I need help!!! Paramedic or RN??



  1. hello! i need some career advice. i am at a fork in the road... do i take a left turn and become a paramedic or a right turn and become a r.n. i love the emergency part of both. but i need some opions of people who have been down the road. i am open to all opinions... thanks for your time.


    i need some career advice i need some career advice i need some career advice
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   DelGR
    What do you think would give you more flexibility and opportunity in the long run?
    How old are you? How's your health? How flexible can you be in your school scheduling? Are you going to need to work full-time and go to school part-time? Do you have dependents?
    There are a lot of questions you need to ask yourself before you make a decision.
    You could be a paramedic first, work at that, then get your schooling for RN.
  4. by   nursecheryl
    You can become an RN and work as an emergency nurse both in emergency room or chopper/emt. In the hospital I use to work we used nurses in the chopper or ambulance beccause they are allowed to take doctors orders and follow them while in flight or on route if in ambulance. I'd also check out salary before making this decision too.
  5. by   JailRN
    RN RN RN
    every area is different being a paramedic, certification, pay, etc, but an RN is something you can take to any state and support you and your family. (God I sound like my mother)
    Good luck
  6. by   RenayCCRN
    I know a few RN's who are also paramedics and they work as full time RN's but work extra as paramedics because they enjoy it. I do know in my area the continuing education and manditory modules for paramedics are difficult to maintain and some of the paramedics I know who have kept their (licience?) up have know let it go because it is to difficult to do both. A shame because I believe the rapid assessment skills learned as a paramedic are great!!! Follow your heart!!!
  7. by   MandieMarie
    Hey! thanks for all the responses! The thing is... I am already enrolled in an RN program which starts in the winter. I am taking my EMT-B class this fall. My heart yanks me in both places. I have no dependants..I am only 19 and in great health... with exception of the small amount of cellulite on my thighs...lol I talked with some of the RN's that I work with and they tell me (with exception of one) to go with being a paramedic. Is there a drastic salary change between the two?
  8. by   LilgirlRN
    I don't know where you live but here in Alabama RNs make about 3 times as much as EMTs. EMTs have a lot of responsibility with little compensation monetarily. While being an EMT can be very rewarding and exciting emotionally, it can't put as many potatoes on your table as being an RN.
  9. by   RNIAM
    In northern Maine there is a large gap between the two salaaries and not to mention that RN can advance further up the ladder whereas Parmedics have already reached their maximum pay starting out. Keeping in mind the cost of living increases and years of service for a company? If your asking for a vote
    RN RN RN RN RN.....
    Best of Luck
  10. by   Nycole
    Heres the thing, Paramedic pay sucks, jobs are hard to find. My fiancee is a paramedic. Here is the cool thing you can do (this is what I'm gonna do). Do your RN program. Then, after you pass your NCLEX, take a paramedic refresher class (48 hours). Then you are qualified to take the paramedic registry. If you pass, you will be a paramedic. Hows that for fun?

    Nycole
  11. by   nursecheryl
    where I'm from the RN's make 3x more money. And, like I already mentioned you can be an RN working in ambulance or chopper for a hospital. Many of the large hospitals only allow nurse and doctor or two nurses to work on the choppers or ambulances.
  12. by   EMTPTORN
    when i started taking my prereqs for nursing school, i told all the new emt's or students who rode with me at work who asked advise about what to do, to forget about being a paramedic and go to nursing school....better hrs, better pay, etc...

    now....getting ready to start my 4th semester of nursing school and after oodles of application type nursiong tests,,,,,my o-pinion has changed....

    nursing school SUCKS...THE TESTS SUCK...AND THE PRESSURE is enormous. in 1990 when i went to paramedic school i thought it was hard, granted it was very difficult...but nothing, AbSOLUTELY nothing like the difficulty of nursing school.

    now i only recommend nursing school to those who really want it...because to pass and have any kind of satisfaction, you must really want it.
    for the last 15 years as an emt or para, i have worked minimum 60 hrs a week (usually > than 100)....i am sooo ready for a change, be sure.

    if you are going down the rode of paramedic, be ready for a minimum 56hr work week (be sure that most of us work much more), at least TWICE the ceu's required for a nurse, in my area 2/3 of the pay of an RN (greater discrepancy if one works nights and weekends as a nurse), and mostly, be prepared to work codes, GSW's, stabbings, MVA's, heart attacks, respiratory arrests, etc.....ALL UNDER STANDING ORDER with a partner (EMT) trained at a lower knowledge level than you, and who cannot do all the skills either.

    What i am trying to say is when the SH-- hits the fan, you are it, and you better be ready. PERIOD.

    AFTER ALL THE ABOVE IS SAID...do i think being a paramedic is easier, YES...much easier, even with the decision making pressures.

    to a paramedic this critical thinking we learn in nursing school is as second nature to us as ACLS and WE DO IT day in and day out at one minutes notice 24/7

    wow, seems like i am making a case for a paramedics job being difficult, it is...you must be able to get the iv, intubate, cardiovert, pace, read the rythym all by yourself...but with time and practice, you get god at it, or you move on to another field...its real hard to hide a bad paramedic because your job is critqued for the world to see every time you bring a pt. to the ER....

    I have loved being a Paramedic, but am ready to gain more knowledge, adevance my skills, and move on to new horizons in pt. care. Nursing school does suck compared to paramedic, but for me, it is a means to an end.

    What i have learned being a paramedic is making clinicals in nursing school much easier, but these written tests really make you THINK crosseyed.

    to close

    A very wise someone once said: paramedics know a lot about a little, and nurses know a little about a lot. that statement goes a long way.

    choose your own path......
  13. by   BBnurse34
    I would check to see what profession is most needed in my area. Its useless to become educated in a field that has no need of new grads.
  14. by   ldymedc
    Well EMTPTORN, I can certainly understand your position. It seems as if we have led very similar lives. I have been a prehospital provider (PM) and firefighter for 16 years, paid for 13. The luster wore off the 24 hr work schedule many years ago, and the abuse that I have put my body through is amazing. The only thing that I disagree with you about is the difficulty of the RN program. Admittedly, I have a decent amount of in hospital experience as well, but I will be finishing my RN in just a few months, it has not been a difficult leap for me. As a friend of mine said, nursing school is not difficult (if you already have years of experience and knowledge) just voluminous.

    The only advice I would give someone torn between RN and PM is that the experience and knowledge you gain as a PM are invaluable, you can not get those decision making skills anywhere else...EMTP is right, you HAVE to be on your game at all times. That being said. After as many years as I have done this, I would suggest that you get your RN, pay and hours are much better. Aside from that, you will certainly get more respect as an RN, simply because the public is not aware of the intensive training and level of knowledge required to do the job of a Paramedic.

    I plan on leaving the prehospital field soon, the upward mobility is absolutely non existent, (unless I want to be a fire officer,and give up the thing I love the most...patient care) and the pay is not commenserate with the education or work. Plus, at my age now (not old only 35) I want the ability to move up in my career. I have never been happy with stagnation. I also want the ability to see my family everyday. So, if you really want to get the experience as a PM, go ahead with your RN, and then get your PM and volunteer. It could only make you a better, well rounded RN.

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