transition from medic to rn


  • Has 6 years experience.

I am a paramedic/firefighter getting prepared for the medic to rn bridge through mesa community college. i am trying to prep as much as i can before we jump into block 3 of nursing. everyone keeps saying nursing is very different and is sometimes very hard for paramedics to grasp and succeed with. can someone elaborate??? should i begin studying nclex prep books to get into the nursing mentality or is there nursing golden rule??? Thanks!clay


1,231 Posts

Specializes in ER/Tele, Med-Surg, Faculty, Urgent Care. Has 39 years experience.

Hi, I am not a paramedic, do have ER background and all techs at that ER had to be Emt's both Basic/intermediate and our charge RN had been paramedic first. IMO, first responders/EMT-P are dealing with facts/concrete issues in the field. In nursing, there are more "abstract" concepts that you wil be taught, possibly nursing diagnosis may be difficult for those that have been in your area of expertise. I have had former EMT's say that although they knew how to take BP or listen to a chest, they had nto been taught the more thorough heart sounds/murmurs etc. or korokoff sounds to which I would reply, yeah but if you are stablizing to transport, you aren't going to try to figure out if its a systolic or diastolic murmur, heck you might even be able to hear a murmur in a noisy environment such as back of ambulance!! Keep an open mind. I think you have alot to offer the nursing profession with your background.

Specializes in ER, IICU, PCU, PACU, EMS. Has 17 years experience.

ClayH, I was a firefighter/paramedic prior to becoming a RN.

Yes, there is a different mode of thinking with nursing. I think this is what people are referring to when they say it is different than being a paramedic. Paramedics learn the medical model. The nursing model deals with therapeutic communication and issues dealing with family, etc. This was paradigm shift that I had some trouble with, but not so much difficulty that I could not become a nurse. You also have to think in long term consequences to simple things, for example, positioning the head of the bed in certain patients. These things can be learned. We just don't do them in paramedicine.

You will learn thorough assessments that we could not do in the field because of time and noise. However, the skills you have as a paramedic are valuable as a nurse. You have a "leg up" so to speak because you should already know the pathophysiology behind many diseases/ medical conditions and how to ask pertinent questions in a verbal assessment. You'll be far ahead of those students with no medical experience at all.

I think you'll do well. If you have any questions, you can always PM me.

Best of luck to you!


71 Posts

Has 6 years experience.

Thanks Sailornurse! You made a good point about the heart sounds and such. We briefly brushed over it in school and went straight to lung sounds and more relevant skills for EMS so those other things got brushed aside. so it's more of learning and utilizing the other aspects of emergency and non emergency conditions. That makes sense and hadn't thought of it in that way.



71 Posts

Has 6 years experience.

Thanks Medic2RN, it's encouraging to hear you have succeeded in nursing and have been able to be open minded in your practice of medicine. I will really have to work to begin thinking as you said in the long term care and benefits not just stabilization from field to ER and then the paramedics job is done. Im really excited to be able to continue my education and take it in a different direction.

Are you still working as a FF for are you a full time RN? It may be hard giving up the firefighter life to go RN. It has benefits and drawbacks