Whether to do Nurse Assistant or EMT training while doing pre-reqs?

  1. Hello all,

    I am planning on beginning my pre-req courses in January so that I can start an accelerated BSN program around Spring of 2013. I already have a bachelor's degree but I have never worked in health care. Also, my potential plan is to go back to graduate school for nurse anesthesia after I graduate and have a few years of ICU experience.

    I would like to get some experience in the field before starting my accelerated BSN program, but I am unsure what to do. For one I think it would be a great thing for me to do and another I know that the accelerated programs I will be applying to are pretty competitive and having some prior health care experience is a big plus.

    The two things I have been thinking about are doing nurse assistant or EMT training. I know nurse assistant is the most common choice for people who want to then go into nursing, but EMT sounds more appealing for me personally.

    Also, I want to do something that would potentially make me more prepared to be in an ICU after nursing school because that is my eventual goal.

    So what do you all think? Would one of these be a better choice based on my career goals? Are there any other options I am possibly overlooking?

    Thanks in advance for the help!
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    About runawayjim

    Joined: Nov '11; Posts: 2


  3. by   AaronsMommyxx
    If EMT is more appealing to you, I would go with that. But that program is longer than a nurse assistant program. My CNA program is only 13 weeks, I finish Dec 7 & then take the state test in January to become certified. I will then work while starting my pre-reqs in January as well. I am almost regretting not going into surgical tech training as I want to be a surgical nurse, but the CNA program was a semester shorter so that I could start working sooner, as I am a single mom. Write out your pros & cons & see what is best for you & go with it
  4. by   911brat
    yeah, one would think nurses' assistant would be the typical route, but I have done both, and I chose EMT; for past 15 yrs. The EMS field is awesome! I warn you though, it gets in your blood, heart & soul. The patient care, on scene's, the adrenalin, helping others at there worst times, along with crazy long hours, eat when you can and physically demanding. As well as emotional and psychological, can you deal with traumatic injuries, mci's, death on a daily, hourly basis? A lot depends on your location city vs rural, your population on how busy the ems/911 system is in your city. Mine averages (600-800) 911 calls in 24 shift. No posting on corners, or hanging at stations, for us. So that's my thoughts and opinion. I know nurse assist., is just as awesome just with different duties/experience. Have fun deciding and learning.
  5. by   Cuddleswithpuddles
    Another option would be to become a monitor technician. They are at the desk of nursing stations watching the heart monitors and alerting nurses of any changes. In the Los Angeles area, the minimum requirements include taking a EKG course and some experience as a unit secretary or similar position. I bet a medical terminology course will help too. Being a monitor technician can help you get into an ICU or CCU. You will not be directly providing patient care but you will be very close to the action and will have plenty of opportunities to network.

    Good luck!
  6. by   runawayjim
    Thanks for the responses everyone, I really appreciate it. Yeah AaronsMommy I also thought about doing surgical tech but the program is just too long for me.

    911brat, yeah I figured EMS would definitely be pretty intense. I'll be living in a metro area so there should be plenty going on there as well. Good to know you like it so much.

    Cuddles, I never really thought about doing monitor tech at all. I'll definitely look into that as well. Thanks for the suggestion.

    Keep 'em coming everyone!
  7. by   911brat
    I agree to the monitor tech as well. It's a quick course, great pay and experience with patients, staff and the medical field. It's also possible to do many of these options; 6 week course (EKG); 6 month EMT course. Then you would have multiple certs. Also, I would start with CPR/AED for Healthcare Providers and First Aid certificates. Have fun
  8. by   akulahawkRN
    Just start with the HCP CPR+AED card, then look at monitor tech and EMT. One problem with EMT is that if you get hired, you'll work some really odd hours. You may not have a good chance to study. As a monitor tech, you'll at least have some hands-on experience, and you'll spend more time around the providers you'll eventually be, but I doubt you'll have much time for actual studying.

    If you go EMT though, you'll gain some experience doing some hands-on assessments and going through a diagnostic process to determine what needs to be done. CNA will give you some more nursing specific skills that you'll get used to doing and won't have to worry about that stuff while in school, leaving you to concentrate on the knowledge and skills you'll need to learn.

    You really do have a lot of options available to you, check them out and pick one or two and go for it.
  9. by   CelesteR903
    Both sound like a good option. You might also consider the work schedules of both professions in your area. I'm working as a CNA while doing my pre reqs. I'm currently working a 4 day on 2 day off scheduled 2-10pm. This allows me all morning to go to class. Look into both and see what will best suit your needs.
  10. by   CNA1991
    I would recommend CNA, because the training is shorter and you can enter the healthcare field faster and get more experience in less time. It's not as bad as it sounds once you get into the swing of things, and it prepares you for nursing really well from what I hear. Before I became a CNA, many nurses told me that would be the best option to do to make sure nursing is right for me. Good luck!
  11. by   ImThatGuy
    You could still get a job as an ER tech or patient care technician with the EMT training. You learn vitals, basic assessment, and CPR which are the only "skills" any of those tech positions perform. A CNA doesn't really do a lot besides wash, move, feed, and take vitals.

    I encourage you to do what's most marketable for you, and that may be CNA training, but the EMT will be different in that you'll be prepared with a different perspective than nursing school offers. In EMT school you put yourself first. In nursing school you put the patient first. In EMT school you're prepared to act independently (generally speaking). In nursing school you're prepared to act cooperatively (generally speaking). Nursing school, at least my BSN/RN program, does a poor job of teaching students what to do in an emergency threatening life or limb. EMS exists solely for that purpose. Can both do both? Yes, they can both do them well, but starting out one is better training for their specific field than the other. Who knows? Later, after you've obtained your RN credentials you might want to become a paramedic as well and those two together could open another door for you.

    If you "think" EMT training is more geared for you than CNA training then you're probably right.

    ICU nurses generally perform "total care" by themselves. At least in my region there are no CNAs or techs in critical care settings. Being a CNA for a while could get you used to that.
  12. by   EMT89
    If you join a squad you get a lot of practice with assessment. If you're more on the shy side go for that (I was super shy before it). I am also getting my CNA in the spring. To get the type of job where I eventually want to work requires the Nursing Assistant I class and EMT-B.