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Education and careers in medicine

ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morningAnd the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
I think over the past few years I've asked advice on a career path or two, one of which was network engineering which was kind of a desperate reach and didn't really pan out in the long run. I went back to school to finish my BS in Biology: Cell and Molecular (turns out there's no replacing biology in my <3), and just as I was looking at what I could do with it I got pregnant and had a baby and all that ground to a halt.

I do plan to be a SAHM for a while, but eventually the kid(s) will be in school and no matter what I THINK is going to happen, I KNOW that if I don't have a job or at least go to school for one I'm just going to sleep all day, and that can't be good for anyone including the kids. I have options, and things I want to do, and they aren't necessarily the same as what I wanted to do when I graduated. I really thought I'd end up in research, but I no longer feel like that's where my life is going. I used to think I never wanted to be a doctor or clinician, but that's been gradually changing over the past few years, and now it's hard to see myself in research the way I used to, as much as I loved certain things about it. I loved the technical, precision work I had to do, and I still would like to assist with research, I just don't think I'd want it to be ALL I did. I feel like I've changed, and it wouldn't be enough anymore. Also it would be a lot more years of school to have a prayer of seeing a bench as an employee in academia, and then it would be a long time before that education paid for itself.

I'm looking specifically at careers that will let me build upon (or at least use much of) the four-year degree I already have, since with just the four-year degree there isn't much you can do in the field anymore. All of these options do require me to take a few classed I never had, like A&P, and honestly I would probably need to retake a number of classes (Biochem, organic chem, cell phys) because my grades in those classes were a C or worse. They were bad because I was going through some shit and not because I can't do it, but it's unlikely any future schooling institution will care about my personal crap.

I'm basically looking for anyone who has experience with education, certification, and/or working on these jobs to relieve me of any misconceptions, and help me understand what they do day-to-day or what the job is really like.

- I considered becoming a histotechnician, which would require me to take a few more classes, get a ton of clinical hours, and some other stuff. I don't know much about what the actual job is like in terms of work environment, but I think I'd be good at it. I'm concerned it will be isolating and drive me crazy after a while.
- I considered becoming an ultrasound technician. Requirements are similar (in quantity rather than specifics), and I love getting the perfect picture. Again, I think I'd be really good at this. I do NOT think I could handle poker-facing my way through an appointment when something is clearly wrong with the patient's baby until the radiologist can get a look. I am very, very worried about that. I am also worried about throttling someone who plans to keep and also hate their baby. Fetal ultrasound is probably out. Pulminary ultrasound is much less likely to have killed me by day three.
- Nursing! This one has been coming up more and more in my head lately. It started with an interest a number of years ago in phlebotomy and has slowly grown. I think I would need a nursing degree, with general and some specific requirements taken care of by the degree I already have. My mom was a registered nurse when I was a kid, but she hasn't done it for over 20 years. She always wore a white uniform with a skirt and silly hat and I don't think it's even the same job anymore. I get the feeling now that it's like residency only it's not over after a few years, your life is just like that now. Overwork, underpay, and running around all over the damn place to sign your name to things done by aids that you couldn't possibly have witnessed. That last one is probably one of my own personal nightmares. I hear all of these things get better if you specialize. I know @MegaMan001 has experience here, but I'd take any input because it's probably the path I've been giving the most thought to lately.
- Surgery. This one is unlikely enough that even typing it makes me giggle, because even though I'm not scared of retaking all those classes and going to med school and doing residency and doing the best I can... it's expensive and I have a family now and I feel like it would be pretty irresponsible of me to run off to med school without something pretty specific in mind. Right? I doubt there are any part-time med schools out there. I think I have good hands for it, and probably a good eye for it, so it just seems kind of a shame that it's not something I ever thought possible for myself at a time when it would have been practical, instead of when I'm almost 33 with a baby. I realize all the ways in which it is impossible, so I guess for this one I'd love to hear what IS possible.

If our lives continue to go the way they have been for the past 6 months, affording the first three are not a concern especially since completing any one of them would bring in significant extra income.. more than enough to outweigh the cost of the training even if I work part-time. We're looking at several years before I start anything, so I'm not jumping into a decision for the fall semester. But I'd like time to consider the options and to maybe look over some of the testing and figure out what schooling/training will teach me and what I'll need to know already, how to find the required programs, to really make a plan.

