Was I told wrong information?

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I'm a first year Pre-Nursing student and I am just now settling on the path I would like to go down. While I am working part-time as a waitress, we have a lot of firemen/paramedics/police etc come in and eat.

At one point, I was chatting up a couple of EMT/Paramedics(can't remember which) and asking them questions for guidance because I prefer a fast-paced job. One said that I could cross train and test to become a paramedic after I receive my RN license and work part-time ER nurse, part-time paramedic.

Is this true? It seems like the dream job for me to be able to switch from ER nurse to paramedic depending on which one is needed. I understand that a hospital and first-response team do not go hand in hand but I figured I might as well ask.

The only reason I am studying nursing and not becoming solely a paramedic is because of the poor pay.

What are my options as far as working a "happy medium" go?

JBudd, MSN

1 Article; 3,836 Posts

Specializes in Trauma, Teaching. Has 42 years experience.

Paramedics are great, but nursing and EMS are different. Different focus, different scopes. Your RN is held to be a higher degree even though our Paramedics have at least Assoc. degrees, and you would be held to the standard of an RN even in the field.

Have you considered working an ER long enough to get thoroughly experienced, and then applying to become a flight nurse? Travel nursing is also a way to get a variety of experiences. ERs are usually pretty fast paced as well, with a patient load of far more than the one or two the EMS folks concentrate on. More complex simply because of that.

ERs do have a little downtime, but not often.

MassED, BSN, RN

1 Article; 2,636 Posts

Specializes in ER. Has 15 years experience.
I'm a first year Pre-Nursing student and I am just now settling on the path I would like to go down. While I am working part-time as a waitress, we have a lot of firemen/paramedics/police etc come in and eat.

At one point, I was chatting up a couple of EMT/Paramedics(can't remember which) and asking them questions for guidance because I prefer a fast-paced job. One said that I could cross train and test to become a paramedic after I receive my RN license and work part-time ER nurse, part-time paramedic.

Is this true? It seems like the dream job for me to be able to switch from ER nurse to paramedic depending on which one is needed. I understand that a hospital and first-response team do not go hand in hand but I figured I might as well ask.

The only reason I am studying nursing and not becoming solely a paramedic is because of the poor pay.

What are my options as far as working a "happy medium" go?

is Science your thing? Are you interesting in nursing? I'd look into what you want to do with your life and less interviewing what EMT's and medics or firefighters think you should do about nursing/medic. Are you doing pre-req's for nursing? I would choose one route or the other, personally. Each would require its own path and focus.
Specializes in ED. Has 13 years experience.

At one point, I was chatting up a couple of EMT/Paramedics(can't remember which) and asking them questions for guidance because I prefer a fast-paced job. One said that I could cross train and test to become a paramedic after I receive my RN license and work part-time ER nurse, part-time paramedic.

Is this true? It seems like the dream job for me to be able to switch from ER nurse to paramedic depending on which one is needed. I understand that a hospital and first-response team do not go hand in hand but I figured I might as well ask.

The only reason I am studying nursing and not becoming solely a paramedic is because of the poor pay.

What are my options as far as working a "happy medium" go?

I think what *he might have meant was that you could work as a nurse one day and a medic on another day, not doing both in the same facility.

Most facilities only allow you to work at your highest level of qualification while working in that facility which most RNs certifications are "higher" than a medic's.

i.e.: if a nurse practitioner is employed by the CV surgeons he/she cannot go work part-time as an RN in dialysis in the same hospital. The NP could go work in a plastic surgeon's office and then go to work PRN as an RN in dialysis as long as the two facilities are not affiliated. clear as mud?

In some cases, medics are afforded more autonomy outside of a facility and employed by an EMS company than working in a hospital. It all depends on the rules of the facility and of that state.

In most areas, RN make more money than medics do.

In my experience, servers make very good ER nurses. I was a waitress/bartender for years while earning my first degree (not nursing) and I thrived on that high-pressure, fast paced work environment.

Most days the ER is incredibly busy and chaotic and physical and it is what I clock in for every day. It certainly is not for everyone. A lot of people *think* they want fast paced but they have NO idea what fast paced AND critical really entails!

I'd suggest going to shadow a medic and a nurse for a 2-3 shifts each if you can.

I should also mention that some schools are now offering medic to RN programs. I don't think a lot of those nurses are doing very well on board exams but it is another avenue to get your RN.

ER.nurse.81

1 Post

Has 7 years experience.

After you become an RN and work for awhile you can become a PHRN (prehospital RN). It's a license/certification with lots of con-Ed hours, but you can with that essentially work like a paramedic on an ambulance.

Specializes in Critical care.

There are nurses on AN that say they are actively working different jobs as both medics and RNs.

Yes, you could work for both. I think every state is differen't. In my state you can challenge the state paramedic exam after you have worked as an RN and have obtained your EMT-B certification (which is one semester). I went to EMT school the summer between my second and third semesters of nursing school with the intentions of possibly doing this and because I wanted the experience. There are also a coupld RN's in my ER who have their firefighter/paramedic certs and work both. Several nurses I work with in the ER work on the side for flight nursing companies and actually are able to do the same things as a medic with an RN license with the company (intubate, decompress, etc) because they are trained on it within the company.

Specializes in emergency/ED. Has 3 years experience.

As a RN and a paramedic, I think I can clarify a few things.

I was a paramedic before I was a RN. In the Commonwealth of Virginia, there are RN-to-paramedic bridge programs. Not a whole lot of them exist though. VCU offers one, in person, one day a week for 16 months. You must have your EMT-B beforehand for at least a year with pre-hospital experience. On the flip side, Virginia's Board of Nursing has basically eradicated paramedic-to-RN bridge programs.

I work currently as a full-time ER RN. I volunteer as a firefighter/paramedic on an ALS ambulance in the rural county I reside in usually one day a week (scheduled), with responding to calls on my days off. I love it. It's the best of both worlds for me. But I was a paid firefighter/paramedic for 4 years before I pursued my ADN. I've been in EMS for 11 years.

I recommend getting your EMT-B and finding an EMS agency to ride with. It's generally a 4 to 6 month program, depending on where you take it. From there, you can work as an ED tech with your EMT-B. This is a great way to see if you want to continue into nursing. I picked up a part-time ED tech position while I was working full time for a fire department, and found that I wanted to pursue my RN.

You don't want to waste two years (or four years) of your life pursuing your nursing degree and then discover you absolutely hate nursing, wishing you had instead obtained your paramedic certification. And while it is true that nursing pays more than EMS, truly nothing trumps being satisfied with your job. Money isn't everything.

I will never regret the path my paramedic has taken me into nursing. Being a paramedic, I developed critical thinking skills and intuition long before I obtained my RN. I recently was hired by one of the most prestigious critical-care transport/flight programs on the East Coast with only 2.5 years of nursing experience, all ER. Why? Because I have been a paramedic for over 6 years.