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CNA vs EMT basic

Pre-Nursing   (19,368 Views 22 Comments)
by EZsunday EZsunday (New Member) New Member

754 Visitors; 9 Posts

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1,835 Visitors; 62 Posts

Yeah both of options are definitely doable. Choose one that you think you can do physically and mentally. Your both working with patients but working as an EMT you experience long hours working and being underpaid. Getting a job in the hospital is very hard for an EMT that has no experience. Most of the major hospitals won't hire me due to a lack of ER tech experience and a phlebotomy license. I can say working as an EMT you do learn proper lifting technique so that when you do become a nurse you can save your back I can't begin to tell you how many patients I lifted and dragged over and the nurse not being properly trained to do it. Some nurses though can lift. If you do CNA that could be a plus because you get that nursing fundamental that EMT doesn't give you. Some schools like mine actually give you a benefit of having a CNA license. I work full time as of now.

Ultimately the choice is up to you either way they are both rewarding.

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7,413 Visitors; 446 Posts

I have known MULTIPLE EMT's that have failed because they are blindsided by their first semester of nursing school. I don't think I've met any CNA's that have suffered a similar fate. Maybe it's because the RN's always tell them how difficult it is? YMMV.

I think this is common. EMT school is skill based, and spends little time on theory or fundamentals. As a result you get some EMTs who are great at playing with toys and performing particular skills, but have little to no understanding beyond that. I can imagine some EMTs get into nursing school thinking it'll be the same way, and end up with a rude awakening when they not only have to know how to do something, but WHY they are doing it.

CNA school is skill based as well, but at least the skills you learn are pretty much universally relevant in nursing, whereas EMT skills are specific to Emergency Medicine, and even then mostly in a pre hospital setting.

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1,857 Visitors; 144 Posts

Hey so Im at a bit of a crossroads and need some advice. I'm pursuing my 2nd bachelors in nursing and am looking at getting into the medical field in the meantime while I take all the prereqs. I was wondering if anyone had advice on whether it would be more worth while to get a CNA or EMT basic since they are both basically 1 semester courses. I do have 70+ hrs volunteering at an emergency room if that makes any difference as far as clinic hrs go.

If you are wanting trauma then go for your EMT. I'm a Paramedic and have been in EMS for 9 years. I got into EMS just like you are thinking...I was going for nursing but then got into a EMT class and loved it! So I decided to go get my Paramedic! You will learn A LOT and get a lot of experience if you work for a 911 service or in the ER...however I do not know any ER'S around me that will hire a basic EMT..unless you are doing teching like transporting patients...that doesnt mean there isnt any im just saying not around me...they only hire Paramedics. You will.love EMS and the freedom to think on your own and treat your patient. I just applied for the paramedic/RN bridge at my college but wont know anything until June! I also applied for some RT programs because I like both careers. I will always keep my paramedic license...it is my #1 love...but having other options like to do flight medic/rn is where I want to be. Also yes almost all CNA'S work in "nursing homes"...you could shadow both fields to help you decide too!! Good luck in your decision!

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754 Visitors; 9 Posts

Thanks for all your feedback and suggestions. After talking to some nurse techs at the hospital where I volunteer and taking into consideration what you all have said I've decided to enroll in an EMT basic course during the summer. The program I'm enrolling in offers a 6wk crash course for EMT intermediate right after basic which hopefully I can handle. I'm fascinated with trauma and I do think the critical thinking and rapid patient assessment is what I'm gonna need to be a flight nurse down the line.

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64 Visitors; 1 Post

I have done EMT before so I have a base knowledge but after being in the ER I liked the idea of also being a nurse. Do you think taking the EMT course and CNA course together would be to hard? Any things EMT cant do that CNA can? Or should I take one at a time?

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14,096 Visitors; 912 Posts

EMT gets a little better pay. The course is usually stretched out 3 to 4 month's long. Also their is advancement opportunities such as training for EMT-I, not sure if that's phased out yet, ENT Instructor, Paramedic, and so forth. Opens you into jobs in the ED, OR, Security, Construction, Law Enforcement, and Fire Fighting.

CNA courses are usually the more inexpensive option. You can, don't quote me, after your first nursing semester work as s CNA. Probably more job opportunities in the hospital and at outpatient facilities for CNAs.

I feel in my area that the EMT job market is small.

Depends on facilities can learn phlebotomy and EKGs through your enplkyer.

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Im a CNA working as a ED tech in a Hospital.As a tech I've seen that people that come with their cna license have a better approach to patients and family members than a EMT .Not only they know how to do fundamental nursing care , but also we're trained in a more caring , palliative and comforting way. The course of CNA and EMT take about the same time to obtain a certification . I would say if ur inclination is more into paramedic , driving an ambulance then go for EMT , but if you are more into nursing , ERs , PA , NP , RN school , become a CNA . They even give you 5 credit points when applying to a program in college for one of the degrees mention above . They don't accept EMT experience when going into nursing or if your goal is to challenge the Nclex board exam . As a ed tech they don't really care if they hire cnas or emts in the ED . At the end of the day a cna has an easier time getting "that job" because of all different ways we get trained . I get floated to ICUs , Mother baby units , oncology . EMTs can't float in hospital because they are missing that key in their training that CNAs obtain , and that becomes a conflict for the employer .EMT sounds fun , but it's extremely hard to find a job . You got a couple options ; is either driving an ambulance most of your shift or in the ER which they won't stand a chance next to a cna . My day to day duties as a Ed Tech , CNA ; EKGs , vitals signs , telemetry monitoring , wound care , splints , casts , basic life support , feeding , trauma bay , CPR ADLS etc

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14,096 Visitors; 912 Posts

Not sure what your bachelor's degree is in

Mine was in Criminal Justice counts as a Human Service degree...I work as a Psych Tech.

Been doing psych since 2012. It's draining and rewarding.

Your role varies from location to location...In Cali think maybe 1 or 2 other States have to be an LVN to do it.

Roles include setting care plans up, intake assessments, phlebotomy, glucose checks, vitals, EKGs, charting, group facilitation, and so forth.

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14,096 Visitors; 912 Posts

Also few other tidbits. If you do obtain CNA or EMT experience or just get a job in a hospital...There's lots of hospital jobs don't need certs or licensed just a certain degree...

Anywho look into Anesthesia Tech...Some States have to licenses or cert up.

You build thick skin people will tell at you in crisis mode but you form a tight bond. You do some crazy stuff like set up bronchioscopes, clean cardiac scopes, set up fluid warmers, prep trach tubes, prep IVs, prep Triple A bags, stock meds, calibrate Boyle Machines, and lots of other jazzy stuff.

Not to discredit CNAs or MAs. In our State certain places hire EMTs in liue of MAs.

Also as an EMT can go on to be a paramedic do a bridge route to RN school. Some critical care RN positions require you to be EMT certed. Can work as an EMT for security or fire department or ambulance company.

Now not sure how it is in other State's. The CNA schools here don't offer a very flexible training schedule. EMT training is usually 2 or 3 days/eves a week, a ride along, and maybe depending on the program a few weekends thrown into the mix.

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14,096 Visitors; 912 Posts

CNAs, PCTs, and Techs are the Skelton system of the hospital

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