120, roughly) - most of which could be as easy or as hard as you want.

I think an ADN makes sense based on what you're saying, but I don't think medical school or PA school is out of reach by any means!
 

akflightmedic

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I can’t do a traditional program because I’m single and by myself. Have bills to pay.

What??? This is EXACTLY the time you do it...LOL. You think it is easier with a partner or a family??

FYI, I did the traditional program working TWO jobs and going through a divorce.
 
OP
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LoadingCosta

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What??? This is EXACTLY the time you do it...LOL. You think it is easier with a partner or a family??

FYI, I did the traditional program working TWO jobs and going through a divorce.
May I ask how you did this? Maybe you ate just amazing at what you do but I’m not sure how to accomplish this……
 
OP
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LoadingCosta

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You either WANT it, or don’t. Sacrifice is part of life.
I absolutely agree. I also want to be make sure I am set up for access
It's not unusual to change jobs and/or try different career paths. When I was your age, I'd just started my fourth full-time job in seven years. The fifth would be three years later. Each time, I expected to stay longer, but I ended up feeling I'd be happier elsewhere. Sometimes I was.

Other than medicine, what do you like to do? What do you think you're good at? Do you have any college or trade experience? How did you do in paramedic school? What did you do before you became a medic?

You said something about seeing the world. Have you considered military service?

You mentioned a program that didn't set you up for success. What does that mean to you -- i.e., how would you want to be set up for success?
You ask a good question. I’m good at sports and fitness. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy video games but that is more of a stress relief if you will.

I have college experience in regards to take my prerequisites for the nursing program and going to fire school but nothing major. I was actually working at a supermarket and a tire shop prior to joining the fire department. I’ve had plenty of other jobs like delivery driver for Pizza Hut but nothing major.

I actually did very well in paramedic school. Passed first time at 75 questions. I was working at my current fire department as an EMT.

I’m looking for a school that wants to teach students and doesn’t just throw 20 different websites and materials at us and tells us to read and see us next class. When I asked for help all they said was read. A lot of material is great but I also feel like too much can be overwhelming and it makes it hard to figure out what is important to study and what is not.
 
OP
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LoadingCosta

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This reminds me a lot of the time I took my evenings EMT basic class.

The drive was miserable, it was late at night, and just a few classes in I dropped the course. It wasn't a good fit.

I ended up taking it over the summer and had a completely different experience that I fondly remember as some of my best days in college.

I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss nursing based on this poor experience.

I'd find a local nursing program where you can get your Associates Degree in nursing.

Once you have that you can easily pursue a BSN degree, or something else.

You'll find nursing school is likely overwhelming, but the payoff after a couple of years is immense.

As far as nursing not being your end goal in life, that's fine. I've known nurses to become CRNAs, Physician Assistants, and completely leave the field for something else.

At the very least, keep moving forward. Can you take some nursing pre-requisites online to be transferred to the program? I was surprised to see that most community colleges now often nursing classes online.
Do you know where I would be able to find these kind of nursing programs prior to getting into a program? I’m not sure how that’s even possible honestly.
 
OP
OP
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LoadingCosta

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That's not necessarily true! PA schools are practically meant for EMS providers and military medics (other than the hurdle of prerequisite coursework). You can turn your paramedic licensure into a good portion (something like 40-50 credit hours) of an associates' degree (I believe about 60 credit hours) and then you're halfway to a bachelors (120, roughly) - most of which could be as easy or as hard as you want.

I think an ADN makes sense based on what you're saying, but I don't think medical school or PA school is out of reach by any means!
I really appreciate your confidence in me but I felt like if I could not pass nursing school, how the heck can I even pass PA school?

I definitely want a bachelor degree that I can fall back on and that’s why I choose nursing. I don’t want to go into debt for a useless degree if that makes sense.
 

MMiz

I put the M in EMTLife
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Doesn’t every community college offer a nursing program? I’d be inclined to go the community college route.

I’ve known paramedics that successfully completed online nursing programs while working as paramedics. Twenty years ago they went the Excelsior route, today I was able to find dozens of online programs in my state.

