considering EMT school before nursing school

  1. I am seriously considering going to EMT school starting fall quarter while completing my pre-reqs at my current school. The EMT program is through the local tech school and will last 3 quarters of part time study. I will remain full time at my school (local community college that has a very competitive nursing program - about 150 slots per year and at least 10 times that number apply for admission). They require pre-reqs to be completed and I won't complete micro until next summer. So I was thinking that I could go do the EMT program, get a job as an EMT, and hopefully have a relatively decent income without working my current 8 hours x 4 days a week (as a unit secretary in the same hospital I'd want to work as an EMT). Our EMTs work 24 or 12 hour shifts, which would mean 2-3 days a week. I also think I would get much more experience as an EMT than I would as a unit secretary. My mom is a paramedic so I'd also have a built-in tutor. LOL What do you think? Is it do-able? I will have to work once I get in the nursing program so I figured that I might as well do something medical. Anyone have an opinion or some advice?

    Thanks!

    Christina
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  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   EricJRN
    I think it's a great idea. I had an EMS background prior to entering nursing and I liked it enough that I've kept doing it even now.
  4. by   paccookie
    Quote from EricEnfermero
    I think it's a great idea. I had an EMS background prior to entering nursing and I liked it enough that I've kept doing it even now.
    Thanks for your reply! My mom has been in EMS for nearly 20 years (I think she finished her paramedic schooling about 10 years ago?) and she loves it. She was doing the Excelsior program for a while but decided that she was happy as a paramedic and probably won't finish it. Do you feel like you were a little ahead when you started the nursing classes? I'm hoping that EMS experience would be a help.

    Christina
  5. by   EricJRN
    I am an Excelsior grad myself, so (unfortunately for me I guess) all of our students had healthcare education in some form. I was telling someone the other day that when I started I knew a lot about congestive heart failure and trauma, but I wouldn't have known a CPM machine if one bit me. I had a lot to learn as far as the hospital nursing side of things. That said, EMS did help me gain assessment skills, observe a lot of nurses in action and make some great contacts.
  6. by   sirI
    I became EMT after being a nurse for several years. I've never regretted the decision. I think it is a good plan, paccookie.
  7. by   EmergenC
    I have been an EMT for a year now. I work at a VERY busy and understaffed service in Topeka,KS. I would only recommend it if you will be working at a slow or rural service. It is a very hard job and if you work 24 hours and are busy you will not sleep like me. I could not go to school working this job. I start pre nursing in a couple weeks and have switched to working one day a week for 12 hours just to keep my job because I love working the streets on 911 calls. It would be impossible to really be an EMT and go to school. I would skip EMT and get your CNA and get that experience instead. Not as fun though!!
  8. by   casi
    I say definately go for it. I go to school with a lot of people who work as EMTs through the fire department or as ER techs. I've also considered going through the EMT course, I just don't have time in my school schedule to do so.
  9. by   danh3190
    Another advantage of being an EMT while in nursing school is that if you work at a fairly slow service there will be some hours each day when you're at the base just waiting for calls. In many services, as long as the ambulances have been checked out and the base is clean, the time is yours. So you can use the waiting on call time to study and get paid for it! How many other jobs will let you sit around and study a few hours each day?
  10. by   allthingsbright
    EMT's get lots of excellent experience. I say go for it! Just don't let it affect your pre-req grades.
  11. by   NRSNFL
    I definitely think you should go for it. I think the experiences you obtain just through job performance alone are reason enough and I also like the idea of studying and getting paid for it (I can do it at my job too, as long as things are done correctly, promptly and with a smile). Good luck.
  12. by   paccookie
    Quote from EmergenC
    I have been an EMT for a year now. I work at a VERY busy and understaffed service in Topeka,KS. I would only recommend it if you will be working at a slow or rural service. It is a very hard job and if you work 24 hours and are busy you will not sleep like me. I could not go to school working this job. I start pre nursing in a couple weeks and have switched to working one day a week for 12 hours just to keep my job because I love working the streets on 911 calls. It would be impossible to really be an EMT and go to school. I would skip EMT and get your CNA and get that experience instead. Not as fun though!!
    I had considered getting my CNA, but the pay is only marginally higher (about $0.50-1.00 more), staffing is always terrible, I would still be working 4 days a week, and I already know the vast majority of what they do since I work in an assisted living home previously (though I'm not a CNA). At my hospital, EMTs get overtime pay after 8 hours of their shift. I can choose either 12 or 24 hr shifts and they are usually well-staffed. They are busy most of the time, but nights aren't that bad. My mom has been a paramedic there for about 15 years and she loves it. She is doing the nursing program through Excelsior (she told me today that she was not quitting afterall!) and she studies at work too. Plus, I already have study time built into my class schedule so not being able to study at work wouldn't be detrimental in any way. I'm really more interested in the clinical experience than anything else.

    I talked to the tech school this week and I may be able to go for free through the GA HOPE grant. Since this is a certificate program and structured different as far as financial aid goes, it shouldn't conflict with the aid I get for my classes at my home school. I talked to the financial aid counselor about it and he said to go ahead and apply. So I will be doing that this week. The classes will start in early October. My mom sounded excited and said she'd help me study and mentioned that we needed to study A&P together since she's taking that now too. LOL

    Christina
    Last edit by paccookie on Aug 17, '06
  13. by   Ginny516
    Although it might be challenging to do EMT training while studying nursing, think about the exposure you will get! It will give you a lot of experience that will be useful in nursing school!

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