Non Traditional Pathways in Healthcare

Discussion in 'Nursing and medical-related degrees' started by Delta, Apr 6, 2013.

  1. Delta

    Delta Active Member

    I am excited to see a forum to share thoughts, ideas and discoveries for those interested in Healthcare disciplines through distant learning and "non-traditional" pathways.

    The healthcare industry is growing and offers numerous opportunities to serve and obtain gainful employment. Throughout my journey in healthcare I have discovered at least 5 tracks in the healthcare industry.
    1. The Practitioner/Clinician track.
    2. The Researcher Track.
    3. The Administrator/Management track.
    4. The Educator Track.
    5. The Sales and Marketing track.

    As an older student, many years ago I was interested in attending medical school and was accepted to a foreign medical school. I was told about the pitfalls of attending foreign schools and subsequent challenges in obtaining a license to practice in the USA. My mentor suggested I investigate the Nursing track and I was delighted to see the numerous "non-traditional" pathways that led to licensure and gainful employment.

    Nurses work 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. For the most part, they have a commitment to lifelong learning and were able to successfully convince numerous colleges and universities to provide degree and certificate programs through non-traditional pathways. There are weekend courses, night courses, online courses, challenge courses, intensive courses, traditional daytime courses and so forth.

    Numerous other healthcare disciplines have seen the advantage of using these platforms to deliver quality instruction to its students. However, not all but most programs in the healthcare industry by nature require a clinical component with "hands on" experiences. In addition, many require some kind of foundational experience or credential to commence studies.
  2. soupbone

    soupbone Active Member

    I enjoy non-traditional methods of study, but for healthcare, I've found it to be limited mostly to bridge programs (LPN-->RN, RN-->BSN, BSN-->NP). We've had these discussions before and I think most people agree that Nursing, Medicine, etc. should always limit their distance learning components to the didactic portion of schooling.

    I started this thread --> that puts together a good portion of the prereqs required for entry into several programs. Hopefully it will help someone looking to use distance learning to its fullest potential. Jennifer (Cookderosa) is also like an encyclopedia of information on these programs.

    I still haven't managed to find my path, and several life events have slowed me down recently, but I hope to move at full steam in the next coming months, and hope to complete the prereqs soon. What are your plans for now Delta?
  3. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    There is a way to become a nurse practitioner completely by distance learning (aside from the clinicals). I don't know about other states, but Texas has online paramedic programs. Once you become a paramedic, you can complete an associates in nursing at Excelsior. I think there are a couple of other paramedic/LVN to RN online programs. If you live in one of the areas served, you can get a second-degree BSN from WGU. Of course, there are plenty of online MSN and DNP programs once you're an RN.

    The one thing I have not found is an online CNA program. Well, I found two, but you have to attend labs at the local campuses. Penn Foster has online veterinary technician and medical assisting degree programs and I think a dental assisting career diploma or certificate. I don't think the dental assisting program has programmatic accreditation, which is an issue in Texas. They also have career training programs to become a pharmacy technician or optician. From my understanding, a training program for pharmacy tech is not required in most states; you just need to pass the exam. And to become an optician, I think half of the states don't even require certification, licensure, or registration. Training is also not required to take the national certification exam.

    Creighton University has an online PharmD. It's the only one I know of that does not require licensure as a pharmacist. I would have to look it up again, but I found one occupational therapy program that could be completed online. The practicum/clinicals can be arranged to be done at a facility in your area. There are many correspondence midwife programs. Being a midwife also allows you to enter Excelsior's nursing program.
  4. soupbone

    soupbone Active Member

    You're probably thinking of St. Augustine's flexible PT program. --> Flexible Doctor of Physical Therapy | University of St. Augustine

    What I have found in Nursing is that once you get past the initial hump (getting your Paramedic, LPN, and a few others), finding a bridge program is pretty easy. It's those initial credentials that I don't seem to find a lot of distance learning flexibility.
  5. Jonathan Whatley

    Jonathan Whatley Well-Known Member

    In Florida, and possibly just a few other states, there's a route to becoming a CNA by examination. Florida Board of Nursing: Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) by Examination.

    The exam is in two parts, one multiple-choice, one a manual test where the applicant performs five randomly selected nursing assistant skills. There are third-party books and videos, and some small crash-course schools, that might help a candidate prepare.

    NOTE: A license earned this way, in FL for instance, might not be accepted by another state's board for transfer by reciprocity, even if that state would give reciprocity to an FL license earned by a student who'd taken a standard CNA course there.
  6. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    It was an occupational therapy program offered by a regionally-accredited school. It was an entry-level MOT. I'll come back with the school name later when I have time to look it up.

    That's interesting.
  7. Delta

    Delta Active Member

    I currently practice as a Family Nurse Practitioner and love it! If I get my DNP, I would love to teach other NP's. For now I precept.

