LP Research Resources August 23, 2014

Paramedic to RN with a Nursing Program

Paramedics and nurses are career fields that currently offer job security as well as a rewarding profession. A paramedic career to a registered nursing degree program allows licensed paramedics the option to apply their experience, skills and education towards an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Nursing. Many schools offer programs sometimes referred to as “Paramedic to RN Bridge Program.” The education and skills of a paramedic often allow the paramedic to advance into a second or third semester of a nursing program by completing “support” or “entrance” coursework which usually involves theory and clinical competency testing. Each nursing program is different, but often you can progress quickly and find acceptance into a nursing program an easy step due to your advanced training as a paramedic.

Program Prerequisites

There are certain requirements that a paramedic must meet before being accepted into the nursing program. These can include but are not limited to, one year experience as a paramedic, prerequisite courses such as anatomy, physiology and introductory nursing (often completed in EMT or paramedic training), advanced math, and other science courses.

Once accepted into the program the student will then complete support coursework. After support coursework is completed, the student will transition into the first two years of nursing courses. These basic courses and instruction will usually include many of the courses you completed during paramedic training but now to a greater degree of skill, more intense, and with the emphasis on nursing.  The paramedics to nursing courses comprise of such courses as: Pharmacology, Nutrition, Advanced Nursing Concepts, Microbiology, Healthcare Systems, Medical-Surgical Nursing, Children’s Health and Nursing Ethics.

The first-year courses also include maternal-newborn nursing, mental health, and pediatric nursing. Second-year courses delve into more complex concepts such as adult nursing and advanced nursing concepts. The second-year courses of  a paramedic training degree are more intense and complex and include the clinical/lab portion of the program.

Paramedic to BSN

Pursuing a paramedic-to-BSN nursing program will consist of more complex courses, some of which are related to those in the first two years of the nursing program. Patient Assessment, Medication Administration, Nursing Technologies, Family Healthcare, Research, and Leadership courses will be part of your training and education.

Just as EMS training provides the education needed to pass the NREMT, a nursing program will prepare a student to take the National Council Licensing Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Paramedics can significantly increase their earning potential and job opportunities by becoming nurses.

Upon completing the degree requirements, a graduate is ready to take the state licensure examination. Once that test is successfully completed, the graduate is then licensed and able to acquire a full-time nursing job in that state.

Paramedics usually consider nursing because they thoroughly enjoy helping others in a healthcare setting, but seek to advance themselves professionally and personally. In the field paramedics endure immense stress on a daily basis. As first responders, EMT paramedics are exposed to some of the most challenging settings imaginable. By transitioning into nursing, paramedics continue to provide the same rewarding assistance to patients, but often in a less stressful setting. A career as an RN offers the opportunity to earn more, as well as many options for career advancement. An RN can specialize in a field of their choice, and their options are limitless.

There are many reasons to seek a degree as a registered nurse today. The job outlook is excellent, potential earnings are optimal, and shift flexibility allows one to balance work and personal life adequately. Registered nursing jobs are forecasted to grow by 22 percent through 2018. This growth is due to innovations in patient care, and by the shift to preventative care. Additionally, the older population in need of healthcare is increasing quickly. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that roughly 581,500 new jobs are on the horizon. Seasoned RNs are retiring and there is a continual need for these retirees to be replaced by new RNs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics listed the median annual wage for registered nurses as $62,450 in 2008, though the earnings vary depending upon the region and state.

If you are looking for a career that enhances the high level of skill you possess as an EMT Paramedic, consider pursuing a nursing degree and become a Registered Nurse.