Go from Nurse to… Paramedic?

You may be thinking “Isn’t that title backwards”? While it is true that many paramedic’s progress towards a nursing degree, there are, however, many benefits for nurses to obtain a EMT or Paramedic degree as well. This article will discuss several reasons for RN’s to adopt EMS training to their résumé.

First, let’s all get on the same page. Even though these two fields are in the healthcare industry together, they are vastly different and extremely important pieces to the overall “patient care puzzle”. While nursing deals with long term patient care under the supervision of a doctor in a hospital setting, EMT/Paramedic training focuses on initial patient assessment and emergency response. Topics covered in EMT training may include:

  • Treatment for Trauma Emergencies
  • Airway Management & Maneuvers
  • Spinal Immobilization using KED Board and Longboard
  • Splinting Procedures
  • Traction Splinting
  • Treatment for Medical Emergencies
  • Pediatric Emergencies
  • Geriatric Emergencies
  • Ambulance Operations

So, why would RN’s want to become EMT/Paramedic certified?

Employment Opportunities
Becoming versed in both fields can assist in expansion of employment opportunity. Companies in the private sector, and organizations in the public domain, desire highly educated people with a well-rounded scope of all around medical care knowledge. RN’s with EMS training and background can find professional specialties that include:

  • Flight Nurse
  • Intensive Care Nurse
  • Emergency Room Nurse
  • EMS Instructor
  • Local EMS Provider

The Exhilaration/Adrenalin Rush Influence
Some nurses are drawn to the hectic and often unpredictable world of trauma and emergency. It may be in their nature to take control of an emergency situation or play an intricate part of a quick moving crisis. Some may have witnessed paramedics/EMT’s rush into the hospital and provide the details of the patient event and present the case facts. Others were probably drawn into that “rush” without witnessing a scene like that at all. Regardless, those situations typically arise in an ER trauma unit or in the “field”. An on-the-scene ambulance work environment can provide that lifestyle and may be a better fit than in a slower paced hospital setting for some.

The Autonomy Factor
Some nurses may not like the strict rules and regulations that can apply to nursing. Restrictive guidelines, hospital protocol, and close supervision by a doctor(s) can all contribute to a feeling of not being a “major role player” at all. Even though paramedicine also has rules and guidelines, it may have a different “feel” when you are a first responder and it is YOUR actions and decisions that controls a scene. It can provide a sense of freedom from external control or influence, as well as, an impression of independence.

The benefits of converting from RN to EMS can vary and may not apply to you. In our experience, there has been “tension” between nurses and paramedics/EMT’s historically. However, the more each learns from the other will help overall knowledge of patient treatment and care.

How Long are the RN to EMS Courses?
Course length differs by program but typically last 1-2 weeks (average 54 Hrs.) for RN-to-EMT bridge courses; while RN-to Paramedic bridge courses varies from a couple of months to up to a year.

Training Institutes by State:

Nebraska – Creighton University (Pre-Hospital Care (EMT) for Nurses)
Wisconsin – Lakeshore Technical College (RN to EMT)
Ohio – Columbus State Community College (RN-to-Paramedic)
Virginia – Southwest Virginia Community College (RN-to-Paramedic)
Nevada – JTM Training Group (RN-to-EMT)

Are YOU an RN that has converted to paramedicine? We would love to hear from you or anyone else that have comments or questions about this article. Visit our Facebook Fan Page and drop us your thoughts! Platinum Educational Group Fan Page.