Paramedic Prior to Nursing?

  1. Hi, everyone! My very first post here! I've recently been having second thoughts about nursing school because of cost. I don't get much in loans so it's difficult for me to pay for each semester. I was thinking about becoming a paramedic to get some experience in the medical field (and save up some money) then go into nursing. I love both career options, but nursing is number 1 for me. I live in Chicago so most nursing schools will cost about 13k a semester and more. I have all my Pre-reqs finished and I'm getting ready to transition. I wanted some of your opinions on whether this is a good idea or just stick to nursing? I have read some other posts about this but none were in a similar situation. Thanks for all your help!
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    About KiwiKatt, CNA

    Joined: Oct '17; Posts: 28; Likes: 7


  3. by   yodapup
    Are you already an EMT? I was going to apply to paramedic school because I loved emergency medicine. But I also knew I wanted to become a nurse one day. I was literally about to mail my application in when I thought, what am I doing? Why pay for paramedic school when I knew I didn't want to do that forever and I'll eventually have to pay for nursing school too. I say, if you're already an EMT and love emergency medicine and you see yourself working as a paramedic for quite a while, then it's worth it.
  4. by   KiwiKatt
    Thanks for your input! I'm not currently an EMT, but it takes less than a year to become a paramedic. I think if I choose being a paramedic that it would be a short term thing, maybe 5 years? Just to gain experience and savings.
  5. by   yodapup
    I strongly suggest becoming an EMT first, even if it's for 6 months. I know you get paid a lot less as an EMT but the experience you'll gain will be crucial. Paramedic school is tough even for people who have worked as an EMT for 5 years. As a paramedic, you'll be in charge of the scene. Everyone will look up to you for your decision on how to handle the patient. It's not just book smarts, you'll lack experience on how a scene is run, how to talk to the patient, what questions to ask, what route you're going to go down to treat the patient, call ins, hand offs, etc. I know you'll learn a lot of that in school but it's not a lot of time to absorb everything you'll need to know. I've had paramedic students on my rig (when I was working in EMS) and you can definitely tell who had experience as an EMT and who went from "zero to hero". They had the book smarts but were like a deer in headlights 90% of the time. It can be done but it will be very difficult. This is just my experience and advice.
  6. by   Argus333
    Absolutely do the EMT for sure. It's a good backup credential and looks good. Especially if you can do it while waiting to start RN school. It will get you disciplined in the basics of patient care and emergency medicine.

    As for EMT-P , If you are young and not desperate to make an RN salary right away, get your paramedic experience. You might stay there forever- it's a good backup in any case, it gives you some credibility in the nursing field when you are new, could get you into ER or ICU because it distinguishes you on your resume, and just plain gives you some skills especially starting IVs and assessing and dealing with patients and families.
    On the other hand, you are losing YEARS of higher salary, life might intervene in your ability to go to nursing school (kids etc) and you may not get the chance later- nursing school is MORE THAN FULL TIME and will take up all of your life- you can't expect to be in this position ever again for sure. So take that into account- people get pregant, people get married, car accidents change the game- life happens. Get all this education done if you can now, otherwise get what will guarantee you the standard of living you want/need.
  7. by   S7ud3n7_Nur53
    Can you take out private loans to make up the difference?
  8. by   PudgeMC
    Keep in mind that some of your science prereqs can expire. You don't want to have to take all of those labs over again.
  9. by   KiwiKatt
    I do have about 6 months before starting nursing school because the school has stopped taking applications for the next term so I could get my EMT-B done in 4 months and begin working before I even start nursing school. I'm not overly concerned about the salary or time it'll take. I'm still fairly young so I have some time to get all of this done. I am looking for these benefits of gaining experience, but I also don't want this experience to hinder me because I know that nurses works a differently than an EMT. I'm trying to get as much knowledge and experience as I can without it slowing me down too much.
  10. by   KiwiKatt
    In response to the classes expiring, they've changed the limit from 5 to 7 years before the expire so I have some time. My oldest class that the schools require was taken in 2016.
  11. by   KiwiKatt
    I can't take out any private loans because the ones I've seen require good credit scores or co-signers. I haven't built up my credit score and I don't have anyone willing to cosign a loan for me so I have to go off of scholarships and whatever public loans I can get. The public loans I can get are a max of 2500. The scholarships are more difficult to get because it's so competitive. The school I'd like to attend is private so the scholarships they offer are limited from 1-5 students so that leaves a lot of students out.
  12. by   KiwiKatt
    Yodapup, thanks for all your advice! The pay isn't too concerning for me, it's more the experience and benefits I get from the hands on work. You brought up some really good points that I wasn't thinking about before.
  13. by   Nursemedic74
    Good question!
    I have been a medic for 14 years working fire, flight and education. Remember, the two are apples and oranges. The patient care and bedside manner is a plus but they are two different disciplines.
    I had to unlearn years of experience to survive nursing school. The two aren't interchangeable by any means. Being a nurse is an entire different mind set and role of responsibilities. So, you have to ask your self ... are you a nurse or pre hospital care provider.