If you’re just looking for a degree to have a degree, Western Governors University seems like a cheap and easy route.

If you’re looking for your degree to help open doors I’d look at a more traditional state university after completing as many credits as possible at a community college.

Going to school is a lot of work, sacrifice, and stress. You can do it.

Where are you located?
 
OP
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LoadingCosta

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Doesn’t every community college offer a nursing program? I’d be inclined to go the community college route.

I’ve known paramedics that successfully completed online nursing programs while working as paramedics. Twenty years ago they went the Excelsior route, today I was able to find dozens of online programs in my state.

If you’re just looking for a degree to have a degree, Western Governors University seems like a cheap and easy route.

If you’re looking for your degree to help open doors I’d look at a more traditional state university after completing as many credits as possible at a community college.

Going to school is a lot of work, sacrifice, and stress. You can do it.

Where are you located?
I’m located in Georgia. Idk where these online programs are to take individual courses (nursing).

Idk how to complete a traditional program as a single male working full time to pay bills.
 

akflightmedic

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My traditional nursing program for freshman year was every Monday and Wednesday 0800-1300, and Friday Clinical 12 hours. My senior year was every Tuesday and Thursday with Friday/Sat Clinical or Fri/Mon Clinical.

With that schedule it was easy to plan my life and jobs around school. Also, attendance for lectures was not mandatory, so I did skip a few but I had classmates record it for me, the college also recorded and uploaded their lectures as well. I just got them faster from classmates.

Have you looked into Community Colleges?? They want butts in the seats and the schedules are not demanding. My first born is starting nursing school herself, but she has a FT M-F office job. How is she doing it?? The college offers an evening/weekend option for people like her.

I truly do not understand how you can say you cannot afford to do this as a single person. That is legit the BEST time ever to make extreme time sacrifices and get it done anyway possible. No Sig Other to sweat you, no one's mouth or roof to worry about except your own....
 

Akulahawk

EMT-P/ED RN
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I’m located in Georgia. Idk where these online programs are to take individual courses (nursing).

Idk how to complete a traditional program as a single male working full time to pay bills.
There are a number of different schedules available, you just have to find a program that offers non-traditional scheduling for your schooling. While you're young and single, that's the best time to take on an endeavor like this as you'll get to be much more flexible in your time commitments that you ever will once you've got a family. The one thing I must caution you about is that you really should focus on getting at least an Associate's Degree out of the experience. It'll help tremendously when/if you decide to return to do a Bachelor's. Why? All your lower division GE is DONE and won't have to be repeated. This alone makes it much faster to complete any Bachelor's. Having that ADN along with the RN license makes getting a BSN through an online program MUCH easier as you'll have already done the "hard work" in clinicals to get the BSN, you just have to take the additional theory and other Upper Division GE to earn that BSN.
 
OP
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LoadingCosta

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My traditional nursing program for freshman year was every Monday and Wednesday 0800-1300, and Friday Clinical 12 hours. My senior year was every Tuesday and Thursday with Friday/Sat Clinical or Fri/Mon Clinical.

With that schedule it was easy to plan my life and jobs around school. Also, attendance for lectures was not mandatory, so I did skip a few but I had classmates record it for me, the college also recorded and uploaded their lectures as well. I just got them faster from classmates.

Have you looked into Community Colleges?? They want butts in the seats and the schedules are not demanding. My first born is starting nursing school herself, but she has a FT M-F office job. How is she doing it?? The college offers an evening/weekend option for people like her.

I truly do not understand how you can say you cannot afford to do this as a single person. That is legit the BEST time ever to make extreme time sacrifices and get it done anyway possible. No Sig Other to sweat you, no one's mouth or roof to worry about except your own....
I’d have to look honestly but from what I read so far on schools in driving distance from my location, no schools are less than 3 days. All are a 4-5 days and sadly require a CNA license.

There are a couple bridge programs around me that are closer and one I came across is making me nervous because the school program pass rate was below 70% and it makes me extremely nervous for that program.

I’m trying to find a good program.
 
