What would be more beneficial, CNA or EMT?

  1. I've finished the 1st year of nursing school in an ADN program. I want to futher my skills, having no medical experience previously. But I also want to better my chances at obtaining an RN position when I graduate as well. I was thinking of taking an CNA or EMT course over the summer. Do you think this would make me more competitive, and which would be the better of the two?
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    Joined: Apr '09; Posts: 12

    11 Comments

  3. by   twinwilt
    I am both a CNA and EMt. I think the CNA would be benefial as you would already be working in the field of nursing and making contacts and seeing the skills in action so you will have experience when you get your RN. An emt is exciting, but does not teach you to be a good nurse. Some states will grant you a CNa license once you have completed your first year in nursing school. I know Maryland does. All you need is a letter from the program and apply for the CNa license.
  4. by   Definingmyfuture
    I would agree that becoming a CNA would be more beneficial. I am starting the CNA program in July becasue it is a pre-req here for the ADN.
  5. by   MattiesMama
    I'm actually doing both...I'm eligible to take the CNA test after the first semester of my program so I'm going to do that, but I also will get the EMT because I want to get a job as an ER Tech. But if you had to choose one or the other, I would go the CNA route
  6. by   MassADNstudent
    However, will it be worth it to get my CNA if I can't find a job as one in the next year. I'm in an ADN course, so I'm half done and won't be able to practice below my license. Even with an RN, can I still be an EMT?
  7. by   Blueorchid
    Just something to add about being an EMT- some states don't grant you the right to work as an EMT upon passing the course through college or your local firehouse. I saw Maryland tossed out there, many states like to combine firefighter requirements and EMT-B requirements. Here if you pass an EMT-B course you have to be affiliated with an EMS service for a particular number of hours before you get your card. After that, you have to get through Firefighter I before you can consider working and getting paid as an EMT-B- unless you have that you're just a volunteer. If you're looking to make money its easier to get your CNA and work from there (provided Massachusetts has the same things Maryland does).

    However don't just overlook EMS. There is something to be said about applying nursing assessment skills in the prehospital field. Granted most of the time its a process of ABCs and major trauma but I definitely found my time in my classes and riding a medic helped me in my Health Assessment classes.

    Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
  8. by   beth66335
    The best thing to do would be to try and get a position in a hospital as a nurse extern. If your school doesn't offer this program, you may be able to go directly through the hospital and get a position as an SNA. That way you will still be getting experience like what you will get as an RN and it may help you get a foot in the door for a grad nurse job later. Good Luck!
  9. by   rockytopRN2b
    I've done both and would definitely recommend CNA, given the choice between the two. I got to do more medical things as an EMT, but I didn't feel like I did much in the way of actual nursing skills.
  10. by   ♪♫ in my ♥
    Since you're already through your first year of nursing school, CNA would be a waste of time. Surely you've already learned how to take vital signs, turn patients, feed patients, perform peri care, get them out of bed, etc.

    The EMT class will provide you with useful, practical skills that you can use in the rest of your life and it's a whole lot more interesting to boot. You'll get experience splinting and bandaging, incident command structure, hazmat, emergency assessment, etc. I've done both my CNA and my EMT... the latter was a much more valuable experience.
  11. by   motheringis4me
    I have done both and although EMS is much more exciting if you are fortunate to be employed on an emergency truck, CNA gives you more hands on experience in a clinical setting. (I do miss those crazy calls though. )
  12. by   MattiesMama
    Quote from ♪♫ in my ♥
    Since you're already through your first year of nursing school, CNA would be a waste of time. Surely you've already learned how to take vital signs, turn patients, feed patients, perform peri care, get them out of bed, etc.

    The EMT class will provide you with useful, practical skills that you can use in the rest of your life and it's a whole lot more interesting to boot. You'll get experience splinting and bandaging, incident command structure, hazmat, emergency assessment, etc. I've done both my CNA and my EMT... the latter was a much more valuable experience.
    The tasks you listed are CNA functions but that's not all the job entails...you also need to provide emotional support, do basic assessment (so that you can alert the nurse if there is a problem) and you are part of the overall nursing team. As a nursing student you can learn a lot just from having hands on interaction with the patients and by observing the nurses on the floor.

    OP-If you are going to do one or the other I would get your CNA and try to find a job in an acute care setting or in whatever area you want to specialize in once you become a nurse...that way you will get a lot of exposure to the different medical conditions you will encounter as an RN.
  13. by   MassADNstudent
    Thank you all for the replies! I think I will go the CNA route afterall.

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