Paramedic school vs Nursing school

Summit

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Tigger I agree with that differentiation. Paramedics are trained as emergency specialists. RNs (and MDs) are educated as generalists and then they specialize. That is why it is hard for paramedics to bridge to other professions without nearly the same investment as starting from scratch. It is why nursing is such a broad field and easy to switch specialties. But many don't have an interest in the broad portions of the generalist foundation that don't apply to their special interest and don't want to then spend time specializing. For those folks the targeted education of paramedics is very appealing.
 

Lal

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Nursing school was easy for me but I went in 2002 :) I now work as an EMT, I was one semester of clinicals away when I realized I would go crazy under the thumb of 10 bosses, behind brick walls 40+hours a week so I got a non-clinical BS instead. I prefer fieldwork even if it's hard. Paramedic school is hard because of the level they want you to be practicing when you leave. Nursing school is more of an overview...and a good three months of my clinicals were wasted on dumb things like cleaning rooms and changing bedpans (hopefully their are programs out there that don't waste time on dumb crap like this). We use urinals and bedpans in an ambulance but we never had to train to use them because it's not rocket science. From what I understand Medic school is intense the entire time...your going to start off doing big things right away so you better be ready there is also a lot you are expected to memorize and learn on your own (interpreting 12 leads is boring to me but some people love it). Some Medic schools are only 12 weeks. If you are talking about the number of diagnostics tools learned, nurses have way more to learn about (ICU/ER) but they don't typically interpret like Medics do. I have heard most nurses learn the majority of work after starting a job. So now for the cost...obviously Nursing school is the better pay off...thats why you shouldn't waste your money as a medic if your not sure you want to do it. Get a job as an EMT or ER Tech first than decide. That would be the best route. Medics/EMTs must be good at investigating a problem and getting an initial diagnosis. The information that is provided to the ER shapes care from the moment a report is given (that's been proven). We decide what information to communicate (what is applicable what is not). We have to investigate the scene/history and we are utilizing this to help form a diagnosis so it's important to be confident in the diagnostics aspects. We also must control the scene and it can be dangerous. Most times the critical patient goes into the ER to see a huge team of clinical care providers all working with diagnostic tools to get a clearer picture. In the field, you have to use a lot of instinct and understand human nature, human psychology and the culture of medicine. We also relay that information so the ER/Cath lab etc can be ready for the patient, and its super embarrassing not to mention detrimental if you screw up! In the ICU nurses work autonomously but have a lot more resources to perform their job. I think the hardest part about Nursing school was the laboratory portion of A&P (btw...what a dumb waste of time...if I wanted to work in a lab studying cultures I would have got a laboratory tech degree). So Nursing is more to learn and longer (but a lot of its a waste)...Medic is faster paced and high stress. On a side note an Associates are the new minimum for medics this includes all the same prerequisites of Nursing school. You can obtain certification/licensure but to get any kind of good job you are going to need minimum associates. Where I work they prefer a Bachelor's....but pay the highest in the State (Starting is $22/23 hour).
 
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CCCSD

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You missed the reason scut work is taught in Nursing school. I think you made a wise choice not finishing as you seem to think that you know more than what Florence Nightingale was teaching about patient care...

You May want to check that God Complex.
 

CALEMT

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I'm pretty sure I lost brain cells just reading that post and I can't afford to lose anymore... because... firefighter paramedic...

But in all seriousness you must be an absolute joy to work with.
 
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SandpitMedic

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I’ve spent my entire career not knowing what a herp-derper was and looking for one. Today I found one. Thanks, Lal.
 

