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Paramedic to RN Bridge Programs

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Paramedics provide medical care and life-saving assistance to patients while en route to the hospital. At the hospital, care of the patient is taken over by nurses and physicians. Paramedic to RN bridge programs allow a paramedic to build upon the education he or she has acquired in pursuit of becoming a paramedic and apply it to an associate degree that will allow them to become a registered nurse.

Paramedics have advanced life-saving skills and some nursing skills, including the ability to start IV lines, administer medications, handle complex airway devices, assess patient conditions, deal with cardiac and traumatic emergencies, and work to stabilize a patient until they can be taken to the appropriate medical facility. This training can help paramedics jump into the paramedic to RN bridge program to earn their associate degree.

Paramedic to RN Bridge Programs

To meet the minimum requirements for the paramedic to RN bridge programs, applicants must be working paramedics or have a minimum number of years of paramedic experience. Other admissions requirements vary from one school to another, but usually include a certain number of prerequisite classes and a minimum grade point average. Those who enter the paramedic to RN bridge program can expect to see the following topics included in the curriculum:

  • Introduction to Nursing -- a basic course explaining nursing principles and practice, including nursing theory as well as the difference in roles from paramedic to nurse.
  • Transition for the Paramedic -- focus on nursing as a profession, role transition, nursing health assessment, trends in nursing, philosophies of bedside care and select nursing skills.
  • Nursing Seminar -- emphasis on the transition to staff nurse from paramedic, including dealing with issues relevant to work as a nurse in a hospital or clinic environment.
  • Nursing Care of Children -- focuses on creating a treatment plan and accurate health assessments for children of all ages, how health problems affect children and long-term effects of health issues from infants to adolescents.
  • Nursing Process -- these bridge courses focus on nursing as a discipline, required skill sets and knowledge, working with other nurses in a team capacity, and communication concepts.
  • Sociology -- general theories of the field, including research methods, social interactions, the impact of culture, social structures and the impact of society on behavior of individuals and groups.
  • Microbiology -- examines microbial structure and function, identification, growth and control, genetics and infectious diseases.
  • Statistics -- collecting and analyzing data, probability distributions, numerical methods and more in relation to nursing practice and patient analysis.

Paramedic to RN schools often require that certain prerequisites be met before entry into the program, such as basic courses in biology, algebra, psychology, pharmacology and the like. In many cases, paramedic programs offer these courses, so those who have graduated from an accredited paramedic program might have most or all of the prerequisites already completed.

Certification and Licensure

Upon successful completion of the paramedic to RN bridge program, students can sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses. Passing grades on the NCLEX-RN are required to become a registered nurse. In addition to the license requirement, each state might have other requirements. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing can provide further information on each state's expectations.

Work Environment and Typical Responsibilities

Those who graduate from paramedic to RN programs could find varying responsibilities in their new nursing positions, depending upon where they choose to work. Registered nurses can find employment in hospitals, clinics, home health care, offices of physicians, long term care, rehabilitation facilities and more.

The general responsibilities of registered nurses include:

  • Recording patient histories, vitals, medications and current health complaints
  • Administering medications and treatments for various injuries and illnesses
  • Working with doctors to determine the best course of action for treatment
  • Performing diagnostic tests and analyzing results
  • Using various forms of medical equipment
  • Teaching patients and their families to deal with illnesses, treatments and at-home care

Some registered nurses might handle other duties, such as supervising other nurses, technicians or aides, speaking with the public about health and disease prevention, and running blood drives and outreach programs, among others. Some registered nurses might also choose to earn certifications that allow them to specialize in a particular nursing skill.

Salary Information and Employment Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a favorable job outlook for registered nurses, with 26 percent growth expected between 2010 and 2020 (bls.gov/ooh, 2012). The national mean annual salary for registered nurses was $67,930 in May 2012 (bls.gov/oes, 2013).

Sources:

Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition: EMTs and Paramedics
Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition: Registered Nurses
Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment Statistics Registered Nurses
Community College of Baltimore County: Paramedic to RN Bridge
Santa Fe College: Associate of Nursing Bridge -- Paramedic to RN
Stark State College: RN Completion for Paramedic


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