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Nursing or paramedics -> medicine

Ok, so I am really confused!
I want to desperately study grad. med but I don’t know what path would be better. I want to study a degree that, in case I change my mind or don’t get into med, I would enjoy. Nursing and Paramedics are the two degrees I am thinking of and I can see myself doing either. However, I am also trying to consider which degree is more relevant to Med. in terms of study.
It would be really great if somebody studying nursing and thinking of doing med or a “Nurse-gone to-medicine” could help me clear my confusion. I need some info about the relevance of nursing to medicine.
Oh, and one more question, how does one become a Critical Care Nurse?
 

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Jordan

Regular Member
I don't really know much about either but I know that for grad entry you don't need to have learnt anything relevant to medicine at all. I suggest you study whichever you think you would enjoy more and not worry about it's relevance to med
 

iUsername

Regular Member
Ok, so I am really confused!
I want to desperately study grad. med but I don’t know what path would be better. I want to study a degree that, in case I change my mind or don’t get into med, I would enjoy. Nursing and Paramedics are the two degrees I am thinking of and I can see myself doing either. However, I am also trying to consider which degree is more relevant to Med. in terms of study.
It would be really great if somebody studying nursing and thinking of doing med or a “Nurse-gone to-medicine” could help me clear my confusion. I need some info about the relevance of nursing to medicine.
Oh, and one more question, how does one become a Critical Care Nurse?
If you don't get into medicine, I think Nursing will offer you more variety. You can train up in different specilizations or become a nurse practitioner so you'll have experiences similar to that of a doctor. [MENTION=2418]scarah[/MENTION] is a registered nurse so perhaps you can PM her?
 

scarah

Regular Member
Any undergraduate bachelor degree will enable you to apply for grad entry medicine. Nursing and paramedics are quite different careers though and it might be worth doing a bit of research and seeing if you can talk to people in both disciplines. Obviously the work environments are very different even though the skill set might have some overlap, it's worth noting that you can often move into paramedics from critical care nursing with relative ease... however moving the other way is not so easy and required 18mnths to 2 years of study. So in that way it can be worth doing nursing as it keeps the paramedic door open as well.

Critical care nursing generally means that you
1) complete your nursing degree of 3 years undergrad
2) do a graduate year
3) get a year 2 job in a critical care area which is associated with enrolling in postgrad study in critical care (often online through a uni) often this is a two-year process

Some hospitals offer ICU/HDU/ED as part of a graduate year rotation which helps when applying for yr 2 positions. Yr 2 positions in ICU/ED are often popular and you may not be successful straight away. It may be a lot easier to move into ICU within a smaller private hospital, once you have experience there moving into a bigger public ICU will be a lot easier.

Difference between paramedics and nurses:
Autonomy - paramedics work autonomously, but are required to follow strict protocols and decision making flow charts
Team work - nursing involves a lot more interaction with other health care providers
Continuity of care - nursing often involves longer term care, as a paramedic you may never know what happens to the pt after you get them to hospital
Stress and control - paramedics is probably more unpredictable, varied etc this may be good or bad depending on what you like
Work hours - paramedics work longer shifts but have more days off, shift work is common in both but can be avoided in some areas of nursing
Flexibility - as a nurse you have a choice of employer - NSW health, private hospital, general practice etc etc as an ambo you are stuck with the ambo service... like it or not which means you have less say over where you work (transfers are possible but you may not be able to work where you want to be based).

hope that helps
 

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Nurse Jay

Member
Scarah's comments are right on the mark. Paramedics do work autonomously. It wasn't mentioned that you can become a qualified paramedic by applying to the Ambulance Service of NSW or the Ambulance Service of your home state. Becoming a paramedic in the Ambulance Services involves a selection/aptitude test, an induction course (8 weeks of classroom based training), 30+ weeks of on-road training, your first in-service (3 weeks classroom based training), then you are officially an intern paramedic (46 weeks on road training), your second in-service (3 weeks classroom based training) and recognition as a Qualified Paramedic following the award of a Diploma in Paramedical Science Pre-Hospital Care. You are paid for all on-road training including during internship. University graduates with a paramedic degree may be fast-tracked to Qualified Paramedic status after one year. Paramedics may specialise in anaesthesia or intensive care.
Becoming a paramedic - Ambulance Service of NSW
Paramedic Training - Ambulance Service of NSW

