Parmedic to RN

Medic7266

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Good Morning,

Currently a NYS AEMT-P looking to bridge to nursing. Does anyone know of legit online bridge programs? Can bridge programs be completed through out of state colleges and still be accepted as a NYS nurse / is nursing a national degree?

GK
 

Carlos Danger

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I highly doubt you will find any true online entry-level "bridge" programs. Entry level nursing programs are fairly heavy on the clinical and I don't think there are many options to get away from that these days - Excelsior may be one (see my comments on that below). What you probably can find is a regular program at a community college that is willing to extend some good-faith acknowledgement and respect for your paramedic education and experience, perhaps give you a little credit for that, and be willing to work with you some scheduling-wise. This would require communicating directly with program directors in your area. Most entry-level RN programs have fairly rigid schedules and course/clinical sequences though, so while I expect you could find one willing to work with you to some degree, I wouldn't expect a ton of flexibility. This would probably be much easier to do if you already have some of the required science and gen-ed courses done. Finding a program willing to work with you as much as they can and then taking as many of the required non-nursing courses as possible before applying might be the best option if you want to go through a local community college.

Last I knew, here in NC there were some nursing programs that had tracks designed for paramedics. Not technically "bridge" programs I don't think, and I don't know how much of their curriculum is online - I believe they are basically just regular RN programs that acknowledge and give some credit for the experience that paramedics already possess and are scheduled in such a way as to be easier for working folks to attend classes and clinical. There are probably other folks on here that know more about these programs than I do. @DrParasite?

Another good option - especially if you already have a degree or a fair amount of college coursework done - might be an accelerated BSN program. These typically take about a year of full-time study and clinical and require a 4-year degree for entry. But you get everything done in one year.

I started my career as a paramedic in NYS and did the old Regents (now Excelsior) program when it was truly a self-study program that had no clinical requirement at all aside from being employed in a clinical setting as a LPN, RRT, EMTP, etc. It is my understanding that while that program still exists, it is now - for better or for worse - in a very different form than back when I did it. Also, I know that now some states will not license Excelsior nursing grads; at least not without completing extra educational requirements. I would definitely recommend looking into this option - both the program itself and what licensure restrictions might exist in certain states for Excelsior grads - and give some thought to whether that might be an issue for you.
 
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akflightmedic

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1. There is a FB Group which covers this extensively. The name is Paramedic to RN Evangelists. Check it out, lot of great info there.
2. There is Hutchinson College out of Kansas which is online until clinical time. You then fly in and cram the clinical time in one big block. Rumor has it, this program has become very popular and there is a LONG waiting list.
3. On the above-mentioned FB group, the other day I saw people talking about a similar program in Texas now. I have no other info other than where you can go find it.
4. Bridge programs typically eliminate one semester. That is it. So, you may find very expensive private colleges offering a bridge or accelerated program....my strongest advice is to find an affordable community college and knock out the program. Way less debt and a whole lot more support in many different areas.
5. Excelsior lost their accreditation, grads from there can now only become licensed in a very limited number of states.
6. If travel is on your radar, be damn sure you get your initial RN license in a compact state. Will save you a ton of headaches later.
7. Continue to do more reading on Compact States and research on that group I mentioned in FB.

At the end of the day, while I support online education and quicker pathways, for myself I ended up going to brick and mortar community college in a rural area and just got the program done with no shortcuts. When I looked at nursing schools in FL and other heavy population areas, even with my scores and experience, I was waitlisted, in some places 2 years. I found a college in Maine, that often does not even have enough candidates to fill the seats they have. I applied the day I visited the campus to learn about the program and was accepted the next day. LOL I completed two years of nursing school while going through three nasty lawsuits, a divorce, and working two jobs. The program was great for anyone with no prior experience or only CNA type experience. For me, it was exceptionally painful and in general nursing school sucks overall as it preps students for a non-reality of today's actual nursing environments. Just get the degree, start work, then begin real learning.
 

FiremanMike

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I recently completed a paramedic to RN “bridge” at a local community college, which was their LPN to RN program that they opened up to military medics, military nurses, and paramedics. This program only got me out of the requirement to have my STNA and then first semester of nursing school which is basic patient assessment and a clinical rotation in a nursing home.

I took this as a blended student. All of my classroom work was online with weekly or biweekly labs depending on the course and weekly clinical. It was structured and due dates and objectives were well defined. As I look back, I can’t imagine how I would have completed this as a totally online self study, self paced program and anyone who did gets respect from me.

I am now an ED RN while still wrapping up my FD career. While there were times in school I wanted to quit, I definitely feel my journey in nursing school (and all of the intentional pain they inflicted) was worth it and I enjoy being an RN quite a bit.

There are a few accomplishments in my life that I’m genuinely proud of, being an RN is one of them.
 

