Any fellow EMT's out there?

  1. Hey guys! Currently taking prerequisites to transfer to my perspective bsn. Just wondering if being an emt has helped anyone tremendously,wether it being patient assessments, the diadetics or just getting into a program in general. Any input would be greatly appreciated!! I've been an avid reader of an, first time poster!
  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   Medic24
    I've been a paramedic the last 6 years and an emt for the 2 years prior to that. I would say that my assessment skills are above the average for the class and that the patho involved with my paramedic degree has given me a slight edge. Although there are a few in my class that are doing just as well with a cna background.
  4. by   IdcFinch
    I'm a working paramedic and just about to finish up nursing school in May. I'd have to say that I never experienced the pre-clinical "jitters" or anxiety attacks that alot of the other students seem to have had. I've had enough patient contact and patient assessment experience to allow me to breeze through clinicals. It also helped that I knew some of the nurse instructors from my time in the field!

    As for theory material, man it's a whole different ballgame. You're in for alot of study time and sleepless nights. I personally cannot get by without studying my ass off. Some people don't even crack the book. I have to bury my nose in it for hours a day. I guess it depends on how easily you grasp the lecture material. Alot of the test questions are ABC's, but alot are pretty obscure reasoning and you need to (from my experience) understand how your teacher is thinking when he or she writes the test.

    I guess the take-away is don't go into nursing school thinking your **** is above everyone elses because you're a paramedic. The instructors don't care and you might even **** someone off. Tread softly and stay humble man. And study!!!
  5. by   Fireman767
    I'm an EMT for about a year and id say it gives you an edge that you know and understand many of the basics behind principles (hypoxia, jaundice, hypertension). It won't give you nearly as much of an edge in OB or peds, and when you get to the higher level stuff its not nearly as helpful. But it lays a great groundwork for you to build on. My instructors told me after a few weeks to take a step back from EMT and step into the nurses role, more clinical judgement, more analyzing the situation and patient. So although it may help, it can also isolate you from other students. Some people in my school don't like the people who are EMTs because we have knowledge and understanding they need to learn.
  6. by   Deredain
    More than one instructor has said to me that EMTs and Paramdedics do not transition well in nursing school. They have a high fail rate and do not do as well in clinicals.

    Now, my perspective... We started with 12 EMTs in my fundamentals nursing class and a year later I am one of 3 left. I have found that I remind myself that I am not an EMT and that I am here to do nursing. Different skill sets and responsibilities. I have tried not to be overconfident in clinicals or when reading the materials. That tends to happen with EMTs/Medics.

    On the positive side, there are sections that will come easier for you. Fundamentals was so much easier for me than my classmates because I have heard the terminology, I have handled patients and talked to them, I had some basic level medical background. Cardiac / Respiratory was easier for me because that is what I mostly deal with on the rig. GIGU/Nutrition kicked my ass as we don't deal with that. Psych was better as we have dealt with psych patients so that made the clinical easier. Mother/baby I'll be out of my element.

    Let your EMT knowledge enhance your nursing school and not define it.
  7. by   akulahawkRN
    I'm a Paramedic and I have found that on the skills side of things, as well as simply making patient contact, it's helped me tremendously. And that's it. And I leave the Paramedic stuff at the doorway of school/clinical. When I pass through those doors, I'm a nursing student and nothing more, nothing less. Allow your experience doing the skills help take the mental load off of that aspect of things and let your mind be free to consider the nursing aspects of what's going on with your patients. You will have to get out of the EMT/Paramedic mindset while in nursing school because nurses and paramedics do think differently. Thinking like a Paramedic won't get you through nursing school and the reverse is true too, to a degree.

    Paramedic didn't prepare me well for the pathophys aspect of nursing school. My athletic training education did. However, that's lot of knowledge about how to properly evaluate athletic injury, treat said injury, and rehab from said injury or even surgery. There's less emphasis in pathophys of respiratory and cardiac disease because most athletes that I'd seen never have issues with those systems. Yes, the theory/didactic stuff is a whole different ballgame (as stated above). As a nurse, your goals will be very different and you'll have to know how the things you do will affect the patient down the road. More specifically, it's the pathophys stuff that is the huge difference between nursing and Paramedic. You also have to truly know the normal stuff (learned in the prerequisites), to be able to understand how things can go wrong, and you just won't typically get that in Paramedic School.

    Bottom line is that you need to use your EMT skills to enhance your clinical experience and not define you as a student. I can do quite a bit of stuff almost without thinking about it. That's a lot of time that I can spend gathering other information so that I can make a better assessment about the patient's condition and what I need to do.
  8. by   Fireman767
    I found i did significantly better during clinicals. Seems easier to work with patients, therapeutic communication, etc. As far as that goes, i wouldn't say all emts or paramedics don't transition well, but if your EMT class was like mine, your one of maybe 3 people (out of 24) who could be a nurse (one other student was a med school student, another one a PA student). However, most of us who did move on to medical fields were generally under 25, so we had a student mentality. There are two EMTs in my group of 45, and us two are the most prepared for simulations and clinicals, and we do relatively well on exams and such.