I do realize the last one is a pipe dream. But if it's possible, even a little bit by any avenue, some time to sit on and research it might let me figure out how it would really go, what sacrifices would need to be made, and if they'd be worth it.

And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn

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    StericaSterica Yes Registered User, Moderator mod
    Have you considered PA? It might be a decent compromise between doing what you want and not losing a lot of time to it.

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    WindburnWindburn Registered User regular
    I can speak to the surgeon option.

    Med School:
    As you said, you will probably need to retake some of your pre-reqs first (1-2 semesters of work) and do well on the MCAT, then it's off to med school for 4 years. If you want to do general surgery, you will need to be better than average in med school (if you want to do ortho, ENT, plastics, etc. you will need to be in the top of your class). This means long hours of studying and lots of stress about your performance on exams and the USMLE. Med school is expensive, but you can take out loans for the tuition with the reasonable expectation of being able to pay them off without difficulty once you start practicing in a surgical field (this can't be said for primary care). Med schools like people who are mature and have "life experience." You can probably offset some sub-par performance on your pre-reqs/MCAT with this experience.

    Residency:
    After med school it's a minimum of 5 years of residency with a potential for additional years if you opt to do a fellowship. Surgical residency is very demanding and time intensive, even with the 80 hour/week limit. Surgical residents supersede this limit most weeks and adjust their reported hours accordingly to keep themselves and their programs out of trouble with the ACGME. Surgical residencies (right or wrong) pride themselves on a long tradition of break-you-down to build-you-up model. Be prepared for attendings to yell and belittle you for the tiniest mistakes, especially if they were not your fault. This model is difficult enough for anyone, but it's especially difficult when the Chief Resident giving your the rough side of their tongue is 15 years younger than you.

    Family Life:
    -Having kids during med school and residency is definitely doable. I can not speak from personal experience, but about half my residents have kids. I will say that it is probably easier when the kids are out of the keep-you-up-all-night phase.
    -My wife is a Gyn-surgeon so we have had our challenges in making time for each other. Since you will have very little control over your schedule, finding little ways to keep in touch is critical. For example, I would frequently take dinner to her when she was on-call at the hospital and spend an hour or two with her before going home to bed (and vice versa). One of my residents has a daughter that is 7 years old. He makes and effort to read a chapter of Harry Potter to her every night, but on nights he is on-call he reads to her over the phone instead. The short answer is it is possible, but a challenge. In some ways the challenge makes it...better?

    Practice:
    If you were to start now, you would be about 43 years old when you start practicing. This is not unheard of. Many surgeons practice well into their late sixties and seventies. A rewarding career of 20-30 years is worth pursuing in my opinion.

    Is it worth it?
    If the idea of being able to take the supreme trust of another human being and wrest from that with your own two hands the forestalling of death and the betterment of life gives you chills and you can't imagine doing anything else then yes, it is worth it. There are many things to be said about medical education in this country, but it is the price we pay for this privilege.

    If you decide to go this route, I would be more than happy to give your more specific advice and guidance.

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    ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    Rorus Raz wrote: »
    Have you considered PA? It might be a decent compromise between doing what you want and not losing a lot of time to it.

    Before today I did not know what this was. I read the wiki article and I am still kind of unclear. They answer to doctors but are PCPs themselves, and they have a BS or an MS and then get licensed and can assist in surgeries? It sounds like they do similar work to a nurse practitioner, but I'm not sure that's the case in practice.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
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    dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    edited January 2014
    Even surgical PA's can work a hell of a lot and the hours / cost can be pretty crazy.

    If you're interested in the surgical part starting in with nursing would be your best option.

    As from there, you can get a masters and become a nurse practitioner, train to scrub and first assist becoming an RNFA, work in a cath or EP lab as a special procedures tech.