Summit

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medichopeful

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Nursing school was easy for me but I went in 2002 :) I now work as an EMT, I was one semester of clinicals away when I realized I would go crazy under the thumb of 10 bosses, behind brick walls 40+hours a week so I got a non-clinical BS instead. I prefer fieldwork even if it's hard. Paramedic school is hard because of the level they want you to be practicing when you leave. Nursing school is more of an overview...and a good three months of my clinicals were wasted on dumb things like cleaning rooms and changing bedpans (hopefully their are programs out there that don't waste time on dumb crap like this). We use urinals and bedpans in an ambulance but we never had to train to use them because it's not rocket science. From what I understand Medic school is intense the entire time...your going to start off doing big things right away so you better be ready there is also a lot you are expected to memorize and learn on your own (interpreting 12 leads is boring to me but some people love it). Some Medic schools are only 12 weeks. If you are talking about the number of diagnostics tools learned, nurses have way more to learn about (ICU/ER) but they don't typically interpret like Medics do. I have heard most nurses learn the majority of work after starting a job. So now for the cost...obviously Nursing school is the better pay off...thats why you shouldn't waste your money as a medic if your not sure you want to do it. Get a job as an EMT or ER Tech first than decide. That would be the best route. Medics/EMTs must be good at investigating a problem and getting an initial diagnosis. The information that is provided to the ER shapes care from the moment a report is given (that's been proven). We decide what information to communicate (what is applicable what is not). We have to investigate the scene/history and we are utilizing this to help form a diagnosis so it's important to be confident in the diagnostics aspects. We also must control the scene and it can be dangerous. Most times the critical patient goes into the ER to see a huge team of clinical care providers all working with diagnostic tools to get a clearer picture. In the field, you have to use a lot of instinct and understand human nature, human psychology and the culture of medicine. We also relay that information so the ER/Cath lab etc can be ready for the patient, and its super embarrassing not to mention detrimental if you screw up! In the ICU nurses work autonomously but have a lot more resources to perform their job. I think the hardest part about Nursing school was the laboratory portion of A&P (btw...what a dumb waste of time...if I wanted to work in a lab studying cultures I would have got a laboratory tech degree). So Nursing is more to learn and longer (but a lot of its a waste)...Medic is faster paced and high stress. On a side note an Associates are the new minimum for medics this includes all the same prerequisites of Nursing school. You can obtain certification/licensure but to get any kind of good job you are going to need minimum associates. Where I work they prefer a Bachelor's....but pay the highest in the State (Starting is $22/23 hour).
Just out of curiosity, did you leave nursing school before taking a basic English class?

You are correct that nursing school is not difficult. However, paramedic school is not difficult either.

Speaking from experience, I can say that both EMS and nursing shapes patient care. You seem to be giving a lot of credit to EMS, while taking away a lot from nursing. And unfortunately, you don't really seem qualified to speak on the subject.
 

akflightmedic

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Nursing school was easy for me but I went in 2002 :) I now work as an EMT, I was one semester of clinicals away when I realized I would go crazy under the thumb of 10 bosses, behind brick walls 40+hours a week so I got a non-clinical BS instead.
"No One DOR's their final week!..." LOL, could not resist the O&G '82 movie reference...anyways, that is quite odd you would just not finish that final semester based on inaccurate information. So close to having a RN degree, yet tossing it to the side based on flawed perceptions. Methinks there is more to the story (there always is...), however that was way back in 2002, so recall may be a bit fuzzy these days. That's cool...however, what is not cool is the level and amount of disinformation you spew without even A) being a RN or B) not even being a Paramedic. So sadly, you do not know what you do not know. And THAT is more embarrassing for us, the Medical Professionals. You might be embarrassed some day, right now, not so much due to the safety of the Ivory Tower.


