Paramedic-to-nursing program students can earn either an Associate of Science in Nursing or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and upon completion are prepared to take the National Council Licensing Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Some institutions may also refer to these curricula as bridge programs. Once enrolled, students are exposed to lecture classes and clinical lab courses covering topics such as pharmacology, ethics and advanced nursing techniques.
Prerequisites for these programs include a high school diploma or GED, as well as a current paramedic license.
Paramedic-to-Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN)
During paramedic-to-ASN programs, students learn to work with physicians and other medical professionals to deliver appropriate care and treatment to patients. They may also learn about different specializations in the profession such as pediatric nursing and medical-surgical nursing, in addition to fundamental coursework. These programs can be finished in one to two years, and often include internship or externship opportunities so students can apply their training in clinical labs to a real-world setting. Course topics generally covered include :
- Advanced nursing concepts
- Healthcare systems
- Health and nutrition
- Healthcare ethics
Paramedic-to-Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
For those looking for more advanced nursing training, paramedic-to-BSN programs are available. Due to the complex nature of the core coursework, some schools require applicants to hold certification in the state in which they plan to attend the program. Many nursing departments also mandate that students take classes in various scientific disciplines, including social, behavioral and natural sciences. Common BSN course topics include:
- Nursing technologies
- Children's nursing
- Family health
- Nursing research
- Patient assessment
- Medication administration
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.
Career Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) job growth for registered nurses is expected to rise 16% between 2014 and 2024, due to continuous demand of healthcare services and an increase in the diagnosis of chronic health conditions among the general public (www.bls.gov).
The mean annual salary for RNs was $71,000 in 2015, according to the BLS. At the same time, data showed that emergency medical technicians and paramedics made an average of $35,430 per year.
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.
Special programs at the associate's and bachelor's degree levels allow paramedics to utilize their existing training to become registered nurses. These programs prepare students to take licensing exams that are required for nurses to practice professionally.