    Also, don't let the title of "Lab Tech" or something turn you off to a specific aspect of healthcare jobs, many of the things people think of as "technician" work in the normal world, in healthcare these jobs require a BS or Masters (Such as CRNA) (genetic therapy technician, liver transplant coordination, etc... these are all very specialized and may be what you want) Go to a university hospital website and just look around at the job postings.

    If I had to guess at a job and name something that pays really well, is clinical (and/or surgical) has great benefits and is growing really quickly. CRNA (certified registered nurse anesthetist) I believe we have a couple of CRNA's who post in the H/A forum.

    Bottom line, Nursing has a whole hell of a lot going for it as a base profession/degree, and probably a thousand different ways to specialize it post-grad.

    @MegaMan001 is a CRNA I believe.

    Edit: There is no stepping stone to being a Physicians Assistant like there is with becoming an NP or CRNA, and honestly a lot of surgical nurses are perfectly content to not move beyond that a registered nurse can learn to scrub without becoming a first assist more or less "On the Job" because they're licensed they don't need to go through Surgical Technician coursework.

    If you have children I advise strongly against becoming a physician if you want to see them at all between now and when they're 13 years old.

    Do not take this negatively, please.

    Working with Residents all day every day, I can tell you that it's one of the few job fields where without a substantial amount of money up front (previous savings from lucrative degree) or lots of time (from being young) you can reasonably tolerate the debt without working yourself to death.

    Edit: A Physician Assistant can order tests, diagnose and treat illness, etc. However, depending on the practice (and state) there are certain things they can't do by themselves. Surgery still requires a physician, treatment plans often still have to be reviewed by a physician. Think of them as another set of hands for whatever physician they practice with. There are surgical PA's (Kaiser Permanente uses them a lot) that perform say, the vein harvest during a cardiac bypass while the surgeon prepares the heart.

    dispatch.o on
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    davidsdurionsdavidsdurions Your Trusty Meatshield Panhandle NebraskaRegistered User regular
    Pharmacy might be an option?

    It would be a faster path than surgery and a significant pay increase over nursing.

    My wife happens to enjoy it a lot as long as she isn't surrounded by butthead coworkers, but that's no different than any other profession. When she was in school there was a range of ages and child-having statuses among her class, all of whom were successful in the program. We just had our first baby so I'll let you know how she holds up with working and having this kid at home after her maternity leave is up. :)

    Job prospects are interesting too as you could set yourself up in many different roles, the schools have you do rotations in different settings presumably to give you an idea of what you'd be missing after you accept a position elsewhere. By my recollection my wife did rotations in hospitals, large community pharmacies, small compounding pharmacy, research rotation at the university, and even a paper pushing rotation at the state capital for the board of pharmacy.

    From my perspective, I think pharmacy is pretty rad if you are capable of the school work and it sounds like you would be. You could be a pharmacy technician to get an idea of how at least a retail pharmacy runs.

    Unfortunately their pay has been getting lower and lower lately bit it is still a good way to see what is going on behind the counter for job shadow purposes.

    Also I would point out that at least in retail pharmacy there seems to be demand for both full and part time pharmacists, so that can give you flexibility too. Being a fill-in traveling pharmacist looks like a pretty cool job to me too. Higher pay, more control of scheduling, you get to be the person who saves the day because someone had something come up.

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    schussschuss Registered User regular
    Masters in nursing is pretty common, as my sister and a bunch of people I know went the route of standard degree - look around for jerbs - get masters in nursing and be on the top track in their hospitals. In addition, you can branch out from a masters in nursing to things like being a midwife (babies!), nurse anesthesiologist ($$$$$) or nurse practitioner; in addition to all the normal specialties you can focus in for your job.
    Pharmacy is a great option, especially for how much you make, but you will be at the beck and call of your company, so you're often driving all over the place covering different locations.

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    psyck0psyck0 Registered User regular
    Look into respiratory therapist. They rock and get to be very hands on, and are gaining more and more independence. Less school than nursing too, I believe.

    Play Smash Bros 3DS with me! 4399-1034-5444
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    StericaSterica Yes Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited January 2014
    I've heard from some professors that there are med schools that will see "non-traditional" students as a negative when applying. I don't know how much truth there is to that, but it may be worth researching so you don't waste a bunch of money on application fees just to be rejected for being "too old."

