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What is the ideal steps to become a Trauma Nurse?

by RyanR RyanR (New) New

Im looking towards my future and want to get things straight. I have been trying to come up with these steps on my own but have been getting alot of contradicting infomration. Im not sure where to start if its looking into paramedic training? or going straight to either a two year or four year for genral nursing? and on average how much time and money will be needed from start of my education until finish. Any input would be greatly appreciated

Altra, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency & Trauma/Adult ICU.

RyanR, you'll want to clarify in your own mind what you mean by "trauma nursing". In your post you mention two different fields -- nursing and paramedicine.

Being a paramedic means providing emergency medical treatment in the field, and transporting to the hospital. In my region it most commonly requires an associates degree, though I know many medics who have 4-year degrees and some from certificate programs that are 8 or 9 months long. In rural areas EMS is typically strongly associated with the fire department; in more urban areas the two tend to be more separate.

Care of trauma patients at the hospital begins in the ER, and may continue to an inpatient unit. So you might explore ER nursing, nursing in medical-surgical-orthopedic-neuro units, and the trauma ICU environment.

There are many associate degree programs in nursing, and diploma programs in a few areas of the country. But if you have the ability to go to school full-time without other responsibilities I strong encourage you to complete a bachelors degree (4 years).

I hope this information starts to focus your exploration a bit.

Ruas61, BSN, RN

Specializes in MDS/ UR. Has 39 years experience.

Be very educated about what how your schooling is financed and what loans you take out. Consider what your monthly costs will be for them. Also, you may fall in love without another speciality along the way. Don't lock yourself in.


Specializes in ER. Has 5 years experience.

There is a search box at top right. Someone comes on here and asks this question at least once every three months. Try searching to see if you find information you are looking for,

You're getting conflicting info because there really isn't 1 approved path to become a trauma nurse....and a trauma nurse can be different things in different hospitals and regions. I've worked in hospitals where everyone in the ER rotated through the trauma bay and hospitals where there is a core trauma team in the ER that you apply directly too. I've worked in hospitals that have specialty trauma ICUs and step down floors and hospitals where traumas go to general ICU/step down/med surg. So you could be an RN in a level 1 trauma center and see plenty of trauma along with medical cases.....or an RN in a level 1 trauma center and see only traumas or no traumas.

Being a trauma nurse (however you decide that is) is about your after school work and training so is a separate issue from the best way to become an RN (and again, multiple paths with different ideals for different situations). The market for new grads is tight so depending on how far away from nursing school you are, I'd recommend a BSN first BUT the cheapest way you can get it done. If you're in the very early stages if considering nursing school, who knows what the job market will look like when you graduate: places that are BSN only now might be opening their arms to ADN and diploma prepared nurses again. Or not.