I prefer fieldwork even if it's hard. Paramedic school is hard because of the level they want you to be practicing when you leave. Nursing school is more of an overview...and a good three months of my clinicals were wasted on dumb things like cleaning rooms and changing bedpans (hopefully their are programs out there that don't waste time on dumb crap like this). We use urinals and bedpans in an ambulance but we never had to train to use them because it's not rocket science. From what I understand Medic school is intense the entire time...your going to start off doing big things right away so you better be ready there is also a lot you are expected to memorize and learn on your own (interpreting 12 leads is boring to me but some people love it).
Paramedic school really is not that hard, the caveat being that the school itself is the unknown. So YOU, as a non-paramedic are speaking about how paramedic school is hard. Interesting, and how many have you attended in order to make this assessment and draw a comparison? You could be in a school which hammers the fundamentals, strong A&P, Bio/Micro, etc and then relates all that body science to the skills and tasks you will perform, or you could be in a program that teaches "if you see X then give one brown box every 3-5mins...". Personally, I strongly advocate for degree/community college paramedic programs simply in an effort to collectively boost the EMS profession as a whole.

All that I said above about Paramedic programs also applies to Nursing programs. My experience has been complete opposite of your claim. If you were stuck cleaning rooms, changing bedpans, emptying urinals for three months, either your program needs an overhaul or that is simply the level your preceptors deemed you capable of. Regardless, those dumb skills are actually essential to nursing. Why? Knowing the patient's bowel habits, knowing their amounts of waste, color, smell, consistency, etc...are all extremely relevant to a host of conditions and are often good indicators of ongoing care or treatment. Dealing with patient's bowel movements are also a level of intensity that some may not be able to handle and interacting with a patient, questioning them about their elimination, maintaining rapport and overcoming their discomfort and your own is essential to nursing care. You are developing communication, assessment and diagnostic skills...all with a bedpan full of poo. Crazy right?

And let's not forget, that although these are very "basic" skills and seemingly a waste of time, it is a good reminder that no matter what level of RN you obtain, if you are in the clinical setting...you WILL continue to clean rooms, clean patients, and empty bedpans or urinals throughout your career, especially in the ICU setting, but almost always on Med Surg or LTC. Yep, there are CNA,s however they are not always available and you advocating for your patient will do what needs to be done. Sad you missed this lesson a la Miyagi style (another 80s reference).

You then state in Medic school you start off doing big things right away...not really. You most likely revisit the basics, then learn new knowledge and skills, then start applying. Again, I ask, how do you know the intensity level? "Learn on your own"...technically in any prrofession, whether it be plumbing, electrical, Paramedic, RN, whatever...there is learning on your own. There ALWAYS should be learning on your own with your initial education and then ongoing throughout your career. Unsure what you are trying to prove or disprove here. Awesome you think 12 leads are boring...that statement alone proves how little you value that information presented from that piece of paper. I hope you are competent interpreting these 12 leads at your EMT level. Typically when one finds something "boring" or unnecessary, it is due to the fact they do not understand what they are seeing, hearing, or assessing...basically, a lack of knowledge so they then dismiss it.

Some Medic schools are only 12 weeks. If you are talking about the number of diagnostics tools learned, nurses have way more to learn about (ICU/ER) but they don't typically interpret like Medics do.
Really? Are you intentionally this ignorant? At what point do you think nurses do not interpret? What are you basing this on?

I have heard most nurses learn the majority of work after starting a job.
This is one statement of semi-truth. Nurses spend 2-4 years in pursuit of their ADN or BSN, and there is only so much you can teach within that time frame. It is MEDICINE...learning is forever ongoing. So yes, initial education focuses on producing a SAFE, NOVICE Nurse. You do learn a broad scope of the basics and then when you start a job as a Graduate Nurse or if you land in an immediate RN role, you will have a huge learning curve. Some of this is due to the facility having different scope, policy, or procedures. Some of the curve is due to you are now applying all that you know while trying to learn more in a 36 hour a week setting as opposed to the one 12 hour clinical day per week you had while in school (or whatever your program offered).

Guess what? The same statement applies to Paramedics! I learned way more stuff in my first 3 years or so as a Paramedic than I ever did in class. So "we" are not immune to the learning more in the first year process anymore than the next person/profession. Paramedic school gave me the basic knowledge to pull from then I had to see quantity, call after call, to build a data of references to pull from in order to apply or not apply what I had learned.