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LoadingCosta

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There are a number of different schedules available, you just have to find a program that offers non-traditional scheduling for your schooling. While you're young and single, that's the best time to take on an endeavor like this as you'll get to be much more flexible in your time commitments that you ever will once you've got a family. The one thing I must caution you about is that you really should focus on getting at least an Associate's Degree out of the experience. It'll help tremendously when/if you decide to return to do a Bachelor's. Why? All your lower division GE is DONE and won't have to be repeated. This alone makes it much faster to complete any Bachelor's. Having that ADN along with the RN license makes getting a BSN through an online program MUCH easier as you'll have already done the "hard work" in clinicals to get the BSN, you just have to take the additional theory and other Upper Division GE to earn that BSN.
I agree with you. I am definitely trying my best to find a program. I’ve found a couple bridge programs but the pass rate for the school programs are below 70% which scares me honestly. Then all the traditional programs I’ve come across are requiring a CNA license. Just doesn’t seem right. I want to set myself for success for sure.
 

MMiz

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It seems like you're in a state of analysis paralysis. You don't need to find the perfect program, you need to find a good program that works with your schedule.

I'd skip the bridge program and go through a traditional nursing program at a community college.

Most around me require a CNA cert, but that's just simply another relatively easy hoop to jump through. Some might even be wiling to waive the requirement if you're a paramedic.
 
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LoadingCosta

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It seems like you're in a state of analysis paralysis. You don't need to find the perfect program, you need to find a good program that works with your schedule.

I'd skip the bridge program and go through a traditional nursing program at a community college.

Most around me require a CNA cert, but that's just simply another relatively easy hoop to jump through. Some might even be wiling to waive the requirement if you're a paramedic.
I’m considering skipping the bridge programs but if I do than I need to retake AP 1 and 2 because my 5 year limit is up. I need to take a CNA course and I also need to find a program that will be doable for my schedule. It’s hard to find one in Georgia.

I found Georgia Highlands College bridge program that I am considering because it’s not too far from my house. Only about an hour drive and I don’t have to worry about retaking AP. I’m trying to figure this all out.

Unfortunately no program for the traditional programs will waive the CNA even though I have my paramedic.
 

Carlos Danger

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Idk how to complete a traditional program as a single male working full time to pay bills.
I'm confused as to why you think you can't complete a traditional program just because you are single and work full time. You keep saying that, but you definitely wouldn't be the first (or the second, or even the third) participant of this discussion who did at least part of their education while working full time and supporting themselves if not also a family.

If you are like many people, you probably live within a reasonable commute of at least two, maybe three or more community colleges that have two-year RN programs. Look into all of them. Talk to the program directors. Find out what the schedule would be like and how receptive they are to the idea of making some concessions for someone who works full time. Some are surprisingly flexible and supportive. Also think about what you can do with your work schedule that would make it easier to attend classes and study. It won't be easy to work and attend school full time, but it is entirely possible.

Another option is to just start taking non-nursing classes part-time that you can later fit into your nursing (or other) degree program. Taking the basic gen-ed requirements from a community college on a part-time basis is very affordable and generally pretty convenient to do while you keep your current FT job. Maybe this would build your academic confidence some and also give you time to figure out what you really want to do and how to move forward.

The last option is one that I would personally recommend the least, but is certainly a viable option if you really are convinced that it isn't possible for you to work FT and go to school FT at the same time: Enroll in a 4-year degree program (nursing or otherwise) at an affordable college and live mostly off student loans. Keep working in EMS part time and knock the whole thing out in a few years. Then hammer those student loans out in your first few years after graduation. If you go that route, it would probably benefit you (but certainly wouldn't be necessary) to try to first knock out a semester or so's worth of gen-ed courses through a community college while you look into and apply to 4-year programs and prepare yourself financially for the loss of income by cleaning up any credit card debt, selling your expensive truck to get rid of the the big payment, building up a bit of savings, etc. This would be the simplest and probably easiest option; the only downside is the student loan debt that you'll accumulate but that should be manageable as long as you live on the cheap and minimize how much you borrow.
 
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