I’m A Paramedic. Should I Take An Er Tech. Job?

I work full time on the ambulance as a paramedic, but the place I work has no benefits… My local hospital is hiring full time ER tech II’s (paramedics). I’m tempted to try for the job, but I hear Nurses abuse Paramedic’s in the ER, due to the fact that a paramedic can do nearly everything an RN can do….What’s your advice on the matter? Any experience? Thanks.

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4 Responses to “I’m A Paramedic. Should I Take An Er Tech. Job?”

  1. Kelly says:

    Well, one thing you need to figure out is whether you’ll be a patient care tech or a paramedic. I work in all positions at my ER to get as many hours as I feel like that week. If I am in the paramedic role, I make more than a patient care tech and half of my shift is spent in triage whereas the other position is basically starting IVs, transporting patients who are high risk up to the floor on a monitor, inserting foleys and straight caths, and drawing blood.
    As a patient care tech, the two hospitals I’ve worked in the ER had us in slightly different roles. As a patient care tech, I transported patients but not up to the floors, took vital signs, did not triage, did not start IVs, I did draw blood with butterfly needles, and could insert foleys. Since I get a pay difference as a pct than when I am a phlebo or a paramedic, I make it clear what role I am in.
    In my other state, they don’t use patient care techs in the ER but mostly paramedics. You will have a lot of cleaning and will not be able to act under the same rules you have on your ambulance. You will be a glorified patient care tech. There are still a lot of cleaning rooms and stocking too.
    Now, where Buddy is getting at is that your role in the ER will be very limited. All ERs I have been in do not let paramedics push drugs outside of a code situation. You have to wait for a doctor’s order to do anything. Also, the doctors intubate not paramedics 90% of the time unless they like the paramedic.
    Buddy seems to be under the impression that an RN can just take a paramedic test. In both states I am registered in, this is not true. Both states require they take a transition class and still complete time in the ER and on the ambulances. Even a physician had to take the transition class to work on an ambulance (he was not an emergency physician). However, this can get even more complicated when you deal with the mobiles and life flight since some are still physician headed and others are RN lead.
    I can name a few skills that most paramedics cannot do. They cannot drip a lot of the meds that RNs can. They cannot insert picc lines. They cannot remove drains. They cannot remove central lines. They cannot pack a wound. RNs have a different scope of practice because they have such a huge range of skills. As much as I would like to say paramedics know a lot, paramedics have similar skills but not as much as an RN does. An RN has to know a larger range of drugs, what can mix with what, what they can push and what they can’t, how to insert different things, etc. The RNs go to school longer so it’s kind of expected. However, after a few years out of school, a lot of RNs lose the skills they don’t use that often. An experienced med-surg nurse will struggle for a little bit in surgery or in the ER whereas an ER nurse may struggle with managing patients up on the floor if they haven’t worked as a floor nurse in a long time. On the flip side, paramedics can do other skills that the RN cannot do under the scope of practice laws.
    The way I view it is that it’s two different roles. An RN is an RN and fulfills the RN role whereas the paramedic is a paramedic who fulfills a paramedic role.
    What I would do? I would take the job in the ER and see if you can get into a private on per diem. That way you can mix it up a little bit. I work in the ER as a unit clerk, paramedic, patient care tech, and phlebo to rotate what I do along with picking up hours on the hospital’s private ambulance. The benefits of working in a hospital system is innumerable. Discounts, different positions I can move into, a little bit more per hour than what I would make on the road, I earn vacation time, and tuition reimbursement.
    As for nurses abusing paramedics, usually not. It’s usually goes both ways. The paramedics will refuse to help nurses they don’t like and nurses will abuse the paramedics that they don’t like. It really depends on the dynamics you have with the group. I’ve never been abused, but I have seen nurses get f**** over by other paramedics.

  2. Buddy says:

    Paramedics can do a few of the skills as an RN in some ERs but not many. They can start IVs in a few but the RN must supervise all meds given if that is allowed. The biggest difference between an RN and a Paramedic is that an RN has more than just skills to their name. They also have the education to know why they are or should do the “skills”. A votech cert teaching a couple of cool skills in not “everything a nurse” can do.
    A more accurate phrase would be, the RN can do all of the skills a Paramedic can. In the hospital, the RN skillset can by far exceeds anything in a Paramedic scope of practice.
    I suggest you not apply to an ER tech position when you think you already know it all and have no clue about how little you do know. A few skills are just one part of being a good healthcare provider especially in an ER where there are many complex needs. Try AMR ambulance. Sometimes they have benefits.

  3. Freefrom says:

    If you are looking for experience, do the ER tech job, you will see and interact with many different patients, nurses, and doctors.
    If you are looking to exercise your autonomy, do the EMT job, you may see a quite a bit, but there is a lot of downtime or scut work depending on where you are at. The downtime can be good study time.
    If you are looking for knowledge, become a paramedic. You do a ton of clinical hours in the various hospital settings, lots of ambulance time, and when you are done, you will be able to get more decent of a job with a lot of autonomy and skills.
    Feedback #1
    I started with the 2nd one, tried to get on as the first option, then ended up going with the third option. I now work as a paramedic in a small town, when I am not on calls (more often than not) I work in the ER essentially as an ER nurse. I get a ton of patient care experience, a ton of experience with managing multiple patients, and a great chance to work on my diagnostic abilities. Paramedic school took me a year part time and only cost me $6000. That being said, I only got a few dollars an hour raise from my other jobs, but I surely enjoy my job a lot more.
    I would definitely take a paramedic course before Id bother with a phlebotomy course.
    Feedback #2
    No, a Registered Nurse cannot work as a Paramedic.
    The simple explanation is that they require two different licenses. For example, if you have a driver’s license does that mean you can drive a semi or a motorcycle? No, because they each require different licenses.
    Now, if you have a nursing license, obtaining an EMT license is probably going to be easier for you, but you’ll still need to meet the qualifications for both – which utlimately means different programs (although they will have some things in common, like anatomy & physiology).
    Which is better? That is up to you, Emergency Room work can be just as fast paced and exciting as working on an ambulance. But, the focus is completely different.
    One thing that you might want to consider is that some Emergency Rooms hire paramedic/EMTs to work in the ER as pseudo-nursing assistants. They are normally called ER Techs, and are similar to what nursing assistants do on the floors in a hospital.
    I know alot of EMTs who moonlight at their local ERs. That way, you could have the best of both worlds. If you can, find someone who works in the local ER and start asking questions. Then, go to the local ambulance service or school and ask to speak to a counselor.

  4. Jope says:

    I work with the oaramed in my er im a resipiratiry therapis. Our hospital pay about 16 bucks an hour full benefits pto and all that depends on the olace some nurses do and other nurses do not its a crap shoot.

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