There is no such thing as a “shortcut” from EMT to RN. In the first place, the emergency medical training covers only around 110 hours of advanced first-aid or emergency course with no prerequisites.
EMT courses are designed to teach individuals a set of job-ready skills. RN, on the other hand, is a professional title that one obtains after completing a degree and passing a licensure.
Registered nursing starts with a solid nursing knowledge foundation, where skills are learned later in the coursework.
If you are already an EMT, your advantage will be more on your emotional preparedness because you have been in and out of medical facilities, have dealt with emergency situations, and have seen first-hand how RNs and other members of the medical team work. Weave those advantages with these steps to go from an EMT to RN.
Before anything else, you need to obtain the required education to become an RN. Here are your options:
Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN)
Completing an Associate’s Degree in Nursing is one of the shortest routes to becoming an RN. Generally, it takes only two to three years to complete the program.
Aside from liberal arts and sciences, the curriculum also includes core nursing and hands-on clinical coursework. Some of the standard courses include Anatomy, Biology, Nutrition, and Physiology.
ADN programs are offered at various universities and community colleges around the country. Scout for schools in your area. Inquire about their specific requirements for admission, the cost of the course and the credits they give to units earned in your previous education and training.
Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
The bachelor’s degree entails two more years on top of what an associate’s degree requires. Depending on the time you commit to studying nursing, a BSN will take around 4-6 years to complete.
If you have plans to become an advanced practice nurse (APN) in the future, this route should be a sensible one to take.
The BSN is a combination of liberal arts, science, and core nursing and clinical courses. Depending on the school you choose, the curriculum may include around 60-90 units of general education and introduction to nursing courses.
Around 90-100 units will focus on the nursing discipline, and include courses in Pharmacology, Biostatistics, Psychiatric Nursing, Health and Disease Prevention, Medical Care for Surgical Patients, Critical Care, Maternity Nursing, Pediatric Nursing, Public Health, Physical Assessment, Research, Leadership, and Clinical Internship.
EMT-P-to-RN Bridge Programs
EMTs with advanced training, education and experience, and have become Paramedics (or EMT-Ps) have a slightly different situation over EMT-Basic.
They have acquired at least 1100 hours of classroom training and 500 hours of field training and internship.
For them, an EMT to RN bridge program is available which take less than two years to complete. The usual format for an EMT to RN bridge program online involves distance learning options that help them build on nursing theory and procedures.
Laboratory classes and supervised clinical training are often done in labs and clinical facilities once a week. Many EMT-Ps prefer this because it allows them to continue working as professional paramedics while studying.
To enter a EMT to RN online program, you must be an EMT-P and must present strong grades in the sciences, such as biology and chemistry.
Most schools have a GPA requirement, so make sure that you include this in the questions as you search for schools that offer the program. The coursework usually includes general education and core nursing programs.
When you come across online schools with EMT-P-to-RN bridge programs, inquire whether they grant the ADN degree.
Many online schools will facilitate the online classes, but will refer you to another school that will grant the degree. This often means that you need to take an assessment test from the second school, complete additional hours for clinical training and laboratories, and pay additional cost, naturally.
Decisions: EMT to RN
Ideally, you will be looking for a program that will allow a flexible format and scheduling of classes so you may continue working as EMT.
It would also be best if the program and school you finally choose will give credit on previous education and clinical experience. Some schools do have these elements, but there are not too many true “bridge” programs.
A real bridge program would give credit to EMT education and translate that into 25-30 college credit hours.
Take the NCLEX-RN
After completing your associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing, you have to take and pass the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN).
Be aware that qualification requirements for the NCLEX-RN vary by state, so it’s best that you inquire from the State Board of Nursing in your locality for added information.
I hope this helps you go from EMT to RN.