    Sterica on
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    YoSoyTheWalrusYoSoyTheWalrus Registered User regular
    Something to think about, although it doesn't sound like it's really what you're thinking. I got my BS in Microbiology, worked in a lab for a while, then went the other route towards health care administration. Something like an MHA would put you in a hospital but would be a more manageable 9-to-5 type of thing than nursing. No direct clinical work, but still health care. I'm doing health care policy these days and it is pretty interesting to me. Just thought I would mention it. (I also know a couple of PAs who love what they do, one of whom got hers after she had twins, so that's really worth thinking about IMO)

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    bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited January 2014
    ceres wrote: »
    Rorus Raz wrote: »
    Have you considered PA? It might be a decent compromise between doing what you want and not losing a lot of time to it.

    Before today I did not know what this was. I read the wiki article and I am still kind of unclear. They answer to doctors but are PCPs themselves, and they have a BS or an MS and then get licensed and can assist in surgeries? It sounds like they do similar work to a nurse practitioner, but I'm not sure that's the case in practice.

    NP and PA are very similar. Depending on who you talk to, each is better than the other.

    NPs are closer to doctors than a PA is, IIRC. Able to write narcotic scripts and all that. PAs are pretty much overseen by doctors, while NPs can have practices on their own, and take care of patients as a PCP(I guess GP would be the better term there).

    PAs are typically degree oriented where I think NP is really LPN->RN->NP route, so you'd have to retrack or go into an RN degree program, whereas PA is similar to the MD/Physician field where you get your BS/Masters and then proceed to a school to become whatever at that point.

    I'm probably way wrong here though.

    bowen on
    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
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    YoSoyTheWalrusYoSoyTheWalrus Registered User regular
    I know a PA who essentially runs her own minute-clinic, writes scripts etc. It may be dependent on the state.

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    bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    I know a PA who essentially runs her own minute-clinic, writes scripts etc. It may be dependent on the state.

    Yeah. I mean they're allowed to run clinics here, but their encounters need to be reviewed by a physician on a regular basis. They just make it easier by having a few doctors on hand that just review the data.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
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    KetarKetar Come on upstairs we're having a partyRegistered User regular
    bowen wrote: »
    ceres wrote: »
    Rorus Raz wrote: »
    Have you considered PA? It might be a decent compromise between doing what you want and not losing a lot of time to it.

    Before today I did not know what this was. I read the wiki article and I am still kind of unclear. They answer to doctors but are PCPs themselves, and they have a BS or an MS and then get licensed and can assist in surgeries? It sounds like they do similar work to a nurse practitioner, but I'm not sure that's the case in practice.

    NP and PA are very similar. Depending on who you talk to, each is better than the other.

    NPs are closer to doctors than a PA is, IIRC. Able to write narcotic scripts and all that. PAs are pretty much overseen by doctors, while NPs can have practices on their own, and take care of patients as a PCP(I guess GP would be the better term there).

    PAs are typically degree oriented where I think NP is really LPN->RN->NP route, so you'd have to retrack or go into an RN degree program, whereas PA is similar to the MD/Physician field where you get your BS/Masters and then proceed to a school to become whatever at that point.

    I'm probably way wrong here though.

    There are graduate programs that go straight to NP without prior nursing experience. I tutored a girl years ago who was entering one. I think it was at DePaul in Chicago.

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    zepherinzepherin Russian warship, go fuck yourself Registered User regular
    Nursing is a good way to go, and with your current degree, you won't need to scramble too much for additional credits.

    There are caveats though.

    CNA is bullshit pass it up. It's a 2 week course with a 8k-10k price tag and you do nurse shit work, you might as well be known as nurse janitor. Also it doesn't translate to other nursing very well. Where I work the CNAs are treated pretty poorly compared to the LPNs and RNs.

    LPN is a good way to start because you can do an LPN on your way to getting your RN.

    RN is going to be your nursing goal for the short term with NP for the long term. RNs where I work do 50-60 a year, and we pay lower than the area average. Other facilities pay 60-70 in the DC area.