So now for the cost...obviously Nursing school is the better pay off...thats why you shouldn't waste your money as a medic if your not sure you want to do it. Get a job as an EMT or ER Tech first than decide. That would be the best route. Medics/EMTs must be good at investigating a problem and getting an initial diagnosis. The information that is provided to the ER shapes care from the moment a report is given (that's been proven). We decide what information to communicate (what is applicable what is not). We have to investigate the scene/history and we are utilizing this to help form a diagnosis so it's important to be confident in the diagnostics aspects.
Yes, we will make a field diagnosis in order to decide what to do or not do within our scope. Yes, we provide what we think is relevant in our radio report and then in our face to face handover. However, there have been times where I have dismissed something I thought was insignificant and it was completely relevant to the hospital. Drop your ego dude...medicine is a team sport. And if you think all follow on care is based on your report and assessment, you are mistaken. Each professional/provider who comes into contact with that patient is assessing, info sharing, reshaping the treatment plan.

Please link me to your sources on the "That's been proven" statement. I would like to independently review these for my own knowledge.
 

akflightmedic

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We also must control the scene and it can be dangerous. Most times the critical patient goes into the ER to see a huge team of clinical care providers all working with diagnostic tools to get a clearer picture.
Yes, the scene can be dangerous...ANYWHERE. I have been in just as many hostile and violent situations in an ER as I have in the field. I have seen RNs suddenly get attacked by patients and even friends/family. Everyone needs to maintain situational awareness regardless of career choice.

Are you saying the clinical care providers are less stellar because they have a team and tools at their disposal whereas you are a hero because you do not? Cause that is how your statement is reading...and it sounds quite asinine. If that was not your intent, ok.

In the field, you have to use a lot of instinct and understand human nature, human psychology and the culture of medicine. We also relay that information so the ER/Cath lab etc can be ready for the patient, and its super embarrassing not to mention detrimental if you screw up!
In the field you have to use a LOT of knowledge (obtained in school and ongoing) along with OBJECTIVE date in order to treat your patient. Sure, the subjective has some relevance, but I assure you I am not relying on gut instinct to give a medicine or perform a procedure as that simply will not hold up in any QA process. Has there been times when I had feeling that a patient needed something, I did it and then found something? Absolutely. There have also been just as many non-findings when my "instinct" was telling me to check something. Basically you have to count wins and losses if you want to make a statement like that, and again, this is medicine...if you have a question or concern, you investigate. To me, that is more of a scientific process as opposed to acting on instinct.

Yes, we will activate cath lab prehospital based on boring 12 leads, we will activate Trauma Alert when indicated.

In the ICU nurses work autonomously but have a lot more resources to perform their job. I think the hardest part about Nursing school was the laboratory portion of A&P (btw...what a dumb waste of time...if I wanted to work in a lab studying cultures I would have got a laboratory tech degree).
Resources in what way? And why does ICU have these resources that other floors do not? Not sure what you are trying to explain here because from my experience, the ICU had more equipment for certain patients, however the resources available in the hospital are available to all who need it. Example I am thinking of...I can get a bladder scanner, portable ultrasound, doppler, etc on any floor, any department in my facility. I can order labs when needed, I can consult with a provider. So those are things which would be part of assessing and diagnosing. Now 8 IV pumps and a vent would be ICU, however that is not a resource, that is a tool/s.

Again dismissing the importance of lab/patho/microbiology...reveals how little you know. Understanding micro is majorly important in the care of many types of patients. It really is. I simply do not know how to explain this any further but understanding micro and the labs absolutely guide and dictate the care you provide to many patients. And in many situations/facilities, you as the RN are noticing this and implementing treatment, stopping treatment or knowing it is significant enough to bring to a provider's attention sooner than later.

So Nursing is more to learn and longer (but a lot of its a waste)...Medic is faster paced and high stress.
I disagree and have addressed this above. And you think Medic is "high stress" whereas Nursing is not? Why are we drawing lines over who has more stress? It is not a badge of honor.

