RN to Paramedic Bridge Course

Specialties Flight


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40 Posts

Specializes in Respiratory, ER, PFT and asthma.

I noticed a few people posting,,,,that made ref: to paramedics not making a decent wage,,,,(and therefore being inferior)


I make $24.60/hr,,,and 1 1/5 after 40 hrs/wk,,1 1/5 Educ. , 2x mandatory hrs.


I would never say that paramedics are inferior to RNs...they are simply different, apples and oranges. Of course they overlap in many areas, mostly in the area of flight and transport.

Your wages, however, show that you are indeed viewed as inferior by those who pay your salary. You've been at it for 26 years and are surely an expert at what you do, yet only make $24.60, while I've only been an RN for 1.5 years and make more than you do. An RN where I work with your experience would be making close to $40/hour. Sorry, but $24.60/hr for someone with your level of skill and experience isn't enough, in my opinion. The sad part is that it's pretty good for a medic.

Ones salary is largely based on location when it comes to health care. In and around my town, my credential pays $15.24 to $16.00 (starting) while the hospitals two hours up the highway (in the same state) the same credential pays $21.00 to $26.00. You have to consider that an average apartment here is $350.00 and up there $700 you can see why there is a difference. So comparing ones salary from one part of the US to another is like the apples and oranges thing. By the way, here EMTs make about $6.00 an hour and medics make about $9.00 and hour or $18,000 per year.


27 Posts

i have not real idea but maybe the reason it might take longer to bridge from paramedic to rn vs the other way around is that for acceptance into adn nursing schools chemistry and microbiology, nutrition chemistry is all required but the emt-p program does not require these (as well as the other gen ed. courses). The other sciences both groups take the same prerequesite courses. This is at least true in my area. So maybe the rational is that it shouldn't take RN's long to learn new procedures because they have a more extensive background education and should know the rational behind it? ( i have NO idea if this is true or not am just guessing what the reasons could be.) 2 weeks seems really short though to get comfortable with new procedures though, not to mention the fact that you will be doing a lot of your work in a fast moving vehicle!

As an RRT/RN, I am a product of my local community college's first Paramedic/RRT to ADN bridge program. The paramedics that I went to school with all did very well (and all have passed NCLEX), but they had to learn to think like a nurse instead of a paramedic (as did I as a therapist). Paramedics are taught using a medical model from the way it was explained to us, unlike nursing, where we use the nursing process. The medics had a little trouble with this transition. They are used to putting the tube in, starting the IV, giving the meds, etc using protocols instead of waiting for docotor so and so to give the orders. My two cent...

Also, I have been told that here in Florida, if you want to transition from RN to Paramedic, you can take a basic emt course and challenge paramedic state boards. Anyone have thoughts on that? :coollook:


27 Posts

I am an RRT EMT-B with ACLS. I would like to see several bridge courses like RRT to EMT-P, RN to EMT-P, EMT-P to RN just to name a few.

I agree this is a great thought, however, the downside is probably funding these programs, and having enough people interested in taking the classes. My RRT/Paramedic bridge started out with 10 people (in Central FL). Eight of those people commuted from N. FL and two quit...They didn't have that program avail this fall because of lack of interest.

Crieghton University in Neb. has had a INTENSIVE six(or 8)-week program in the past, you may check with them. I believe it is a very worthwhile combination. The flight program I work for(Portneuf LifeFlight, Pocatello, ID.) encourages all RN's to be cross-trained as paramedics. It makes staffing easier and a stronger program. I've done it backwards. I have been a paramedic for 17 years and just finished the RN program. I also teach in a community college and we are researching the idea of a RN to Paramedic bridge program.

Will a paramedic's license transfer across state lines?


74 Posts

As long as you pass the National Registry, you should be good to go. Some states require that you take a state test as well.

Will a paramedic's license transfer across state lines?


3 Posts

Program in Ohio I am a paramedic in Ohio, and yes there is a bridge program in Ohio. Get in touch with Columbus, Ohio in the government area of Ohio and see if that helps.

Our flight program requires all transport nurses to get EMT-P cert. In Ohio there is a bridge course from RN to Medic, the class was approx 2 months long.


