Survivalist Forum banner
1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Destroyer of Ignorance
Joined
·
2,988 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm very seriously considering a career in the medical field. I will state upfront that I have zero medical experience but I'm not squimish at all and I really think I'd enjoy truly helping people. I'm drawn to the pay of nursing but I think I'd be happier as an EMT/Paramedic. I've spoken with our local college about the nursing program and was told it would be day classes only and the next chance would not be until the Spring of 2012. In order to go to college, I'd have to leave my current employer since I work 60-70 hours per week. I'm thinking maybe I should go work as an EMT while I go to school. Figure I can work evenings or overnights and get a feel for it at the same time. So, let the questions begin ...

Can you work a regular 40 hour shift as an EMT or is it constant OT?

Can I make comprable money as an EMT as compared to nursing?

What should I be doing right now to move towards a career as an EMT?

Are there any glaring downsides that I may be overlooking?

Thanks guys/gals.
 

·
Survivor, so far
Joined
·
45,984 Posts
Those are both good career fields. You should also check out these three:

X-Ray Technologist (Radiographer)
Respiratory Therapist
Physical Therapist

All can pay pretty well ($50K or more).

It looks like your timing is right, too. Obamycare
and the increasing number of boomers needing
medical care are making for the perfect storm.
 

·
Indefatigable
Joined
·
21,089 Posts
One of the up and comming specialties for nursing is forensic nursing. Being a trauma nurse I can tell you that my team contaminated evidence. We didn't have time to consider it we were there to save a life. Clothes are cut off and fall to the floor where they are walked on. They body may be need to be quickly cleaned so we can see the extent of the injuries or as a prep for a surgical procedure. Trauma teams are adding forensic nurses to their teams in order to collect evidence ASAP. While everyone else is concentrating on the patients condition, the forensic nurse is not involved in these activities, their only focus is to collect as much evidence as possible before we ruin it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: danpauselius

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,166 Posts
Over the past 10 years or so one of the few growth industries in our economy has been health care. This has not gone unnoticed as people in high school and college have adjusted their sights to take advantage of the available jobs. Those jobs are no longer as available as one might think. The expansion of nursing and EMT training programs has meant that in many areas new graduates are having difficulty finding work and pay is stagnating. Especially with a repeal of Obamacare being in doubt with the support Romney seems to have I would think twice about planning a career in health care at this point in time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
123 Posts
Answers are in bold:

Can you work a regular 40 hour shift as an EMT or is it constant OT?

Yes, 40 hours.

Can I make comprable money as an EMT as compared to nursing?

No, not an RN's pay at a SNF or hospital. When you get in to the difference at the management level the gap widens.

What should I be doing right now to move towards a career as an EMT?

There are classes that you'd still have to take even for EMT, so....

Are there any glaring downsides that I may be overlooking?

Long hours, pay can start at around $10 an hour depending on the company you work for, lots of potential for injury from heavier people (happens even to the strongest), you'd need a lot of patience for some patients, and the list goes on. Just like any other job it has its "moments".

Thanks guys/gals.

You're welcome, and good luck! Feel free to ask more!
..........
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
349 Posts
i would go with the nursing. better working conditions, better pay, more advancement.
ive worked as a emt-b since the early 80s, not as a primary job thou. my full time was a firefighter and off duty i would make a side line hustle working at convention centers, concerts and on a ambulance.
 

·
Team Lauren 2010
Joined
·
410 Posts
Can you work a regular 40 hour shift as an EMT or is it constant OT?
Depends.

If you work for a private service they usually have set hours so you can do 40 per week. Some places "late trip" you, especially the new hires. You'll get a late transport less than an hour before your shift ends and have to take the call before you can clock out for the day.

If you work for a fire department or EMS base they usually have a 24 hour shift or 48 hour shift depending on the department schedule (with the 48 hour you get 4 days off after the 2 you work). You'll have sleeping quarters somewhere for the long shifts.

Can I make comparable money as an EMT as compared to nursing?
Most EMTs around here start around $10/hr. Some places start out a bit higher, and some will offer shift bonuses if you do more calls/transports. I didn't work for a company that did that sort of thing so I can't really say how that bonus thing works.

Paramedics make close to what nurses do, but that is a lot more schoolwork. Some hospitals and trauma centers actually use paramedics to help in the emergency department to help the nurses out but that varies by employer.

What should I be doing right now to move towards a career as an EMT?
Most states take the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT-B which is basic EMT, EMT-I which is advanced and a lot of states do not use EMT-Is, and EMT-P which is the paramedic level) and the requirement to register for classes is American Heart Association CPR for the healthcare provider. Red Cross has a similar class but you are required to have the AHA card to register for class. If you get very, very, very lucky you may be able to get into a class without the AHA if you have an equivalent Red Cross card.

The NREMT site is www.nremt.org from there you can check on each state to see what level they accept from NREMT for licensing as well as the state Bureau of Emergency Medical Services link for information on licensing. Some states will take both the national registry and a state issued exam, some states will take only the national, and some states do not accept the national so you may have to take the EMT class in the state or take a state test rather than the national.

Are there any glaring downsides that I may be overlooking?
You have to take the course, pass the course with a certain percentage, take a practical exam, then computer based "written" exam for NREMT. Once you pass the exams you get an EMT from the state you work or live in to work. You usually have to have a license for each state you provide care in but once again, each state has different rules so some may let you work with the national registry card until you get a license from them.

