If you could go back to the start of your EMS career and give yourself advice, what would it be?

rescue1

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There are places where you can have a good job with room for advancement as a single role medic. There are, however, many many many more places where this is not the case. I would also argue that everywhere I've worked the salary for nurses has been higher, sometimes hilariously higher. It's also much easier to go from RN-->medic than vise versa--Creighton University holds a 2 week course that would let an RN take their NREMT-P at completion. Nursing also offers significantly more career flexibility if you decide to leave direct patient care or find EMS too physically demanding. It is, for better or worse, an objectively better license to have from a career standpoint.

I'm not saying that people who become medics are wrong, or dumb, or anything like that, but I totally get why we tell new EMTs to get their RN over their medic.
 

VentMonkey

Ajaw
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I totally get why we tell new EMTs to get their RN over their medic.
I agree, and I tell every EMT/ EMT student that comes to the airport for a tour this same exact thing.

I don’t know how often it sinks if, especially when being they’re fed the nauseatingly tiresome lines EMS offers by their instructors. And, to be fair if I could smack the 22-year old me around with some sense...

All that said, no desire to redo my “medical career”. But, ya, nursing is by far a career choice. Being a career paramedic is also a...choice.
 

Tigger

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I've been a medic for three years. I make about 5-7k less than an ED nurse of similar experience. I'm on a better schedule (for me at least) with much better benefits and a pension based retirement. My day to day is realistically less tiring than that of our ED nursing compatriots. The FD has management that takes care of us and is not an enourmous healthcare corporation.

I do not tell new folks to consider nursing. I think with the right mindset and a few years of grinding (much like nursing), being in a "good spot" as a medic is very obtainable. I also feel like it's a bit disingenuous to be interacting with the future of our profession and telling them to find another career.
 

StCEMT

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I've been a medic for three years. I make about 5-7k less than an ED nurse of similar experience. I'm on a better schedule (for me at least) with much better benefits and a pension based retirement. My day to day is realistically less tiring than that of our ED nursing compatriots. The FD has management that takes care of us and is not an enourmous healthcare corporation.

I do not tell new folks to consider nursing. I think with the right mindset and a few years of grinding (much like nursing), being in a "good spot" as a medic is very obtainable. I also feel like it's a bit disingenuous to be interacting with the future of our profession and telling them to find another career.
I don't think it is necessarily that they need to find a new career as much as it is about diversifying themselves. Keep doors open and have the ability to utilize them when they do.

I absolutely love my job. I am still excited to go to work even after years of doing this. However, if I could wave a wand and have RN in my pocket I absolutely would. That Creighton course essentially gives people the ability to do that, but the other way around. RN to P is a much simpler transition academically than P to RN.

If I could reorganize how mine went, I would love to have done RN, challenge the P, work as a full time medic and float around an ICU part time while I build a solid CCT resume. That isn't to discourage people from this field, just to allow them flexibility and adaptability to life.
 

VentMonkey

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I do not tell new folks to consider nursing. I think with the right mindset and a few years of grinding (much like nursing), being in a "good spot" as a medic is very obtainable. I also feel like it's a bit disingenuous to be interacting with the future of our profession and telling them to find another career.
Hardly. My bottom line with all of them is higher education, one way or another.

But considering a lot of them have yet to take themselves seriously, and again—to no fault of their own—are often fed lies about this job, I feel it’s a disservice not to point out the endless other options that this field opens doors to.

I also don’t disagree that you can make this job a career if you find the right setup. I just don’t know of many around me that have a 3-5 year reward system without sacrifices many (most) aren’t willing to make.
 

Tigger

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I guess I've never come across another career (not just a job) where when asked for advice, it seems the default line is "do something else." Yes, there are infinite options out there. But if someone comes to me and says "I want to be paramedic" I'm not immediately like "you should be a nurse." Which of course is not how most of these conversations go down. But if you've been reading these types of threads for years, you might think differently.

It's tough to say we want to improve EMS when we also do not do a great job encouraging people to get involved.
 

Peak

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To be fair I think that a large number of us who went from EMS into nursing do still care about EMS and advancing the field.

I was recently offered a flight job that I turned down because I like taking care of my kids in the hospital much more. It isn't that I don't like EMS but rather that I've come to enjoy many aspects of what I do now so much more.

I think a lot of medics who end up working in the ED, ICU, PICU, cardiac units, and so on really work well in that care model. I enjoy seeking my kids when they are born and throughout their stay and their lives as they recover from their illness and thrive. I think a lot of the adult side nurses enjoy being able to get more into the disease process and longer term management rather than the minutes or hours.

