Will paramedic be useful for ICU job? - page 2

I'm planning on starting an accelerated BSN next year and would like to work in an ICU capacity soon after graduating. I'm currently an EMT and considering becoming a paramedic in the upcoming year,... Read More

  1. by   BSN16
    i would say that the experience will look nice on the resume. But when it comes to real life experience being an EMT and trying to "stabilize" a patient is very different from when they are in the ICU. The critical care we give is much more complex compared to making sure the patient's ABC's are covered. Other than that, best of luck, hope everything works out!
  2. by   akulahawkRN
    OP, the short answer is no. The longer answer is that when you graduate from P school and you pass the NREMT-P exam, you have a piece of paper that says you can go forth and begin learning OJT. You'd likely be placed with an FTO for a couple months and then if you're deemed "not unsafe" you'll be allowed to be on your own. Even with an internship and some FTO time, you won't really have much experience as a Paramedic. Since you'd expect to start an ABSN program about a week after you graduate P school, you'll basically be a Paramedic in name only.

    I'm an ER nurse. I've been a Paramedic for a while. A few of us are in similar positions with experience as a Paramedic before going RN. I would say that ALL of us would suggest skipping P school if you're going to the ABSN program that quickly after completion of the Paramedic program. If you had some decent experience, say at least 1-2 YEARS in a busy system, you would then at least have some very solid skill in doing patient assessments, getting lines started, keeping calm during hectic situations, and so on. The experience can get you to be a few steps ahead of the patient at times. It just won't do you any justice to be a brand-new Medic and a brand-new RN at basically the same time.

    If you were looking to do transport nursing after getting some solid ICU experience, some solid experience a medic may help with that. If you think you can get both kinds of experience as a new medic and nurse at the same time, it probably won't go so well. I've been off the truck for a few years now but much of what I've learned is still lurking in the recesses of my mind and have been dusted off a bit because of my work in the ER. Getting me safely back on the truck would take a very few days, not weeks or months because I already know how to be a medic. I would just need to learn the local protocols. OP, getting going that fast won't be all that easy for you, even though you know ambulance operations. Medic work is much more than that.

    If you're bent on becoming a Paramedic also, check your local regulations to find out if you can (with your EMT cert) challenge the NREMTP exam after completing your ABSN program and obtain a Paramedic License. While you'd be new to both, at least you wouldn't have to complete another program, with all the expenses associated with it.
  3. by   Pixie.RN
    Quote from BSN16
    i would say that the experience will look nice on the resume. But when it comes to real life experience being an EMT and trying to "stabilize" a patient is very different from when they are in the ICU. The critical care we give is much more complex compared to making sure the patient's ABC's are covered. Other than that, best of luck, hope everything works out!
    To be fair, some paramedics perform very complex care during transport, far beyond the ABCs, both in the sky and on the ground. But that is typically during long transport times or in a critical care transport role. But the flight medics I worked with in Afghanistan were EMT-Ps and were definitely not just doing the ABCs!
  4. by   paramedic-RN
    So I worked as a paramedic for a few years before getting my RN and the skills are mostly just transferable in the ER. Paramedic school will give put you way ahead of other new grads in some areas like EKG interpretation and other stuff but I wouldn't recommend the route you're discussing only because it's hard to find a one year paramedic program where you're completely done in 12 months. Even if you do then you'll get hired somewhere (EMS) and spend several weeks/months clearing since you're a new medic how would you do that while starting a RN program? In my opinion having worked ER and ICU as a nurse I would say some of the skills are mostly useful in the ER, as for hiring some employers think it's awesome, some could care less.
  5. by   Kssrn404
    ABSOLUTLY! One of the best nurses I ever worked with in the surgical heart unit was a former EMT. She was super confident, calm and focused. Nothing rattled her at all. Not even opening the post op heart pt's chest at the bedside due to tampanaude! You have a wealth of experience and will do really well I think. Good luck!
  6. by   Thedevinestman
    There are two former EMT's that work in my ICU and they are both excellent nurses, especially during codes. It could be that these are just two great nurses that would have been great anyway, but not likely. In your case I would avoid paramedic and go straight to RN, you'd be better off in 5 years.
  7. by   delphine22
    Nurses who want to do flight nursing need their paramedic license (at least in Florida). But it's preferred they have ICU experience first.

    The only paramedics I've dealt with in the hospital were moonlighting as monitor techs. And each one has been impossible to deal with. Arrogant in the face of being completely wrong, wanting to do much more than their scope, and just in general not happy people. Because they weren't where they wanted to be.

    If you want to be a paramedic, be a paramedic. But if you want to be a nurse, I suggest you focus on that. Don't take the course just so you can start a few more IVs than your fellow nursing students (because without OJT that's all it will be -- a few).
  8. by   Leno182
    I guess it depends on what sort of attitude you develop during EMT-P school. not saying that all Paramedics are cocky, but if you end up developing this type of mentality subconsciously, The nurses you work with may not appreciate a new grad, exspecially one with no experience under both titles (RN/EMT-P) acting superior. this will likely put your ICU patients at risk for inferior care as well as develop into a not so healthy work environment. You also must be careful, I had an instructor with 40+ years of experience who straight up hated EMTs (mostly due to this cocky, superior attitude) this can result in a rough time during nursing school. Also like it or not you may have to put in your 1 year of Medsurg before you can even be considered for ICU. If you do manage to get an interview, just remember your most likely going to be competing against other applicants who do have Nursing experience and maybe even ICU experience. it all looks great on paper but doesn't mean much without experience. If you are set on getting paramedic consider doing so after obtaining your RN licence. This will help financially! best of luck!

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