47 Posts

sad to see that a registered nurse can't spell...

it's PARAMEDIC...with a D not a T.

on that note, some of us diehard paramedics-turned-RNs still work in the field for one reason or another. i do it for extra money, to maintain my medical command so i can fly someday soon, and for the sheer FUN of being out in the world instead of stuck in the ED.

i also like to volunteer with my fire department when i'm home and available. it's a great way to give back to your community. there doesn't necessarily have to be a whopping monetary reward for ALL our behaviour. if that were true i'd be going to anesthesia school instead of shooting for our helicopter program.

just my 2 pennies...worth just that, i'm sure


Hey, I know people with Phd's that can't spell. ....deal with it!


13 Posts

QUOTE: "The skills to perform the procedures you mentioned above can easily be taught in a two week course. In fact, you could probably teach 6th graders to do these things."

Not likely. Advanced airway management, for one, is not as easy as you think...how many times have seen experienced ED docs have a hard time getting a tube in a well lit ED with lots of help, lots of room, the patient in the perfect position, and everything neatly organized around them? Now have them try it in a dark muddy ditch or in the back of a noisy, swaying helicopter, or in the bright sunlight. Now have a nurse with little or no advanced airway expereince try. It is an art form that you will master only with LOTS of practice, not in two weeks.

QUOTE: "The real skill comes not in performing the procedure, but knowing WHEN to perform it."

Actually, its knowing WHEN NOT to do these things that is important. There is a difference...

QUOTE: I believe that working 2 years in a busy ICU provides you with plenty of experience and insight to be a fully qualified paramedic after completion of a bridge course.

QUOTE: "I would put money on the grads from an RN-EMT-P bridge course having better skills and knowledge than those from a traditional EMT-P course any day."

On what basis do you make these claims? ICU experience is great; a good ICU nurse knows at least as much about general clinical issues than ANY paramedic. But the worlds are SO VERY different...to think that being an ICU nurse will instantly make you a great paramedic, is like thinking that being a good runner means you must swim really well, too. They are both athletic activities, but too different to compare directly. ED nursing maybe, but not ICU nursing.

QUOTE: "In another note, does anybody know of any other RN-paramedic courses besides Creighton? That's the only one I could find."

There are lots of them. Look harder.

Some nurses do well in this type of bridge program, many do not. Attitude is way more important than where you've worked for the past few years.

Going into a program like this with the attitude that "I'm a great nurse, therefore I will be a great paramedic" is almost guaranteeing you will fail. I mean, you'll probably get through the course just fine, but you will not have the respect of you peers - whose guidance you will need - and probably not that of your med control docs. You must be more professional and humble than that, no matter what your background.

CraigB-RN, MSN, RN

1,224 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care, Emergency, Education, Informatics.

The ego's in medicine always amaze me. Having been both Paramedic and Nurse, and having tought both. I can tell you the differences are not that great.

To all you Paramedics out there, I hate to tell you this, but in reality, putting a nurse in the back of the ambulance is no different than a nurse moving from a med/surg floor to an ICU. No they can't do it all the day they start, but within a few months, there is nothing the medic can do that that nurse can't learn.

Of course it goes the other way also. Given a efew months, after the asademic part of a nursing program (and it doesn't matter if the medic gets it traditionally or online) the medic will be indistiguashable from some one who started nursing school right out of high school.

Now as for attitide, medics are generally more confident, even when they have no clue what is going on. (that's a job requirment in some places) and that does show.

The other intagable factors in this who argument is that no two service area's are alike. A medic working in a rural, 1-2 call a day service isn't going to have the same background as one who works in a busy service with broad protocals. This goes the same for the nurse. If they work in a slow 4 bed ICU they aren't going to have the same luck as one who has spent a couple of years in a SICU in a place like Hopkins. But that is going to depend on the person.

In no case is the person who is right out of school ready to be on their own. The last place I worked as a medic, I was the training officer, it took at least 6 months to a year before the medic was ready to be on their own. Guess what it's the same for nurses in ICU's.

To those of you nurses who want to go out and become medics. Go for it. Remember that you can't be doing both at the same time. You are either a Medic or a Nurse. Think about why you want to become a medic. Some of he best flight nurses I've ever worked with over the years were never medics.

