Online paramedic to RN bridge programs allow currently certified paramedics to take their careers to the next level without repeating coursework or spending the time needed to complete an associate or bachelor’s degree from scratch. Given that paramedics already possess many overlapping skills and knowledge, accelerated degrees build on their education and experience to create tailored bridge programs that help them compete for RN roles. Before applying to programs, it’s important to identify top schools, make sure programs have the proper accreditation, and understand all your educational and career options. This page breaks down everything you need to move from a paramedic into a nursing career.
2019’s Best Paramedic to RN Bridge Programs Online
The accelerated format of paramedic to RN programs allows students to translate their existing knowledge into an associate degree in nursing (ADN) or a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) without repeating many of the same courses they have already completed. A collection of quality schools that offer these online bridge programs are featured below.
Paramedic to RN Degree Options
After deciding to walk away from working as a paramedic and instead pursue additional education to become an RN, prospective learners can select from two bridge programs leading to different degree outcomes. While paramedic to ADN programs are the more common option, BSN programs also exist. While the ADN focuses on more foundational topics, the BSN goes more in-depth. Because these learners are transitioning from careers in the medical profession already, both options are quicker than traditional ADN/BSN programs for first-time degree seekers. Review the descriptions below and consider where you want your career to go after graduation.
Benefits of an Online Paramedic to RN Bridge Program
Completing an online paramedic to RN bridge program offers myriad benefits to individuals looking to boost their careers. In addition to saving money and moving more quickly through coursework by not starting from scratch in a generic nursing program, students can also take advantage of online options that make it easier to complete coursework while maintaining a job. Learners also gain important skills that help prepare them for work as an RN. According to Clark State Community College, graduates walk away with an understanding of patient-centered care, communication and collaboration, evidence-based practice, safety, technology, professionalism, and leadership.
Skills Learned in the Online Paramedic to RN Bridge
Online paramedic to RN bridge programs help certified paramedics take the next step in their careers by teaching them the skills and knowledge needed to work as a registered nurse. While many paramedics possess some of the same skills used by RNs, these programs help round out their knowledge and create a fuller toolbox of nursing skills. Aside from learning about all the clinical skills related to care of patients, RNs must also learn about communication strategies, frameworks for management and leadership, and evolving technologies used in care. Some of the other top skills gained include:
- Clinical skills: Every single shift in a hospital is unique, making it imperative for RNs to fully understand a range of life-saving measures. Some of these include acute care, advanced cardiac life support, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), critical care, and telemetry.
- Communication: RNs work alongside other medical professionals in fast-paced and sometimes stressful environments where every second counts. Because of this, they must be able to communicate effectively with other healthcare professionals about courses of action, communicate with patients to learn any vital information (allergies, etc.) and communicate with families to let them know about treatment and care.
- Attention to detail: RNs complete minor procedures and administer medicine to their patients, making it imperative that they possess extraordinary attention to detail. Giving a patient the wrong dose of medicine could have dire consequences leading to distress or even death.
- Organization: Registered nurses take care of many patients throughout their shifts, making it important for them to stay organized while on rounds and keep thorough notes on their patients’ charts. In addition to keeping themselves organized, this also helps incoming nurses who take over shifts know what has been done for the patient.
- Emotional stability: Working with injured and/or sick patients can take an emotional toll on anyone – especially on days where it feels overwhelming or sad. Nurses must learn how to embrace emotional resilience, remain professional in front of patients and their families, and take care of their mental health along the way.
Job Outlook for Paramedics Who Become RNs
Before shifting careers from being a paramedic to a registered nurse, many prospective students want to know if the job offers stability. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, roles for RNs are projected to grow by 15% between 2016 and 2026. Nearly three million RNs worked in America as of 2016 and the BLS predicts that approximately 438,000 roles will be added. Reasons for this growth include an increased demand for healthcare services from an aging population, more nurses needed in facilities such as long-term care centers, retiring nurses, and a need for nurse educators to train incoming RNs.
The majority of RNs work in hospitals (61%), but they can also be found in ambulatory healthcare services (18%), nursing and residential care facilities (7%), government agencies such as the military (5%), and educational services (3%). Government roles tend to offer the highest annual salaries at an average of $75,900, while roles in education services offer the lowest at $60,300. Both of these numbers rank high above the national average for all occupations, which sits at $37,690.
When looking at how RN positions stack up against other professions for those working in medicine and healthcare, nurses rank favorably. Check out the table below for more details.
|Role||Required Education||2017 Median Pay||Projected Growth, 2016-2026|
|Dental Hygienist||Associate Degree||$74,070||20%|
|Diagnostic Medical Sonographer||Associate Degree||$65,620||17%|
|EMT||Postsecondary Nondegree Award||$33,380||15%|
|Licensed Practical Nurse||Postsecondary Nondegree Award||$45,030||12%|
|Respiratory Therapist||Associate Degree||$59,710||23%|
|Physician Assistant||Master’s Degree||$104,860||37%|
Differences between the Paramedic and RN Professions?
|More autonomy. Working alongside a partner, paramedics often make split-second decisions about emergency care as doctors are not on-hand to provide consultation.||Team oriented. RNs work under the supervision of doctors and other medical professionals and on a team of other nurses to create a cohesive plan of care while the patient is at the healthcare facility.|
|Some specialization options. Paramedics can choose to specialize their knowledge in areas of advanced life support, community care, critical care, and flight/travel.||More specialization options. RNs can choose from more specialization options, including neonatal, midwifery, critical care, dialysis, health policy, informatics, education, advocacy, research, pain management, trauma, and travel – to name a few.|
|Responsibility mostly pre-hospital emergency care. Paramedics serve their patients immediately following an accident or health incident, working to stabilize them en route to the hospital where they receive more comprehensive care.||Broader scope of responsibility. Nurses take over where paramedics leave off and oversee a range of treatment modalities. Patients remain in their care for the entirety of their stay in the healthcare facility, meaning nurses take on a broader range of responsibilities.|
|Often 24-hour window on call. Because no one can predict when paramedics receive an emergency call, they tend to work on call rather than a set schedule.||Fixed shifts/hours. The majority of RNs work fixed shifts in rotations, making their schedules more predictable.|
How Do Paramedic and RN Salaries Compare?
When considering the shift from paramedic to RN, money inevitably receives consideration. Paramedics and RNs alike earn livable salaries, but RNs do make significantly more – and have the potential to earn even more if they complete additional education or specialize in a particular area. When looking at potential salaries, individuals should remember that paramedics and RNs make different amounts based on where they live, whom they work for, how much experience they possess, and how much responsibility they take on. Review the table below to get a sense of average, low, and top pay for individuals in these roles.