I've also known some medics who go to nursing school who just don't vibe with the nursing or hospital care models and go back to the field. I've known nurses who go to medic school, end up working exclusively prehospital, or challenge the PHRN (or something similar) since they enjoy the prehospital environment more.

I still do some prehospital stuff and quite a bit of EMS education and outreach. I'm all about advancing EMS care, especially considering how different the care is from our urban 911 3rd service compared to some of the low volume rural services. That 3rd service does a ton of internal education and training that I don't think is unreasonable to provide to all medics (and @Tigger's former full time job did the same thing in a largely rural service). I do find in disappointing how we are okay with the relatively low education level for entry is compared to other first world countries, especially given how high our bar is for nursing and medicine.
 

Tigger

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To be clear, I am not implying that you can't still like EMS yet go into a career path.

But it bothers be that when someone posts "hey what would you differently in your EMS career?" and I immediately hear "go to nursing school." Being a paramedic can indeed provide opportunities that nursing cannot and it just seems sad to me that we aren't even able to promote our career with much degree of enthusiasm. If your advice to new folks in EMS is to get out, perhaps (if you are still in EMS), maybe you should also follow it?
 

VentMonkey

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I think where I see the problem is what’s being projected versus what’s reality- 2 completely different things.

How many instructors do you know of enthusiastically implying the endless options you have as a paramedic aside from roles that aren’t in other branches of public service or medicine?

I mean I enjoy what I do, and often will tell those who ask how I got to where I am how I accomplished it, and if they so choose, how they can too.

But if we’re being honest, being a paramedic really does leave you with typically a handful of options aside from ones most have no intentions or interests in becoming. If you’re ok with this, then really that’s all that should matter.

Does it mean one should exit this field? No, it just means I’m not going to fool myself or anyone else who asks me. Does it mean they’re going to follow the advice to a tee? I’d hope not. Individuality should count for something.

Those that are destined to change a certain career field for the better are a select few. I’ve said it again, my hat goes off to them because that is no longer I. But, again, that also does not mean that I can serve no purpose as a provider.
 

CANMAN

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I can’t understand people who say this.

I’ve never had an issue finding a place where I could advance, make more than enough money to live very comfortably and practice at a level where I felt like I didn’t have abroad enough scope.

Does that make me an oddity? I guess if it was easy, everyone would do it.
Agree 110%. Out of 5 friends who all bailed on being a medic and went to nursing school, only one of them currently remains in the nursing world. They're two very different animals and I think it's difficult to make the transition to being a nurse for a lot of people who enjoy EMS. I think this is even harder to do for experienced medics. There is also not enough money in the world for me to tolerate working in an ICU with a bunch of new grad BSN's who think they have mastered critical care medicine in a year on the unit and don't know what they don't know. This attitude is rampant in the hospital setting now a days and I can't stand it. Meh guess I'm also getting old.

I would say my advice would be:
-Take good care of your back and workout to keep yourself in top shape
-Finish the degree, just do it. It doesn't get easier as you get older
-Don't live beyond your means and count on overtime or multiple jobs
-Don't tolerate being disrespected by other healthcare workers and stand up for yourself in a professional way when warranted
-Ears and eyes open early on in your career, ask questions, focus on learning and becoming a clinically strong provider before focusing on preaching your knowledge and experience. Many people put the cart before the horse in this department.
 

Peak

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Agree 110%. Out of 5 friends who all bailed on being a medic and went to nursing school, only one of them currently remains in the nursing world. They're two very different animals and I think it's difficult to make the transition to being a nurse for a lot of people who enjoy EMS. I think this is even harder to do for experienced medics. There is also not enough money in the world for me to tolerate working in an ICU with a bunch of new grad BSN's who think they have mastered critical care medicine in a year on the unit and don't know what they don't know. This attitude is rampant in the hospital setting now a days and I can't stand it. Meh guess I'm also getting old.
While I agree that nursing can be a very difficult change for medics (and likewise nurses who go into EMS), those things you point out definitely exist in many EMS systems. There are paragods in most systems, and many of them don't take a year to get there. Likewise while there are many toxic unit cultures, this isn't universal (and many new grad nurses are very lucky to start in the unit, and time on the street is no guarantee of avoiding the floor).
 

gotbeerz001

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I'm sick to death of people just assuming that nursing is the natural and inevitable progression of the career arc of an EMT. If you want to be a nurse, fine, no judgement; but why bother with the pit stop in EMS? Just so you can **** on the industry forever?
Nothing the nursing profession... but it’s basically “chit and dix” all day long
 
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