DrParasite

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Most entry-level RN programs have fairly rigid schedules and course/clinical sequences though, so while I expect you could find one willing to work with you to some degree, I wouldn't expect a ton of flexibility. This would probably be much easier to do if you already have some of the required science and gen-ed courses done. Finding a program willing to work with you as much as they can and then taking as many of the required non-nursing courses as possible before applying might be the best option if you want to go through a local community college.
Med school and PA school is the same way... they have a program, and once you are in the program, you are expected you to work around their scheduled, as this is your full time commitment, and everything else is expected to work around their schedule
Last I knew, here in NC there were some nursing programs that had tracks designed for paramedics. Not technically "bridge" programs I don't think, and I don't know how much of their curriculum is online - I believe they are basically just regular RN programs that acknowledge and give some credit for the experience that paramedics already possess and are scheduled in such a way as to be easier for working folks to attend classes and clinical. There are probably other folks on here that know more about these programs than I do. @DrParasite?
Last time I was looking into that it was pretty much a program that allowed you to skip some basic classes, if you had a paramedic degree (with the associated collage level A&P with lab, into to pysch, sociology, and other basic classes), you could use those classes to complete the RN degree program. You might be able to skip some of the other general elective classes, but you still needed to complete all of the RN specific courses.

here are some NC specific examples:




To be honest, I think the Paramedic to RN bridge primarily helps paramedics get into the RN programs, as almost all the RN programs I have seen are extremely competitive, as most has a year long wait from the time you are accepted to the program until the nursing program actually starts.

Another good option - especially if you already have a degree or a fair amount of college coursework done - might be an accelerated BSN program. These typically take about a year of full-time study and clinical and require a 4-year degree for entry. But you get everything done in one year.
a buddy of mine did that... it was a hellish year, and he had to drop from full time to per diem for that year, but now he's an BSN. If you can take off from making money for an entire year, it's the best bang for your buck.
I started my career as a paramedic in NYS and did the old Regents (now Excelsior) program when it was truly a self-study program that had no clinical requirement at all aside from being employed in a clinical setting as a LPN, RRT, EMTP, etc. It is my understanding that while that program still exists, it is now - for better or for worse - in a very different form than back when I did it. Also, I know that now some states will not license Excelsior nursing grads; at least not without completing extra educational requirements. I would definitely recommend looking into this option - both the program itself and what licensure restrictions might exist in certain states for Excelsior grads - and give some thought to whether that might be an issue for you.
Several of my former coworkers in NJ went through this, and are now hospital RNs; it's entirely online, with clinical portions being held all over the country, however it's only accepted in the following states:
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
 

Akulahawk

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When you're looking for a nursing program, you have to consider the possibility of doing "travel" nursing. If you're considering it, consider doing a program that has a more traditional classroom/clinical rotation schedule where you do psych, or med/surg, or peds, or whatever in classroom and do the "same" for the clinical portion in that same semester/quarter. The reason I say this is because those states that Excelsior isn't accepted as adequate training are those states that will have a requirement that the classroom and clinical experiences occur in the same semester/quarter for a given module. In other words, if California will accept it, everyone else will too. It's not just Excelsior, but other nursing programs that will do classroom stuff and fly you in to cram all your clinical experiences at one big rotation that will have problems with this.

Nursing students/new grads from the Philippines run into this all the time because their classroom and clinical portions do not often occur in the same semester for the same module. They might do Peds classroom in one semester and get to the clinical portion the next because that's when they can actually get to the hospital for that rotation. That doesn't meet California standards and therefore they can't be licensed in California until they "correct" the "deficiency."
 

Medic101

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For those that have completed the Medic to RN, the bridge, or whoever just completed an RN program was it worth the change? I have been a medic for some time, worked in the field moved into the hospital, and worked to my full scope and then some which are great. However, there is no movement for me, like moving up to a charge position or leadership. With my RN my doors open a little more just stuck because I LOVE what I do.
 

FiremanMike

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For those that have completed the Medic to RN, the bridge, or whoever just completed an RN program was it worth the change? I have been a medic for some time, worked in the field moved into the hospital, and worked to my full scope and then some which are great. However, there is no movement for me, like moving up to a charge position or leadership. With my RN my doors open a little more just stuck because I LOVE what I do.
For me - 100% it was.

I am blessed to have a great fire-medic job but I’ve always wanted to go further in medicine, plus fire is a job I don’t want to do forever.

Towards the end of nursing school I was really doubting whether I made the right choice, but once I hit the ground as a real life RN, I couldn’t be happier. Thinking and doing things at the next level, interacting with really smart people, seeing what happens after we drop them off at the door..

It’s absolutely made me a better medic as well.
 

Akulahawk

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For those that have completed the Medic to RN, the bridge, or whoever just completed an RN program was it worth the change?
In my case, I think it certainly was! Of course I do have a much greater income and as an RN, I'm in an industry that's fairly resistant to recessions and depressions. It's a good gig for job security/stability. Given that I mostly have been trained along the medical model, the #1 most difficult thing for me has been learning to "think like a nurse." Probably the biggest thing "for" the patient (nurse v. medic) is that I have a much better long-term view about what needs to be done for a patient so doing "get ahead" stuff is sometimes very appreciated as long as it's permissible by "the powers that be."
 
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