I am a NREMT-P and RN who is no longer able to work due to a progressive neurological disease, but my passion was, is and always will be EMS. That said, if I had it to do over again after 17 years in EMS and just a couple in nursing, I would go into nursing earlier simply for the PAY. I flew (HEMS) my last few years working and, even though I was an RN (I didn't have the mandatory 3-5 years as an RN to qulaify me to fly as a "nurse") my job title was "flight PARAMEDIC". I did the EXACT same things as the RN (in fact I precepted my RN flight partner), we were equally responsible for all patient-care decisions and were identically trained. My pay was roughly $20k a year less. Now, I'm living on Social Security Disability and long-term disability (a sham...down't get me started!) and my total montly income is 115% of the federal poverty level. All my retirement money got used up when I went back to college in 1999.
I enjoyed nursing (because I basically DID it) on the helicopter, and I loved working at a level I trauma center E.D. When I first got out of high school I STARTED as a nursing major (but didn't finish and ultimately went into EMS). Back then, I thought of nurses AT BEST as "Dixie McCall" and at worst as a semi-brainless servant for doctors. I was wrong.
EMS and nursing can dove-tail beautifully and IMHO, the BEST E.D. nurses were the ones who were also medics.
I miss it ALL!