Any value in EMT-B before Nursing school?

CareerChange

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Hello everyone. Newbie here. Glad to join and find out more about being an EMT.

I am in the midst of a major career change. Going from being a high paid Computer Consultant of 20 years with a large company to a career in the medical field. The long term goal is to be a Nurse Practitioner (NP).

I don't start RN school until January 2008, so I signed up to take the EMT-B course at a local community college during the Fall semester (Aug to Dec). I decided on a new medical career after taking a First Responder course and really enjoying it. Since then I have take Anatomy and Physiology 1 and 2, Microbiology and Chemistry 1 and enjoyed them all.

I guess my question stems from this - I don't plan on getting a job as an EMT. I have had almost NO direct patient care and want to make sure Nursing is really what I want to do for the next 20 years, not to mention spending the next 5 years in school to become a NP. The volunteer work I have done so far has not provided me with a lot of real patient care, just cuts and scrapes.

Will the EMT give me both a head start on Nursing school as well as confirming my desire to make this career change? The course seems rather time consuming. It meets 4 nights a week for a total of 14 hours a week in lecture and lab. That does not include some Saturday for clinicals. I still will work full time until Nursing school starts. The class should help reinforce my skills I learned in the First Responder course, and make application to the medical courses I have already taken as prerequisites for Nursing school.

Is there a better use of my time while waiting for Nursing school to start?

Thanks!
 

MMiz

I put the M in EMTLife
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There absolutely is value in EMT school prior to becoming a nurse.

I went to EMT school with an RN who had a MA and worked in the hospital for 20 years. During clinicals she'd be the one who would sink a line in a ped patient when no one else could. She thought that going back to EMT school to refresh her basic medical memory was one of the smartest things she did.

I also went to college with a girl that went to school to become a physician's assistant. She had no intent of working in EMS, but as she's about to graduate from her PA program, lists working in EMS as one of the best and most valuable things she has done.

If it's not clear already, I'm all for you getting the EMT-B before nursing school. That said, I will say that if it doesn't work out for you, please don't give up! I attended the three day a week nightly program for a only a week and then gave up. It just wasn't for me. I then tried the summer EMT academy and would list it as a top 10 life experience. Of course you may have a different experience, but I wouldn't base an entire career on an EMT program.

I hope that helps!
 

Ridryder911

EMS Guru
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A couple of things. Most NP programs require at least two to five years clinical experience before applying or entering into a NP program. Just because one has the degree, a lot is based upon experience as well before allowing into a NP program. This is important due to you are practicing upon your own license, as a ARNP.

I am currently in a NP program, and I can assure you there is nothing similar to EMT training. I would suggest to start on basics and disregard any EMT. EMT is to hard to maintain no to use, why waste the time?

I highly suggest to get a job as a tech in some med surg, ER, OR, etc. for in hospital experience. Since you will have to have the nursing experience especially for nursing school. These areas are far more valuable in experience than having a first aid class, and not using it.

There is no comparison or similarity in EMT and nursing programs. I can attest as professional educator of both.

R/r 911
 

akflightmedic

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I would have to say that EMT training prior to nursing school would be a complete waste of your time. If you have no desire to be in EMS, getting this certificate is of no value to you.

EMT school does not teach or allow you to be in the mindset you need for nursing school. They are two totally different fields with different mindsets with regards to how we approach patient care.

I am glad you already did the pre requisites, enjoyed them and passed them. Congratulations.

Quite seriously if you wanted to get a feel for what nursing would be like and how it feels to be in the environment, CNA would be a better use of your time. It is a very simple course that covers the very basics, however this certificate will allow you to work inside hospitals and on the floors. Working side by side with nurses may allow you to find a mentor and it will allow you to pick their brains and practically apply what you are learning during school. And by apply what you are learning, I mean you may see it in action or may be able to actually do some skills depending on the hospital policies and staff.

You sound like someone who has their head screwed on straight and definitive goals which is fantastic and I wish you well and lots of success. Therefore, I see no reason to obtain a cert that expires in 2-3 years, that you are not going to work as, nor have time to get the CMEs to maintain it with your school work. If you are planning on working during the nursing program, get a cert and a job that will be in the environment that you plan on working long term in.

Best of luck....AK
 

Airwaygoddess

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The question is this, do you what to gain experience in dealing with sick and injured patients, before starting PA school? Are you planning to going work in the field or in an ER as an EMT-B while going to school? I have worked with MANY nurses that started out as EMTs, and these folks said that it was some of the best training and experience that they have ever had. One of the main reasons they said this is because they learned how to work with sick people. Another reason was they wanted to see if this was a career (meaning dealing with sick and injured people as a career) that they really wanted to do. I believe that taking a EMT-B class is not a waste of time, if anything it is a chance to learn and gain knowledge and experience. To keep on learning is never a waste of time. Good luck towards your future career! :)
 

firecoins

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I have found nurses and PAs with backrounds in EMS to be easier to work with. Usually they are alot better because they have extra time with patients as an EMT. I fully support becoming an EMT first.
 

