Am I on the right track?

Posted
by CamMc CamMc Member Pre-Student

I'm on the 2-year wait-list to be accepted into my CC's ADN program. I have about 7-8 years of experience working with kids with special needs and was in a nursing program over 10 years ago, but didn't make it through, partly because I was so focused on only wanting to be a peds or school nurse. I am fairly certain now that I would like to work in the Peds ER. I had originally planned on working my current non-nursing but better paying job until I started the nursing program in about 2 years and then at that point try to work as a CNA or tech in a hospital, but have been really frustrated by not getting any satisfaction out of my current position. I have been strongly considering going to become an EMT, I recently took a BLS class just to increase my chances I might get some kind of position at the local children's hospital and the instructor told me that she was an EMT and got a position fairly easily as an ER tech at the children's hospital. I feel like doing this is on the right track to getting me the knowledge and experience to work quickly on my feet. I'm worried though despite the fact that I feel like I have handled somewhat emergent situations with the boy I am a caretaker for as a side job and the experiences I have had working with other children with special needs, that I am not confident enough to actually work in an ER. Is this a normal thing, being nervous about reality and not just imagining what it would be like to be in an ER? I feel like working as an ER tech will definitely help build confidence to eventually work as an RN in the ER, but how do I get the confidence to be a tech?

MotoMonkey, BSN, RN

Specializes in ED. Has 3 years experience. 248 Posts

On 9/10/2019 at 5:27 PM, CamMc said:

but didn't make it through, partly because I was so focused on only wanting to be a peds or school nurse.

In nursing school you have to learn about all populations across the lifespan. Despite your current feelings of wanting to be a pediatric emergency nurse, go into nursing school with an open mind, take every clinical rotation as an opportunity to learn. If your school is anything like mine you will receive minimal teaching and experience geared towards pediatric populations. But school is teaching to the bigger picture, they will spend more time teaching about the larger patient populations.

On 9/10/2019 at 5:27 PM, CamMc said:

I recently took a BLS class just to increase my chances I might get some kind of position at the local children's hospital and the instructor told me that she was an EMT and got a position fairly easily as an ER tech at the children's hospital

Look at the job requirements for the positions you would like to work. In this day and age your resume needs to match the employers needs. There is not as much of this "well I am unqualified, but ill just go show someone I am passionate and they will hire me." Look to see if their techs are required to hold certification as an EMT, or if they are required to be a CNA. I am sure your BLS class will be one of the required certifications, so you are on the right track there. However, in the end no one here can tell you what will be required for the specific hospital and specific unit as those requirements are all unique between institutions and can be different geographically.

On 9/10/2019 at 5:27 PM, CamMc said:

I feel like working as an ER tech will definitely help build confidence to eventually work as an RN in the ER, but how do I get the confidence to be a tech?

Sometimes you just have to jump in with both feet. If you were to be hired, the institution will give you additional training and orientation to ensure you can safely do your job.

NurseVoldemort

NurseVoldemort, BSN, RN

Specializes in ED. Has 15 years experience. 89 Posts

When I was in nursing school the Emergency Dept terrified me and I knew I never wanted to work there. I have now been an ED RN for the last 8 years, most of it even being charge nurse.

I think my expectations of what went on in the ED was exaggurated, and I can only assume that is what is going on with you as well. If you think you want to pursue nursing in a pediatric ED you can see what it's like by volunteering there. Many ED's use volunteers to clean rooms, bring patients water or various other tasks that do not involve patient care. But it would give you an idea of what it would be like to work there.

If you want to get a foot in the door, doing an MA program or EMT program would help you get a job in an ED as a tech, which may or may not give you an advantage to getting a job as an RN. Some hospitals flat out don't hire new grads into the ED and some do with a lengthy residency program.

Good luck!

CamMc

CamMc

128 Posts

On 9/12/2019 at 9:29 AM, MotoMonkey said:

In nursing school you have to learn about all populations across the lifespan. Despite your current feelings of wanting to be a pediatric emergency nurse, go into nursing school with an open mind, take every clinical rotation as an opportunity to learn. If your school is anything like mine you will receive minimal teaching and experience geared towards pediatric populations. But school is teaching to the bigger picture, they will spend more time teaching about the larger patient populations.

Look at the job requirements for the positions you would like to work. In this day and age your resume needs to match the employers needs. There is not as much of this "well I am unqualified, but ill just go show someone I am passionate and they will hire me." Look to see if their techs are required to hold certification as an EMT, or if they are required to be a CNA. I am sure your BLS class will be one of the required certifications, so you are on the right track there. However, in the end no one here can tell you what will be required for the specific hospital and specific unit as those requirements are all unique between institutions and can be different geographically.

Sometimes you just have to jump in with both feet. If you were to be hired, the institution will give you additional training and orientation to ensure you can safely do your job.

Thanks, I think I started writing something more about my previous experience and got sidetracked. I definitely understand now that I need to be open to learning about all populations, regardless of my end goal. I guess I just wanted to clarify that I have somewhat been through this before and understand what I did wrong in the past.

I have looked at the job postings in my area, most patient care tech or emergency room techs will use an EMT. I feel that the bigger issue is I'd rather not work for low wages at a nursing home when my ultimate goal is working in a hospital and getting my EMT would on paper appear to get me into a position like that and seems to pay better. What I'm really trying to gather is if the experience gained by being a CNA would benefit more than the experience gained as an EMT, given that I'm leaning towards working in an emergency room or more urgent setting and would prefer to work with kids, although I'm fine with working as a general EMT on an ambulance and getting a large variety of cases.

I think the last part of your response is really what I need to keep in mind, I think I'm worrying about something that I will get the proper training. I just want to make sure I'm on the right track or at least going about this in a way that I'm taking small steps in the right direction because I wasted so much time already trying to figure out what I want to do with my life.

MotoMonkey, BSN, RN

Specializes in ED. Has 3 years experience. 248 Posts

I have worked as an EMT, and a CNA, though not in a hospital setting. I would say that both will give you valuable experience that can be applied to your future nursing practice. At the end of the day, I think that whatever direct patient care experience you can get is beneficial though nothing truly prepares you to be a nurse until you are in nursing school.

If you want to work as an ER tech prior to school, or during school, I would go for it. If you want the option to also work on an ambulance you will certainly have to get your EMT. I would look in your area to see if there are EMT jobs available, depending on where you live there may be private ambulance services like AMR, Falck, or Metro West which hire EMT basics. If there is not private ambulance service in your area it can be difficult to get on with a fire department as they are generally (but not always) looking to hire firefighter/paramedics and in my experience are not as willing to work around school schedules.