Quote from notaflyguy142
As a paramedic how do you feel the transition was to the nursing curriculum? With everything you learned from paramedic class/in the field, was it overall an "easy" transition (I use easy lightly, as I know nursing will be overall a complete new ballgame).
I'm a paramedic and graduated from Excelsior in November. I really enjoyed all there was to learn from the Excelsior curriculum; never knew there was *so* much to learn about nursing until I really got into the thick of the program!
There are some notable differences between paramedicine and nursing. As paramedics, we learn a lot about a very narrow segment of the healthcare picture... emergency medicine without the benefits of all of the diagnostic tools and such in the ED. As paramedics, there is a heavy emphasis in making as accurate a field impression as possible with information we can squeeze out of the patient. We can even blurb out ACLS, PALS, ABLS, and other algorithms in a drunken stupor off shift (okay, maybe that's a Texas thing). Paramedicine is a very important segment no doubt, but in nursing, now everything is far more detailed beyond the emergency setting borders. You will be expected to dip into the many jars of diseases, medical procedures, nursing expectations, pharmacology, etc., and while you are not expected to become an expert in mental health nursing, renal, etc., you will need to gain a solid understanding. I loved it, but it does require a LOT of reading and time to grasp the concepts. It took me nearly two years. Your mileage may vary.
The transition from paramedicine to nursing was interesting in regards to the CPNE (your clinical exam weekend with real live human patients). As a paramedic, you should have no problem defining your priorities, asking patients the appropriate questions, and performing your assessments and medication skills. You've seen a lot of the "weird" stuff out there already, so a colostomy or recognizing an infected wound is not going to be a problem. Personally, what I found more challenging was the sterile field preparation (beyond what we do in the back of the unit for sterile suction), assessing the *entire* patient (not just a focused assessment), time management when caring for your patient, and most importantly, care plans
. I never even heard of care plans when I began Excelsior, and that is a big component to not ignore. A number of my fellow CPNE testers (also paramedics) did not give serious time and practice to care planning, and it really hurt them during the CPNE.
Excelsior is very doable, given time, plenty of studying, an open mind to the nursing process, and focus on the weaknesses (care plans). I also found the NCLEX-RN exam to be easier than the National Registry (if your state requires that certification); I took my renewal NREMT-P exam and the NCLEX-RN three days apart because I apparently like pain, and quite honestly, the NREMT-P seemed more difficult.