VentMedic

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I think the EMT course would be of value. Many RNs get their EMT-B after they have been RNs for awhile. Some have goals of working for flight and may need a Paramedic certificate later to compliment their RN degree. After EMT-B, RNs can challenge the EMT-P in some states. Some RNs appreciate the EMT-B course to better prepare them for emergencies in their professional and personal lifes especially with kids.

The skills you learn in EMT-B will be of some use no matter how basic they may seem to those who have gone to advanced levels. The one thing RNs are not taught effectively is how to handle emergencies gracefully. They do not get a lot of even basic airway experience.

The EMT-B will give you the opportunity to work in the ER while in nursing school. Without it, some hospitals may require you take the Cert. Nursing Assist. or Patient Care Tech class which can be as long as 16 weeks. Being a nursing student does not always get you into the door now as it used to.

It will give you more exposure to patients and the hospital. As a consultant you are probably accustomed to making long range plans. Different technical careers require education that takes carefully planning. You have shown that area of expertise by getting your prerequistes done early. Give yourself a chance to explore the medical world. EMT-B and Nursing are a good start. Just keep taking the heavier sciences if you have a choice and time which can prep you for any path that may present itself. NP is a good career. But, for someone new the the medical field, keep an open mind.

Later, if you find you don't have time to do the CEUs to maintain your certification, just put the EMT-B cert. into inactive status with your state. Nothing lost but something might have been gained. You can activate it later or let it go in good standing after you are settled in your new career.
 
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Glorified

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If you ever want to be an ER nurse, i think the emt-b course could be a good experience. I have a CNA in my class and she plans on working at some point as an EMT. Like akflightmedic said, I would take the CNA course. CNA's get like 12 bucks an hour, which is quite good for a student. Why not take both CNA and EMT-b course at the same time? It WILL be time consuming, but then again you have all of fall 2007 free, I assume. Ridryder is correct in that nursing and EMT school are entirely different. However, I believe the two different perspectives you attain will make you a better health-careprovider in the long run.
 
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Glorified

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sorry for the double post. laptop is having laryngospasms.
 
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OP
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CareerChange

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WOW - First, let me say thanks to all who replied. What an excellent response. I appreciate all the advise and past experiences.

I see that EMT experience can be very valuable, I'm just not sure if I will be able to take advantage of it or not. I was never planning on working as an EMT-B, just taking the class for more knowledge and what limited shadowing/hand-on experience that may come with a few weeks of clinicals in doing the ride-alongs. As I go through nursing school, I don't plan on working in the medical field at the same time. I plan on continuing with my computer consulting work to have any chance of making it financially while going to school. I may have to rethink things, as it sounds like some real EMT or ER tech experience will be very useful. I'm not sure I can support a family of 5 on $12 an hour and pay for school.

I was hoping to use the EMT course to gain some knowledge that I might not get in nursing school, like someone mentioned on "how to handle emergencies". Working in the ER or surgery is what I hope to do as an RN and NP.

So I think I will do it. I am already signed up for it, and I have the time to do it while waiting for the nursing classes to start. Sounds like a great plan to me!

Thanks again!
 

firecoins

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yes the EMT class will teach you how to deal with emergencies that you might not learn as a nurse.
Its too bad you can't get some riding time. Maybe after you finish the RN you will ride per diem somewhere in addition to being an RN.
 
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Alexakat

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CareerChange,

I'm in a similiar situation as you. My "real job" is not clinical like many of the people on this board (although I work in a hospital--just not in a clinical capacity) & I have long considered a career change into a clinical field (just not sure if it's going to be "human" healthcare as in med school or PA school or "animal" healthcare as in vet school).

I think for people like us, EMT is very valuable b/c it gives us the chance to see what it's like to do patient care. At my rescue squad, I work with people who do medical transport for a living, so they're very comfortable dealing with the clinical aspect, however, for me, it's a whole new world. Before committing to a more advanced program, it has helped me realize what I like & dislike (& if I can even handle) about patient care.

The EMT-B course is relatively short & in general, not difficult. If you decide to work in an ER as a tech or even as a volunteer with a 911 agency, you will get experience dealing with patients, which will help you decide if it's right for you. I sit in my window-office all day & never have to deal with blood, guts, etc., so EMT has been helpful in my realization of whether I want to continue my education or not.

I think getting your EMT would be a great way to simply expose yourself to patient care. It won't give you a leg-up on your nursing education in terms of academics, but it will certainly help you determine if some of the unpleasantries involved in patient care is something you can "deal" with.

Good luck!
 

AndiBugg

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It helps a lot, definately if your considering working in the ER or Trauma or Code Teams. Also some colleges give you points on your entrance exam for having other certifications in the health care feild. I was taking it while I was in the nursing program and it seemed to help with my other classes, but I changed my major to paramedic science. It would also look good on a resume. Good luck with school.
 

bstone

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I remember learning SO MUCH from my EMT-Basic class. It was a total crash course in the human body and I loved it. It's totally worth it for anyone who is going into the health field. Also, I have taught 4th year medical students (who were 5 months away from getting their MD) how to take blood pressures. Hah!
 

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