Becoming a transport RN right out of school


I recently got accepted to an ADN nursing program and have been thinking about my career when finishing school. As an experienced Paramedic with 7 years of service I was planning on staying in the ground transport field. I have looked at several jobs and read blogs for critical care ground transport careers and it seems that many of the nurses in that type of field have 2-5 plus years of nursing experience as a RN. What is the likely hood of someone right out of school being able to move into a position of ground transport? Do these types of positions take EMS experience into consideration? I do plan to go back to school for my BSN after working for a year. Many positions that I have seen state that they would prefer a BSN but would accept a RN with ADN, does experience help in that aspect?

Trauma Columnist

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN

165 Articles; 21,206 Posts

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU. Has 31 years experience.

Hi and congrats on school acceptance.

I'm a Pre-Hospital RN (PHRN) and in my area, most ground transports with nurses are all critical care, with drips, vents, etc. Often they are pediatric critical care transports which involves central lines, etc.

Your paramedic experience will help tremendously but would seriously doubt you would be hired without some solid RN critical care experience. Otherwise, they would hire you now.

Also - I'm going to move this to transport nursing for more answers. Good luck...

Specializes in Education.

This is just my opinion, mind. But I highly doubt that you'd be able to obtain a job as a transport nurse fresh from school. Very highly doubt.

I was a paramedic before going to nursing school and even though I thought that I knew all about nursing, I really didn't. Didn't matter that I'd worked with nurses, in the field, wherever. 10+ years of experience only taught me that I knew just enough to be amazingly bored at times and that I had a leg up on my classmates in not being afraid to try new things and work with the patients during my clinical rotations.

Your best bet would probably be looking for a critical care job, or even doing the traditional year of med-surg or telemetry and then going to critical care.

Even though your paramedic experience is fantastic, it's not nursing experience. Flight nurses are often very experienced critical care nurses from an ICU setting.

I would personally consider an ex paramedic's application but that's not how managers do things.

It's the same when managers don't consider LPN nursing experience when they graduate as RNs. It's all rubbish.


5 Posts

Thanks for the information. I guess it all depends on where your location is. I know lpns who became RNs and got jobs in CCUs and EDs right out of school because of their LPN experince. But I also live in a rural area.

Yeah rural is always a different story because resources are bare bones. In my country I once worked in a rural setting where LPNs could even suture. It's strange how when no one else is available, the scope widens. Go into the city and the LPNs couldn't give injections or IV because "that's too dangerous to let them do that, they haven't got a bachelor degree!"

Nursing will forever amaze me.

KelRN215, BSN, RN

1 Article; 7,349 Posts

Specializes in Pedi. Has 16 years experience.
Thanks for the information. I guess it all depends on where your location is. I know lpns who became RNs and got jobs in CCUs and EDs right out of school because of their LPN experince. But I also live in a rural area.

I don't actually think that's the same thing at all. ICU and ED are areas that sometimes hire new grads. I have plenty of classmates who were hired directly into ICU or ED right out of school (BSN program). Transport RN positions require critical care experience in my area.

Specializes in Education.
Thanks for the information. I guess it all depends on where your location is. I know lpns who became RNs and got jobs in CCUs and EDs right out of school because of their LPN experince. But I also live in a rural area.

Plus, the scope of practice for LPNs and RNs can be very, very close. After all, LPN = Licensed Practical Nurse. They're still a nurse, just not a Registered Nurse. If you look at your state's Board of Nursing's scopes of practice for LPNs and RNs, you'll probably find that they are very similar.

Specializes in Emergency, Critical Care, Pre-Hospital,. Has 14 years experience.

If you know where you'd like to practice and can work, even per diem, you may be able to transition from critical care paramedic to RN at the same company.

I was a paramedic for 10 years before going to Nursing school and am a PHRN for the same company I worked for in school.

Depending on what you want to do, you would be best served going the ICU route rather than working in the ED. Though many service say ICU or ED experience they really prefer ICU where you have familiarity with meds, machines and procedures. CCRN and CFRN/CTRN will be the certifications to get rather than CEN. Keep all your paramedic certifications especially NREMT-P, I let mine go in favor of state cert. which is good but not the same.

Good of luck on your future endeavors!


11 Posts

I feel your pain, my friend. I just got hired on as a Flight Nurse, and it took me 3 years to get there. I will say that you are well prepped for flight, but you have to be able to handle multiple drips. I worked as a Paramedic and a Critical Care Paramedic before I went to Nursing School. I had my eyes opened in the ICU/CCU setting as a Nurse. You dont know drips till you work in the Critical Care setting. And I dont mean that in an arrogant way. I have learned a lot due to some good mentors, but I still have a lot to learn. Get a year of ER, and get at least 2 years of CCU/ICU in a BIG hospital. At least a 10 bed ICU/CCU. Cardiac Experience is even better.

Your medic time and license will just be icing on the cake. Get your CCRN, and even your CEN if ya can. Get some Instructor cards under your belt. Start applying for once you get your 3 years in. Most programs are under CAMTS accredidation, and they require 3 years. That is why everyone requires that. Put your time in, and dont lose sight of the prize. If I can ever help you in any way, feel free to PM me.


17 Posts

Specializes in Transport Nursing/SCTU(In Progress).

I am currently going to nursing school also and currently work for a Transport Company that provides critical care transport from hospital to hospital. Our requirements are 3 years of nursing experience either in an Emergency Room, Critical Care Floor, NICU, PICU, Critical Cardiac Floor etc. No matter if they were paramedics or not, that is our requirements.

Another company requires a year in the same environments listed above. Although you do have a leg up being a paramedic, you will need the nursing experience to play the role of SCTU nurse.

I also want to be a SCTU nurse, it is literally one of the coolest jobs in nursing in my opinion :)

Specializes in Critical Care, Emergency Medicine, C-NPT, FP-C. Has 10 years experience.

Mostly no. In my experience with flight companies, even the active flight medics who get their RN do not get to transition directly to the nurse seat. They have to get the same 3 years experience needed for an outside applicant. Their internal status might help them get a leg up otherwise though. It's why I want to keep working transport medicine as a medic even after I get my RN and start working in hospital.