I was wondering who out there has been able to stay on the ambulance in a part time manner after getting their RN degree? Or, if on the otherhand, who has stayed on full time pre hospital and did nursing part time? And please discuss the internal, and/or external, debate that you had when you finished with your nursing program.
I am looking at some Paramedic to nursing programs now but wondering if the pull to return to EMS will be too much. At my current service there are 3 or 4 dual trained individuals and their experiences vary widely. Two returned to EMS FT and have no nursing jobs, and one of those said if she would go back she would have done nursing, but was too vested; one is currently doing EMS FT and nursing PT/nearly FT as well, and another does nursing FT and still some PT EMS. So just looking for some experiences out there, thanks!
I started as a Paramedic in the early '70s. In the mid 80s I went to nursing school (back before they had bridge programs). I have always maintained EMS as my primary and full time job. Until this past August I worked as RN part-time (I worked in the Pediatric section of Level II Trauma Centers). Stepped away from a second job because of my current position in our agency required more time and energy.
We have about 20 Paramedic/RNs in our agency (We are a 450 member department). Most work part-time in EDs. A couple work part-time in ICUs, one does home health care, another does psych, a couple work as clinical instructors for the college's Paramedic program. One went to school but never took boards. None left the field to work full-time as a nurse. But in our agency, the trend of the folks that became nurses are Paramedics with 10 or more years of experience. Most did it as an investiment into their future. We hired one guy that was a nurse for a few years then became a Paramedic. He only lasted a year in the field. Went back to the hospital.
I never debated within myself where my primary job would be. I'm true to the cause of EMS. I will say that being an Paramedic/RN with both field and ED experience tends to change the playing field when communicating with other ED nurses and doctors.
I started out thinking about going to school to become a RN and volunteered with our local rescue squad to see if I would really like pt. care. I loved EMS and continued with it for 18yrs, including while I was in nursing school. I stayed part time as a Paramedic after I became a RN. There are pros and cons to both jobs but I have to tell you, I have more doors open to me as a RN then I ever had as a Paramedic. as a RN I have worked in the ER, trauma OR and specialty practice. as a Paramedic, I ride the truck and do a little teaching. and of course, there is the pay. per hour I make almost 2x more as a RN. Whenever I start missing the truck, I sign up for a few shifts, when I get tired of it, I go back to nursing. I believe I have the best of both worlds. Right now I work for the state in disaster education, a job I love and would not have been able to get without RN behind my name.
I agree with Kristen. I became a medic in 1994 and then got my RN in 2002. I did not have a bridge program either. I tried to stay on the truck and do both for a while, and then came the house and the family and the agency RN gets paid alot more than the part time medic. I worked ICCU and recovery room, and am working toward CRNA school because I think that is the best way to mesh both worlds. I will still get to manage an airway, and make some decisions in patient care. I find the recovery room to be nice also because it has offered more of an ability to make decisions in patient care. As a medic we are very independent and make critical decisions every day, this is not as respected of a skill in an RN. I have gotten severe attitude from doctors when I offered a suggestion in the ICCU. Recovery room seems to be at my hospital at least, a nice place. We work of protocols and are allowed to choose which medications we want to use. If it gets bad we are supposed to call the doctor- like if I have used Ephedrine and the SBP goes from 70s to 60s. But they respect us for thought which was one of my hardest transitions. The other hard thing for me to "get over" as an RN was letting people die. The medic in us wants to try to save everyone, and that was one of the biggest struggles I dealt with. I would not change what I have done or where I am.
I'm a little late to the discussion, but here's my experience: I wanted to do medical school and was advised to try EMS first, so I did my basic as a HS junior and my intermediate (specialist here in MI) as a HS senior. Worked part-time through college for gas and beer money, dropped it when I moved out of state for grad school. Never did go to med school, but decided to try nursing school instead. Went back to EMS part-time when I moved back in-state for school and did my paramedic class while waiting to get accepted to nursing school. The EMS experience made nursing school a breeze, and now that I'm working full-time (36 hours) as an RN, I pick up my required part-time shifts (72 hours/three months) on the road. Both skill sets, while slightly different, complement each other very well. Also, nursing OT shifts are getting scarce around here, so I can get shifts on the road for extra income. I don't see myself giving up the road work any time soon.