On a side note an Associates are the new minimum for medics this includes all the same prerequisites of Nursing school. You can obtain certification/licensure but to get any kind of good job you are going to need minimum associates. Where I work they prefer a Bachelor's....but pay the highest in the State (Starting is $22/23 hour).
What state are you in? As far as I know, only two states in the USA require an Associates for paramedic and a third state offers a different title and pays more if you do, (Oregon and Kansas for required and Texas for the Lic v Cert Paramedic). If there are others, I am not aware of them and am happy to be educated on who else does.
 

VFlutter

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Yeah it is really awesome to be the hero who intubates grandma and saves her life so she can die a week later from VAP/CAUTI because you are too worthless to realize how important basic nursing care is. Solid work.

If you want to see some of the biggest impacts on modern medicine in regards to infection rates, complications, readmissions, etc look no further than mundane nurse-driven protocols and care.

Probably good you dropped out before clinicals, I doubt that would have went well for you.

Your rationale is idiotic. A BSN, even 2002, is arguably one of the most utilitarian degrees you can obtain and affords you opportunities well beyond the bedside. Management, education, medical sales, research, NP/CRNA, etc there are literally endless possibilities including working in the pre-hospital environment that you so desire.
 
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Qulevrius

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I think the hardest part about Nursing school was the laboratory portion of A&P (btw...what a dumb waste of time...if I wanted to work in a lab studying cultures I would have got a laboratory tech degree).
If you don’t understand the difference between A&P and micro, I’m not sure how you even gotten past the nursing school prereqs.
 

Carlos Danger

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Nursing school was easy for me but I went in 2002 :) I now work as an EMT, I was one semester of clinicals away when I realized I would go crazy under the thumb of 10 bosses, behind brick walls 40+hours a week so I got a non-clinical BS instead. I prefer fieldwork even if it's hard. Paramedic school is hard because of the level they want you to be practicing when you leave. Nursing school is more of an overview...and a good three months of my clinicals were wasted on dumb things like cleaning rooms and changing bedpans (hopefully their are programs out there that don't waste time on dumb crap like this). We use urinals and bedpans in an ambulance but we never had to train to use them because it's not rocket science. From what I understand Medic school is intense the entire time...your going to start off doing big things right away so you better be ready there is also a lot you are expected to memorize and learn on your own (interpreting 12 leads is boring to me but some people love it). Some Medic schools are only 12 weeks. If you are talking about the number of diagnostics tools learned, nurses have way more to learn about (ICU/ER) but they don't typically interpret like Medics do. I have heard most nurses learn the majority of work after starting a job. So now for the cost...obviously Nursing school is the better pay off...thats why you shouldn't waste your money as a medic if your not sure you want to do it. Get a job as an EMT or ER Tech first than decide. That would be the best route. Medics/EMTs must be good at investigating a problem and getting an initial diagnosis. The information that is provided to the ER shapes care from the moment a report is given (that's been proven). We decide what information to communicate (what is applicable what is not). We have to investigate the scene/history and we are utilizing this to help form a diagnosis so it's important to be confident in the diagnostics aspects. We also must control the scene and it can be dangerous. Most times the critical patient goes into the ER to see a huge team of clinical care providers all working with diagnostic tools to get a clearer picture. In the field, you have to use a lot of instinct and understand human nature, human psychology and the culture of medicine. We also relay that information so the ER/Cath lab etc can be ready for the patient, and its super embarrassing not to mention detrimental if you screw up! In the ICU nurses work autonomously but have a lot more resources to perform their job. I think the hardest part about Nursing school was the laboratory portion of A&P (btw...what a dumb waste of time...if I wanted to work in a lab studying cultures I would have got a laboratory tech degree). So Nursing is more to learn and longer (but a lot of its a waste)...Medic is faster paced and high stress. On a side note an Associates are the new minimum for medics this includes all the same prerequisites of Nursing school. You can obtain certification/licensure but to get any kind of good job you are going to need minimum associates. Where I work they prefer a Bachelor's....but pay the highest in the State (Starting is $22/23 hour).
So……you aren't a paramedic OR a nurse?
 