Most important! Don't let any of the ego's around you, stop you from doing something. Because in most cases it is just ego.


13 Posts

QUOTE: "The ego's in medicine always amaze me".

Me too. I dont know how on earth someone could think that, just because they have a couple years experience in ICU nursing, they are prepared to function as a fully qualified paramedic the day they finish their two week bridge course. Asinine.

When I was a new nurse it NEVER crossed my mind that I was a "fully qualified ICU nurse" the day I graduated school, even though I had been a paramedic for 6 years and had been doing critical care transport (with a-lines, swans, vents, etc) for 4 years. What do you think the hospital staff would have thought of me if I gave that impression and had that attitude? Thats the same thing Mr. ICU Nurse will get from his partners and medical director if he doesn't show some humility when he's a new paramedic. And that doesn't even touch on all the trouble a new paramedic will get their patients into if they don't manage things correctly. An ambulance or a helicopter is not an ICU.

QUOTE: "Having been both Paramedic and Nurse, and having tought both. I can tell you the differences are not that great."

I am both as well (FT as a flight paramedic/nurse and part time as an ICU and ED nurse) and I disagree that the differences are few. There is alot of overlap in the knowledge base and skill set, but there are alot of differences too. Most of the differences are ones of approach and philosophy, but they are real factors.

Some skills, such as performing an RSI and successfuly manageing a truly difficult airway, takes lots and lots of preparation and practice, along with the right mindset and attitude. This is NOT stuff you can teach to sixth graders. This is not stuff you can teach anyone in two weeks.

I've been involved in training alot of new flight nurses, and of course most of them adapted just fine to the prehospital role, whether they became paramedics or not. But I dont think I've ever worked with a flight nurse who didn't say something to the effect of, "when i worked in the unit I had no idea how much paramedics know and do", and also that they've "learned so much from my paramedic partners" since they started flying. Most have also said that they felt totally in over their heads when they first started picking up sick patients from scene calls, even though they were very experienced and very competent in the hospital setting. This would not have been much different even if they had taken the Creighton program right before starting with us, I assure you.

There's no doubt in my mind that any good nurse can fairly easily learn to be a good paramedic - no doubt at all. And I encourage any nurse who wants to take their role as a paramedic seriously, to go ahead and do it. We need more good people in EMS and critical care transport just like nursing needs more good people.

But for anyone who thinks that being a nurse makes you already qualified to work as a paramedic, you've got a rude awakening coming. If you dont believe me, give it a try your way....

CraigB-RN, MSN, RN

1,224 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care, Emergency, Education, Informatics.

I didn't mean to imply that it was easy. But having helped many nurses go throught he transistion over the past 25 year, Making a nurse a good prehosptial provider is no different than making a good SICU nurse. It's the same process, the only difference is that the ICU room is smaller and more cramped.

Some can do it and some can't. No training program, Paramedic or Nurse produces a person who is safe out on the streets by themselves the day they graduate. It takes more than 2 weeks it takes more than 6 months. That is why services have paramedic supervisors to be availble to mentor people.

And I will stand on my statement that there are fewer differences than both sides believe there is. It's alway funny to hear the paramedics saying that nurses couldn't do what I do, but they want to be able to challenge part if not all of the basic nursing education.

It all boils down to training. If a nurse can get the "appropriate" for them training OJT in the back of an ambulance or helicopter, that's fine. As long as it's cometency based.

But I do agree just because you'r a nurse doesn't make you a paramedic, just like an OB nurse couldn't float to the ER or ICU or even Oncology.


58 Posts


If you read my post more carefully, I think you'll notice that I never claimed that an RN fresh out of a 2 week medic course was "proficent". In fact, I think they would have a lot to learn. The point I was trying to make is that they're just as qualified, and perhaps more so, than a EMT-P new grad.

Should I complete my EMT-P via a 2 week course, I will have the utmost humility and will readily bow down to any medic with experience. I won't, however, listen to anyone tell me that I'm not qualified to be a medic with only a 2 week course. I'm not saying I'll be an expert, but simply qualified. Obviously, NREMT sides with me.

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