    I also have a license as a Radiology Practical Technician. Many states allow you to study on your own to get this license because it is limited in scope. If you need experience using the equipment and developing films perhaps a chiropractors office will let you "shadow". Once you have this license many doctors offices consider you an advanced medical assistant that can take xrays. The exams are not easy and you definitely need to study your musculoskeletal anatomy and applied physics but it is doable. There are online study guides, Dvds and textbooks. The exams consist of basic safety and physics. and have focused areas like extremeties, spine, chest, head and neck, podiatry etc.
  8. Delta

    Delta Active Member

    If you don't have experience in this area, I would recommend taking the short and relatively inexpensive CNA course approved by your State. Some courses include phlebotomy as well.

    California has a CNA to LVN by exam.
    BVNPT - Vocational Nurse Licensure Application Forms

    "Method #3 - Equivalent Education and/or Experience
    Employment Verification - Nursing Experience - Required with Method #3
    Applicant Live Scan Fingerprint Forms - Required with Method #3

    This method requires the equivalent of completion of 51 months of paid bedside nursing experience in an acute care facility, verification of skill competency and 54-theory hours of pharmacology. For details regarding this method please see Method 3: Qualification Based on Equivalent Education and/or Experience."
  9. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

  10. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator

    I pass a place every day that has a sign - "CNA in 40 Hours". I know someone that had to get their CNA on the road to a PT (for patient contact hours) and it focused on handwashing and lifting...that's it.
  11. Delta

    Delta Active Member

    The CNA is basically about having common sense! "Protect yourself and the patient!" They should have about 20+ skills they have to master including taking vital signs. If you want to work in nursing homes HIPAA requires it! A lot of programs include basic first aid and cpr as well as phlebotomy skills to boost your resume. So overall, its a good entry level course and introduction to healthcare!
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 8, 2013
  12. AV8R

    AV8R Active Member

    This isn't really a DL thing but it is somewhat related to the non-traditional healthcare pathways: I've often wondered why a new type of bridge program that turns nurse practitioners and physician's assistants into physicians couldn't be created. NPs and PAs are practically physicians as it is. They see patients, diagnose illnesses, write prescriptions, and do many other things that physicians already do. I know that many people going through PA programs, for example, take many of the exact same classes that medical students take. And since we have a shortage of family practice physicians in the country, why not design these new bridge programs so that they lead exclusively to new family practice physicians?

    I guess I'm "thinking aloud" so to speak with this but I can't really see any reasons why something like this couldn't work.
  13. Jonathan Whatley

    Jonathan Whatley Well-Known Member

    I'm going to record a strong reservation here, but on the main point:

    Something like this?

    LECOM: Accelerated Physician Assistant Pathway (APAP)
  14. skidadl

    skidadl Member

    Sanantone, do you live in TX?
  15. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    Texas requires 75 hours of training and is about to raise it to 100 hours for a job that pays a median wage of $10-something an hour in the state.
    I read an article proposing a bridge program for NPs and PAs. Texas makes it difficult for NPs to practice independently because they have to be given prescription authority by a sponsoring physician (competitor). NPs complain about having to pay thousands of dollars each year to their sponsors. There aren't many doctors who want to take on this task because they are responsible for overseeing the NP's practice while trying to run their own. They can also be subject to lawsuits if anything goes wrong in the NP's practice.

    On a slightly similar subject, I believe that there are two states that allow psychologists to prescribe medication. I think they are Louisiana and New Mexico. I don't see a problem with this because they're required to get a masters in pharmacology. I would say they know more about pharmacology than your average doctor who is prone to making mistakes that have to be caught by a pharmacist.

  16. soupbone

    soupbone Active Member

    Ahhh gotcha. Well I guess it doesn't hurt that I posted the PT school as well in case people are looking for one. BTW, this sub-forum is great! I like these topics being consolidated instead of being lost on the main forum.
  17. Jonathan Whatley

    Jonathan Whatley Well-Known Member

    This said, if they were really on their own in prescribing, all the legal risk would now fall on the NPs. This wouldn't be without cost.

    I believe so, and also under some federal jurisdiction. There's been a push for this psychologist prescribing since the 90s but it generally seems to be stymied. Some opposition is from psychologists who value the distinctives of specializing in assessment and psychotherapy, etc.
  18. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    There is also a lot of opposition from psychiatrists. The reason why there is such a major push is because psychiatrists mostly focus on 15 min. sessions where they ask the patient a few questions and renew their prescriptions. There is something about the reimbursement rates where it's much more profitable to just focus on prescribing medication to as many patients as possible instead of taking an hour or so to include therapy. This leads to psychiatrists directing patients to psychologists. Patients end up paying for two healthcare professionals to take care of one problem.
  19. skidadl

    skidadl Member

    Cool, so do I.

    San Angelo state has an online LVN-RN program. So does another school in the valley somewhere.

    My son is working on moving into nursing. At 17 he on pace to accumulate 40 credit hours this year. He has done 17 since January, so he's moving right along. I'm so proud of him. He will be ready to apply to nursing program next spring.
  20. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    I just finished up a master's program at Angelo State University but online. Good luck to your son. You should be proud of him.

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