Anyone find that taking an EMT course was helpful?

  1. I have been contemplating on taking a few lower level EMT courses at a local community college next semester. My school's program has us taking only one nursing course plus our clinicals next semester, and besides taking another class or two for my second BS, I'm considering this as well.

    In a perfect world I want to start off in an ER after completing my BSN but I don't know if the transition from the classroom to a critical care setting is such a smart idea without having any form of critical care know-how besides what I've picked up volunteering in an ER (which wasn't much lol).

    From what I've read and heard, most people that do go into an ER setting too soon don't have the skills that are necessary to function well in that setting. EMT's and paramedics have those skills down to a T, at least the good ones do. I fail to see how preparing myself for the type of work that they do couldn't be anything but helpful to me down the road.
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    About dano

    Joined: Jul '06; Posts: 76; Likes: 5
    Photolab technician


  3. by   emtb2rn
    Not sure what you mean by "a few lower level EMT courses". The basic course is 3 months. Continuing education courses are available but the assumption for those is that you already are an EMT (B, I or P).

    From my perspective, yes, it helps when the ED staff understands what the pre-hospital conditions and situation may have been like (there are some dark and dirty houses out there and my personal favorite - pt states no allergies, no meds, no history - get to ED and voila, a barrage of information is given to the staff), but the focus is different from basic EMS to ED (stabilize/transport vs diagnose/treat).

    I'm pretty sure volunteering in an ED doesn't count as critical care training. Plus, any hospital that puts someone into a critical care postion /s training is not a place I would want to work.

    Also, remember that EMT-B is basic life support - no IV's started, no drugs pushed ('cept a few the pt already has on 'em where you can assist - nitro, albuterol, epi) but you will learn how to assess a patient (and get to do CPR in cramped hallways, pack-rat bedrooms and tiny bathrooms).

    Good luck
  4. by   CoffeeRTC
    Yes...take it. I needed 4 credits as and elective and came upon the EMT classes taught thru the local Center or Emergency Medicine. There 3 of us BSN students and a few premed students taking it at the time. Even though I never practiced it or kept up my certs, I still use some of the skills I've learned..esp the assessmet ones. I work LTC and whenever we have falls with serious injury..those type of skills come into play.

    If you need to take electives and looking to add to your nursing ed...I would def recomend those classes and keeping up your certs.
  5. by   Antikigirl
    I find that EMT classes are extremely helpful for several reasons! They help with learning technical skills, help back up anatomy/physiology info, teaches you what is and may be required in an emergency, gives you experience on emergency situations (if you haven't had them it is a good thing to learn!), can increase leader skills for codes, teaches you IV starts, reasons we use certain medications in certain doses for emergencies vs daily doses, pharamacology, how to deal with family and patients in crisis, and most of all...knowing what an EMT/paramedic does..and in turn they will learn what a nurse does...that is a win win!

    I did ride alongs in school, and continue to do CME through my husbands work! Everything I have learned from EMT/Paramedic and prehospital has helped me tons, and I use that info daily! I have learned to be so very calm in emergencies to the point I can even teach others right then and there if I need to (like when I need help with CPR and the other people don't know it or are intimidated).

    I learned so many heart meds it wasn't funny, and now I really know what they are and why when I see them on my pts MAR. I also learned to read EKG's which is helpful and can increase my earning potential at some hospitals.

    I also learned how to do head to toe assessments quickly by watching and talking with patients (half an assessment can be done simply by watching the pt instead of asking them to do things...then you can focus on probelm areas). How to get a history quickly and accurately, how to report off, and what is going to be needed in emergency situtations so that I can get that going on too (or ask someone to get the supplies or what not).

    WIN WIN big time obviously...not to mention quite fun! I love paramedic/emt humor...and that is what my humor stems from! So I always have a fun time when I am working with paramedics/emts...big grin when I see them!

    GO FOR IT~! I found it to be more info then I got in RN school in a quicker time...and hands on experience that helps in any case!
  6. by   mickeypat
    Taking an EMT course will also help with assessment skills... you can do a head to toe in no time flat! At least for a quick assessment, especially if you have a fall. And, it will also teach you how to deal with certain things that are NOT TAUGHT in nursing school!

    Take the chance and get more skills and knowledge, won't hurt a thing!
    I've had so many experiences being an EMT, that I've learned something from each one!
  7. by   dano
    Quote from emtb2rn
    Not sure what you mean by "a few lower level EMT courses". The basic course is 3 months. Continuing education courses are available but the assumption for those is that you already are an EMT (B, I or P).
    EMS 100: This lecture course presents the technical knowledge and skills necessary for certification as a Basic Emergency Medical Technician (EMT-B). This course focuses on Basic Life Support (CPR), airway management, poisoning emergencies, splinting, disaster management, bleeding, shock, emergency child birth, and psychological emergencies, as well as extrications. This course meets the recommendations of the National Department of Transportation for EMT- Basics. Note that successful completion of this course is required for individuals wishing to take the National Registry Certifying Exam for EMT-Basics.


    EMS 106: This laboratory course is designed to develop overall patient management skills required for Basic EMT. This covers equipment, assessment, evaluation, treatment, documentation, communication and more. Subject matter complements the required co-requisite lecture course in EMS 100 (EMT- Basic Fundamentals). This lab focuses on all essential skills required for the successful completion of the National Registry standard practical examination. This course meets the recommendations of the National Department of Transportation for EMT- Basics.

    Those are the two I'm considering taking.

    Thanks for the positive support gang! Sounds like I was in the right train of thought about these classes.

    My mom's best friend from high school is a paramedic of 20+ years and I should have zero problems getting ride-alongs with him whenever I need to. That would be good experience as well.
  8. by   tddowney
    I'm starting nursing school after being an EMT-B in a small town for four years.

    I think the experience will help probably more than the classes. You don't get a lot of medical foundation knowledge in the EMT-B level compared to the nursing curriculum.

    You do learn to assess a pt, how to handle a difficult situation, and how to relate to pts and families in stressful times for them.

    You will gain confidence in your skills and your instincts. And you'll see some things you won't believe as far as how people live.

    Plus, you'll learn useful and interesting facts, such as the heavier the pt, the smaller the hallways and rooms in the dwelling. The gurney won't go into the room, so you get to put 'em on a backboard and carry 'em. :chuckle