    It was a huge change and during the fundamentals class i was told to take the step back from being an EMT and look at things analytically and as a whole. (apparently trying to get a patient with an sO2 level of 90% was normal.
  9. by   Wildcats.Cabral
    I would agree with most of what has been said already. I have been an EMT for 5 years and while it is helpful for basics; vitals, knowing how to address patients, etc,. it is a WHOLE lot different, especially in how you approach the analytics of the situation. I often have found my test answers were wrong when I thought like an EMT vs thinking like a Nursing Student. I am a non-traditional student, which may have helped in my approach and "calmness" during clinical prep also.

    My nursing school director has a very low opinion of EMT's and Paramedics; as far as succeeding in nursing school because they come in "thinking they know everything". I had to overcome that negative stereotype just to get accepted into the BSN program. 4.0 on pre-requisites didn't hurt.
  10. by   ArrowRN
    Quote from kbx827
    Hey guys! Currently taking prerequisites to transfer to my perspective bsn. Just wondering if being an emt has helped anyone tremendously,wether it being patient assessments, the diadetics or just getting into a program in general. Any input would be greatly appreciated!! I've been an avid reader of an, first time poster!
    years ago I was an EMT for about 4 years..Now I'm in a BSN program after working in a non medical field for years. The EMT and nursing are totally different.I'm in first semester. I have a lot of issues in clinical because the thinking of a nurse is totally different from the thinking of a paramedic or EMT. The assessments are more detailed and for care you have to think more long term, its just different instead of just dropping patients of at a hospital and never seeing them again.Plus nurses think in terms of nursing diagnoses and have their own world of nursing jargon and give ridiculous amount of praise to Florence Nightingale and totally ignore early male contributors to the nursing profession.
    EMTs and paramedics are more trained following the medical diagnosis model of treatment and learn to follow the medical director and both are just totally different. This is probably the hardest thing for me. Hope this helps.
    Last edit by ArrowRN on Apr 2, '13
  11. by   Fireman767
    After the first semester and toning the EMT side down, it seems to flow together. Using the nursing assessment and EMT skills you can get a rapid idea of the condition and what is occurring. Also, i found clinicals were the tougher part to pay attention to, because we cant just act based on what our EMT training taught up, but rather take the whole picture in.
  12. by   FuturePsychNP
    I became an EMT while getting my first degree many moons ago. After I got out I actually went to paramedic school at night and worked part-time as a paramedic for about eight months mostly a Saturday or Sunday every week. I moved with my primary career and never picked it back up. Yeah, it helped. I learned a lot more in that program than nursing school, and I did maintain NREMT-P status for a lot of years. Fortunately, knowing the right people got me a physician's oversight signature on my credentialing papers even without being employed anywhere. I gave it up finally in 08 I think but managed to hold onto my state EMT-B cert.

    You're going to find some differences. One, nursing school is barely going to touch on, if at all, anything you do as an EMT. Two, nursing school teaches by the funnel method. They pour it all in and hope it comes through the other side without going over the side and oozing away which results in a less than great learning environment. EMT and paramedic school taught stuff to teach it, and we did far more clinicals and got way more hands on practice than in nursing school. In nursing school you'll eventually be assigned one individual patient or two and do their nurse work. If you're chained to a non-acute patient, as many of them will be, you don't really get do anything exciting. I still stand by my nursing school clinicals as being devoid of any learning experience. In medic school, etc. we floated around seeing and doing whatever we wanted so we could get maximum exposure and practice. I had classmates who never stuck a single IV, for example, because on their day their patient never needed it. Yeah, it's learned easy enough, but a RN shouldn't enter the workforce without having gotten that down, IMO.

    You'll take a more independent and action-directed approach where as most of my classmates and instructors wanted to talk about something or do things in groups rather than going in and getting it done and moving on. Also, at least after paramedic school (can't say that EMT helped with this) my assessment skills were higher even after all that time. Because of the way I was taught back then I learned it and when it came time to do it again I picked it right back up. After a couple of IV pokes I was back in the old swing of things with no problem. You'll also have already learned some of the things nursing school will teach so you'll have a foundation.

    Nursing teaches a lot about longterm general medical problems, and these aren't so much in the dedicated curricula of an EMS program. You may learn about things you never thought about or believed to be an issue that nurses thrive on. Nursing, for example, is really concerned with people's bowel movements where as in EMS we couldn't give a rat's tail if they could poop or not. The same goes for skin assessments as an example.

    You'll learn that nursing supposedly monitors the human condition and addresses the response to given disease, treatment, etc. I can't even remember nursing's definition offhand. Nursing, as a professional body via NLN and others, tries to distance itself from anything of a medical-ese nature and align itself more with such areas as sociology. Nurses do "nursing assessments," have "nursing interventions" and write care plans, which coming from EMS, you're going to think are completely bizarre. If a duck is a duck, call it a duck. No, for nursing it'd be "fowl of flight related to an aquatic environment as evidenced by pedal design, feather overlap, and feeding behavior." If duck were a known medical phrase nursing school is going to teach you not to say duck or *gasp* risk practicing medicine.