Akulahawk

EMT-P/ED RN
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@Lal - One of the best parts of this forum is that there are many, many people here have levels of experience well beyond that of entry level. There are quite a few people that have responded to this thread AFTER your post that are Paramedics, Nurses, are mid-level providers of one sort or another, or some combination of all three. A lot of us are Bachelor's Prepared, though our BS or BA degrees aren't usually specifically in Paramedicine or Nursing. It appears that you went through some nursing school training and chucked it, that's fine. However, one of your gripes with nursing school is that you spend several months cleaning rooms and changing bedpans. Guess what? That's CNA-level work and that stuff is entirely within the scope of nursing. If you don't know how to do that stuff, you won't be prepared to do total care. That is a thing in nursing. Presently I'm an ED RN. I do total care. It's nice when I have an ED Tech or CNA to assist me with some tasks, but most of the time, it's all me. If you managed to get more than a couple semesters into RN school, you easily could have discovered that nursing is an extremely broad field and there's many ways to be a nurse.

I'm also a Paramedic. Yes, I did both the traditional way. Both Paramedic and RN schools were relatively easy. That's because of my BS degree in Sports Med. It was far more rigorous than either RN or Paramedic. You, on the other hand, have not completed either RN or Paramedic school, by your own admission, and therefore don't have a firm grasp on either field. Those of us who have done both are in a unique position to give advice as to whether someone should do Paramedic or RN school, or if they want both, how best to accomplish that goal.

While I'm an ED RN, and haven't been in the field in several years, I guarantee that I'd be just as happy and effective in the back of an ambulance today as I am in my ED. Oh and while I'm thinking about it, those lab classes all built a foundation for the Paramedic I became and the RN I am now. Having a good understanding of A&P seriously helps me figure out what's wrong with my patients. That stuff is so ingrained that I don't even think about it.

So the point of all this is to simply tell you that you really do have a LOT more to learn and that you really did yourself a disservice when you quit nursing some 18 years ago. You could have been an RN with about 15 years of experience. You could have challenged the NREMTP exam and been a Paramedic of some 15 years by now. You could have then used that experience to go on to yet some other education and become a physician or mid-level practitioner (yes, I know some really dislike that term). Instead you didn't. You became an EMT and apparently stayed there. Sure you have a non-clinical BS degree but it appears that you haven't learned from that experience either. No matter what it is that you do, you need to either challenge yourself to do better or you stagnate. One way you grow and the other stinks. Your choice.
 

joshrunkle35

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I have completed Paramedic school and RN. I am currently in a Master’s of Science in Nursing degree. I still work in EMS as a Paramedic/Crew Leader/Shift Supervisor as well as an RN in an ED at a Level I Trauma Center. With 7 years experience in EMS, I make $13/hr without benefits. I am often asked by superiors to have my team do things that are not within our capabilities, blur the lines of ethics or SOGs/protocols or are not within the standard of care or scope of practice for a Paramedic. I am usually the person that takes all of the responsibility and is left holding the bag. As an RN with 6 months experience, I make $34/hr (after shift differential) with amazing benefits. I am provided training and oversight. I am given opportunities to learn, and ultimately, someone else is always on shift to absorb the liability.

There are endless opportunities for advancement in nursing. You can work from home doing chart reviews for insurance companies. You can testify in trials as a legal nurse consultant. You can work in public health or in a school system. You can teach in a university. You can become an NP, Midwife, CNS, CNL, etc. There are hundreds of sub-specialties in nursing and only 4-5 in EMS (Community Paramedic, Flight Paramedic, Critical Care Paramedic, etc.)

Paramedic school was SIGNIFICANTLY harder for me than RN was.

Lastly, if you haven’t completed RN and Paramedic schools, your OPINIONS in this thread are just adding noise to the signal/noise ratio.
 

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