Paramedic to RN Program Information and Requirements
Licensed paramedics who want to find jobs as registered nurses (RNs) can enroll in a paramedic-to-RN program. These programs, which award either an associate's or bachelor's degree, prepare students to take the National Council Licensing Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Paramedics can significantly increase their salaries and job opportunities by becoming RNs.
Paramedic-to-Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN)
With an ASN, students can pursue careers as RNs at hospitals, nursing facilities, physicians' offices and healthcare clinics. Most programs require 1-2 years of study and prepare students to take the required licensing examination for RNs. Many programs have internship or externship opportunities, which allow students to gain practical experience before entering the workplace. Programs on this level also might be referred to as Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or bridge programs.
To enroll in a paramedic-to-ASN program, students must be licensed paramedics and have a minimum of a high school diploma. Some programs require students to have a minimum of one year of experience as a paramedic before entrance. Students might need to complete certain prerequisite courses, such as anatomy, physiology and introductory nursing. A course in human growth and development may be required before enrolling in core courses.
During paramedic-to-ASN programs, students learn to work with physicians and other medical professionals to deliver appropriate care and treatment to patients. These programs combine traditional courses with clinical nursing labs, which allow students to work in simulated or live medical settings. Common courses in paramedic-to-ASN programs include:
- Advanced nursing concepts
- Healthcare systems
- Medical-surgical nursing
- Child health nursing
- Health and nutrition
- Healthcare ethics
Career Outlook and Salary Information
Registered nurse is the largest occupation in healthcare. There were approximately 2.6 million RNs in 2008, more than half of whom worked in hospitals, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That figure was expected to rise to roughly 3.2 million RNs, an increase of 22%, between 2008 and 2018 due to continuous demand of healthcare services, advancements in technology and more outpatient services. Opportunities were expected to be best in inner cities and rural areas, which have been underserved medically in recent years (www.bls.gov).
The mean annual salary for RNs was $67,220 in 2010, according to the BLS. At the same time, emergency medical technicians and paramedics made an average of $33,300 per year.
Licensing and Certification Information
After completing a paramedic-to-ASN program, students should be eligible to take the NCLEX-RN, a comprehensive nursing exam used nationwide to grant licensure to RNs. Nurses can also receive voluntary credentials from the American Nursing Credentialing Center in ambulatory care, pediatrics, gerontology and other specialized areas of health care.
Paramedic-to-Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
For those looking for more advanced nursing training, paramedic-to-BSN programs are available. These transitional programs typically are tailored to students' experience and training as paramedics, and they often include courses specific to concepts that paramedics might be familiar with.
These programs require applicants to have completed an accredited EMT-Paramedic (EMT-P) program. Courses in various scientific disciplines, including social, behavioral and natural sciences, are required by many programs. Accelerated programs also might require that students have completed general education courses. Additionally, students might need to hold certification in the state in which they plan to attend a paramedic-to-BSN program.
Coursework in a paramedic-to-BSN program might cover pharmacology, patient assessment and medication administration. Other courses include those not necessarily specific to paramedics, such as:
- Nursing technologies
- Children's nursing
- Family health
- Nursing research
- Leadership in nursing
Continuing Education Information
Those looking for even more specialization in the nursing field may wish to consider earning an advanced nursing degree, such as a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). Typically, a student pursuing this degree can work toward a specialty like mental health nursing, gerontological nursing or nurse midwifery. Many programs are offered as accelerated BSN-MSN programs.
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