    In terms of specialization. Pick something that won't burn you out. Trauma pays the best, but I know a nurse with PTSD because she did it for 15 years.

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    bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Working in ambulatory care is the least stressful probably. You're basically a GP at that level. NICU is probably one of the "less" stressful hospital environments.

    Jesus trauma for 15 years though.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
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    Mad JazzMad Jazz gotta go fast AustinRegistered User regular
    Rorus Raz wrote: »
    I've heard from some professors that there are med schools that will see "non-traditional" students as a negative when applying. I don't know how much truth there is to that, but it may be worth researching so you don't waste a bunch of money on application fees just to be rejected for being "too old."

    If there are, they'll be few and far between. There's no such thing as too old for med school, and while some schools tend to take more traditional or non-trad students (mine, for example probably takes more non-traditional students than just about anywhere else), you won't be disqualified for something as silly as age. I'm non-traditional and will start practicing when I'm 38 or 39, we have someone who got a PhD in immunology before starting (and she just had her second kid about a month ago!), and the class below me has a dude who was an actor in NYC for a decade before deciding to go back to school. Windburn's post is also 100% accurate.

    There are also other options with imaging that aren't mentioned above. CT techs and MRI techs always seemed to be in demand when I was looking for paramedic and ER tech jobs, and being an ultrasound tech doesn't necessarily mean you'll be looking at pregnant ladies all the time. Working in the ER, there's definitely a lot of that, but there are a lot more applications for ultrasound than just fetal US.

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    ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    I've given everything in this thread a large amount of consideration, and spoken with my husband and mom (turns out she did ER nursing for a year and was a floor nurse the rest of the time). At this stage I do find myself most drawn to trauma and ER work, whatever form that ends up taking.

    I think my current plan is to go back for my BSN (backloading all those classes that need better grades) and then take the nursing board exam and also the MCAT. Because of my previous degree, I think a BSN should be only about 2 years in the making, although that will depend on program of the school I end up attending. If I try to go while I live here (Las Vegas) my options are incredibly limited compared to being back on the East Coast, so some of this will depend on where we are when my son is three (and hopefully I'll have another at that point, but we'll see). I'm told if I go straight for the BSN I can skip the LPN stage altogether, which would be ideal. If I do just decide to stay with nursing, which is likely, I'll more likely go for CRNA than NP. I am just not at all interested in being an NP.

    I want as many options as is possible to be open at that point, hence retaking my poor grades and the MCAT while I'm in there. I figure I can see where I am at that point, but at the very least, even if I don't pass the MCAT or if I decide to go no further because I love nursing, I will have a viable, stable career track with further training available in any number of specialties.

    Please continue to post your knowledge and experiences here. It all gives me food for thought. I'm trying to keep an open mind to various tracks and trying not to feel like I've made up my mind already, because I haven't seen a single round yet.

    Who would I call to set up something like shadowing an ER nurse? Is that something that is done at all?

    Thanks to everyone who is given advice so far. It's funny, because my mom said she LOVED working in the ER (if not her coworkers), and I never would have had her pegged for that.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
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    bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    See if your mom has any contacts at the ER, that'd be the best way to get in. If not, you can just call up and ask about shadowing a nurse for a few days, they may not extend it to you, but doesn't hurt to try. Usually they give those to nursing students first because they're busy and schools have enough pull.

    Stress that you have no problem with signing HIPAA forms, too.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
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    schussschuss Registered User regular
    To be in the ER, you generally need experience, so you either need to be lucky in where you live having a need for it or move/commute to a lesser known area to get a year or two of ER experience. The other route is to be a normal nurse and stand out from the crowd, which will allow you to pick your future at your hospital.

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    Mad JazzMad Jazz gotta go fast AustinRegistered User regular
    edited January 2014
    You could also volunteer in the ER, or try to get a job as a tech/clerk/scribe. Any of those options will get you in and give you a firsthand look at what goes on in the day to day life of an ER worker, and will look good on your future applications to pretty much anything. Also, no qualifications required (except maybe for tech, depending on hospital; some places want you to have a semester of clinical experience in nursing school or similar).

    Mad Jazz on
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    bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Volunteer work is looked at very favorably. The more, the better.