Here in Missouri I have to take 100 hours of continuing education every 5 years to keep my EMT license. Paramedics need more hours for theirs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,000 Posts
Im in Nursing school right now. I just finished my first semester. I also had no previous medical experience. The pay for Nurses will vary greatly depending on where you live so beware. Also, there is huge myth that it is easy to land a job as new grad Nurse. The Nursing profession has also been hit by the recession. Where I live they used to hand out sign-on bonuses and it was not hard to find a job 4 years ago. That has all changed and now there are no more sign-on bonus and all you see is "1 year of experience required".

Check out your local colleges ,the road to apply to Nursing school can be a long one depending on your school requirements and some have waiting lists as well. Good luck, PM me if you want.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
821 Posts
Can you work a regular 40 hour shift as an EMT or is it constant OT?

You might be able to find a 40 hour week somewhere but the real $$ is in OT. Most places factor that in and have a 56 to 72 hour work week. Most EMT's start out minimum wage or slightly better. It depends on what the going rate is and where you are at. Realize EMTs and EMS in general is considered "blue collar".

Can I make comprable money as an EMT as compared to nursing?

Hell no. BSNs (RN with a bachelors degree) start at $45.00 an hour in ER here. Most only work 3 12s a week by choice. They still make bank. ER paramedics in the same place start at $19.00 an hour.


What should I be doing right now to move towards a career as an EMT?

There are a few options for Paramedics, ER, EMS, Flight, Remote EMS (oil rigs and the like) Depends on your age. It's a young mans game. Its hard on your body, your heart, your family. Most private EMS has no retirement. Once you can't work, you're done. Stick to .gov muni FDs or muni EMS that have retirement, bennies, etc. Don't waste your life at a private EMS outfit.

EMTs don't usually deal with patients much. They drive, depending on the area, type of service, etc. . Paramedics usually provide pt care. . EMTs not in EMS MIGHT be able to work at a small school as a "nurse" or in a nursing home as a CNA (nurses aid). Not much else. A few here locally work at the detox, but there have been issues with their certification and what the detox directors want them to do.

RN's can work in any area of the hospital they choose. Peds, ER, ICU, Recovery, Xray/imaging, Surgery, Med/surg floor, OB, private dr. office, nursing home, Flight EMS, Oncology, dialysis centers, admin, etc... A lot more options if you ever get bored or too old to be on your feet 12 hours a day.

Are there any glaring downsides that I may be overlooking?

EMT is 1 semester and then OJT, once you're hired on. Then a 24 hour refresher every two years.

Paramedic is 1 year of experience as an EMT, and 2 years of didactic/practical instruction crammed into 9 months. There are ride time and clinical requirements as an intern. You'll be precepted by paramedics. You'll forget you're even married. refresher is 72 hours every two years. If you actually want to deal with sick people, this is what you'll have to do.

refreshers are usually out of your pocket, unless your agency is cool and picks up the bill or has their own classes.


My suggestion is to find the agency in your area that you'll most likely be working for or want to work for and schedule a ride along. Go from there.

Good luck. I've done it since 1985. remember, you'll never get rich and despite the hardships, it is a great job.


Thanks guys/gals.
..............................................................
 

·
Destroyer of Ignorance
Joined
·
2,988 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'm thinking that I'll go work for a private EMS service while I make my way through nursing school. Once I have my RN, I'll do that full time and do the EMS thing part time (if that's even possible) or maybe still full time but on my off days from nursing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,000 Posts
dan, Im not even convinced Im going to get the RN anymore. Im finishing LPN first. I know, stupid if I quit at that point. Its the time commitment , no income while Im in school and going deeper into student loan debt that is putting me off.

I have done clinicals at nursing homes and hospital. I dont really see a significant difference in the nursing duties. I know they are different but mainly, the nurse passes meds all day and does treatments, and documents, The End. Where I live nursing homes pay more than the hospital for a new grad. LPNs are not really utilized at hospitals anymore and RNs (ADN) are right behind them now in the rush to be la ti da "all BSN" magnet hospitals. I know of 1 hospital that will probably announce next year they dont hire ADN anymore and all the rest will jump right on the bandwagon because healthcare is an extremely competitive industry in this region.
 

·
Destroyer of Ignorance
Joined
·
2,988 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I looked into the LPN classes at our local vocational school. $11,000 for the course. The RN with an Associates degree will cost me less than $10,000 at the local community college. In this area, assuming a person just got their license, LPN's are highered at doctor's offices and nursing homes. RN's are typically hired at hospitals. LPN's start at $25/hr and RN's at $32/hr.

On a side note, I had a quick talk with one of my bosses today (who I trust to keep his mouth shut until I make an actual decision) and he told me that he could work the schedule so that I worked a straight 40 hour work week, 8 AM to 4:30 PM. So, that would mean I can keep my job, my higher pay, my accrued vacation and sick time, and my company truck AND go to college at night. Hell, this thing might actually work out after all, LOL.
 

·
III
Joined
·
1,254 Posts
Good be a nurse. EMS/Fire is not ever going to pay as well as nursing. Add to that the long hours 228-240 hours a month, hard to get days off and nursing wins hands down. Good luck.
 

·
Prov 3:18
Joined
·
2,235 Posts
Honestly,if I could have a do over I would do both.You can get your EMT which is a relatively short course,then work in an ED as a tech through nursing school.This would give you both experience and some money during nursing school(some hospitals will even help pay for your school).Then continue working as a nurse at the same place through medic school.This would give you a good versitility as to future employment(nursing,medic,flight medic,flight nurse............).As long as you maintain and advance your licensure and training I can't see ever not having a job.

EMS is like having a crazy wife,you love her,but you're pretty sure she'll kill you one day.
Nursing is a lot more stable and easier on the body,not to mention paying better for a lot fewer hours.
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top