    Volunteer paramedic/EMT if your area has them is a good one too.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
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    Mad JazzMad Jazz gotta go fast AustinRegistered User regular
    Vegas probably doesn't, 911 there is run by AMR and their operation is huge (I used to work for the Austin operation - fuck that company forever). Outlying cities/counties might, but a lot volunteer EMS providers don't have stations, so you'd probably have to actually be there when you're on call. That said, paramedic school is another option for you that hasn't been mentioned yet. Being a medic is rad; you get all the excitement of working in the ER, plus you get the intellectual challenge of diagnosis and treatment that you don't get as much of in nursing. I'm a bit biased though.

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    PirusuPirusu Pierce Registered User regular
    My wife is finishing up her Master's in Public Health with a focus in epidemiology (her passion). She is also working directly for a contracting firm who provides infection prevention services for local hospitals.


    Her undergrad is in Zoology (Vet School was her first love, but SUPER competitive). If you have kids, it's sort of the perfect job. They pay is decent for her still not having her MPH, and it's SUPER flexible. They let her go to school, and the women she works with are all moms with younger kids (elementary school aged), and they work 20 - 30 hours a week, so they have lots of family time as well.

    She doesn't like all the meetings, but loves that she's a patient advocate of sorts, and loves learning about all the new strains of bacteria/infectious disease. She has an interesting set of power, in the sense that she helps determine/enforce infection prevention policy, and can tell doctors what to do (to a degree).

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    ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    Actually, funny the mention of EMT training came up. That was something I really wanted to get into about 6 years ago.. then I talked to a friend of mine who was a former EMT who talked about what I'd need to be able to lift. The answer to that is "very little." My hands are steady but I just can't lift a person. I ended up dropping that.

    I've done some more reading and from the look of it, most universities with a BSN have an accelerated program for people who already have degrees. Looking at schools here vs schools in PA.. the bottom line is, I think I want to go to the school my mom went to, which has a very clinically focused program. My biology degree is also from there. The program takes about 18 months to complete, which is a lot faster than I thought I'd be out, but they're very picky. All those classes I was going to retake while I was there need to be retaken beforehand, because I need A's in them and to lift my GPA for consideration.

    I'm thinking maybe I can do those part-time over the next few years and just focus on doing them really well.. after all, I can take specific classes anywhere. I'm guessing that if showing you can handle the pressure is a thing for med schools, a BSN crammed into 18 months will do it. Nursing has been sounding pretty good, though.

    As I'm building this plan, I'm coming to the point where my worst enemy is me. I have some confidence issues that need working out. I guess I better do that, because I want this to work.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
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    zepherinzepherin Russian warship, go fuck yourself Registered User regular
    We believe in you Ceres!

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    zagdrobzagdrob Registered User regular
    There are a lot of different things that you can do with just a four year BS degree.

    Although you said that you aren't particularly interested in Clinical Research, there are a lot of different paths you can take and there can be a lot of variety in different roles. My wife, for example, started out working as a lab technician performing operational work in a cleanroom environment. Gradually she picked up more roles - including making experimental drugs, and currently runs four labs in our clinical research unit.

    She does all kinds of different stuff, including some of the lab / operational work, experimental drugs, SOPs / compliance / IRB work, and she's currently looking at applying for grant money and doing her own studies. She's also looked into the pharmacy track as an alternative career path to management, and with about a year and a half of additional schooling she could have been making near six figures in the the biopharmacy.

    Other tracks are the LPN -> RN -> NP track, which will give you marketable skills / gainful employment much more quickly than the PA / MD track. My personal take is the nursing track would be preferable, specifically because even though your income potential is lower, you'll be making money, getting experience, and taking a much lower debt load (esp. w/ tuition assistance). Plus, you have lots of different jumping off points if you stop or even need a long-term break from schooling for whatever reason.

    Depending on your other interests, an IRB / Compliance or Data Manager role can be pretty rewarding. Data Management is definitely a good track if you have a combination of IT and Medical / Clinical Research experience. I personally work for an Clinical Research Infomatics group, which is much more IT related and doesn't require any clinical background (although it can be helpful).

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