Another option if you can't decide between nursing or paramedical science is to become a flight nurse. This is a unique opportunity with the Ambulance Service of NSW to become an autonomous nurse. Flight nurses must be Registered Nurses and Registered Midwives, have a qualification or broad experience in "Aviation Nursing or adult critical care fields limited to Emergency, Cardiac, Cardiothoracic or Intensive Care Nursing", ability to swim and an unrestricted Class C Driver's Licence NSW or equivalent. There are some other requirements.
Become a Flight Nurse - Ambulance Service of NSW

Whichever field you choose, hospital or community nursing, paramedic pre-hospital care or flight nursing, you will be well-prepared for graduate-entry medicine after a few years' experience because you will have clinical skills, your own bedside manner and relevant medical knowledge, not to mention a tonne of life experience. Consider doing what scarah did and applying to undergraduate medical degree programs (such as UWS, University of Newcastle and University of New England) which accept applications from graduates. You will have to complete UMAT however this test is much less science-based and also shorter in duration than GAMSAT.

Good luck.
 

Dr Worm

Regular Member
[MENTION=10450]I have a Dream[/MENTION] (re the OP). I started (didn't finish) a B. Nursing. Much of it was relevant, I think much of paramedics would be relevant. I think a broad classical education is relevant. I think a science background would be helpful. (I'm more the former, not so much the later). Realistically, I think studying any degree that you want to do for it's own sake + can live with the career outcomes of is a good idea.

In short, do what you want to do. None of them "get you into med", so do what you love, or atleast like.
 

patch

Member
I studied nursing for a year before I headed into med. It was a surprisingly great course (well the anatomy, physiology, biochem stuff anyway - the nursing ethics and law was fairly dull). But seriously, nursing is so underrated in terms of the knowledge they must learn and acquire. I've been using all my notes on last year, and am often surprised at about how much I learnt (well, and then forgot hence why I'm surprised). So content-wise = really good foundations. I also developed a lot of clinical skills too - BP, injections, communication skills, wound dressings etc etc

I was really interested in paramedics, and would have thought if I never made it in to med, that I would have done a course after nursing in it - which is another pathway to consider... gives you more choice and skill base!
 

Nurse Jay

Member
I studied nursing for a year before I headed into med. It was a surprisingly great course (well the anatomy, physiology, biochem stuff anyway - the nursing ethics and law was fairly dull). But seriously, nursing is so underrated in terms of the knowledge they must learn and acquire. I've been using all my notes on last year, and am often surprised at about how much I learnt (well, and then forgot hence why I'm surprised). So content-wise = really good foundations. I also developed a lot of clinical skills too - BP, injections, communication skills, wound dressings etc etc

I was really interested in paramedics, and would have thought if I never made it in to med, that I would have done a course after nursing in it - which is another pathway to consider... gives you more choice and skill base!
This is what I try to tell people! As a student nurse in first year currently ...I have already started anatomy and physiology. We go through all the body systems, heriditary, sense and senescense (not sure how to spell that word but it means that relationships between the senses and between different body systems). We've watch videos of live dissections and we share a campus with medical students who we get to mix with and who can sometimes answer questions (and sometimes we can answer questions for them too!). That's the thing with nursing - the public perception of what a nurse does is a much narrower, limited scope of duties than what a nurse actually does.

We spend the most time with the patients. Nurses are the people who recognise signs of patients' health conditions becoming unstable, and signs of deterioration. And we don't just stand there, press the emergency buzzer and wait for a doctor, we get in there and we do something! Then a doctor comes and talks to the patient and explains everything the nurses have done so it looks like he/she did all the work and that the nurses just do what they're told! Ugh. Just speaking from my practical and personal experiences.
 

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will22

Regular Member
And we don't just stand there, press the emergency buzzer and wait for a doctor, we get in there and we do something! Then a doctor comes and talks to the patient and explains everything the nurses have done so it looks like he/she did all the work and that the nurses just do what they're told! Ugh. Just speaking from my practical and personal experiences.
Try not to dish out cheap shots, based on whatever the limited anecdotal evidence you have as a 1st year nursing student. It's embarrassing and looks as though you are insecure about the value of your profession. It's fine to assert the value of a nurses work and scope of practice, but don't try and bring down a group of people who will be your teammates, collegues and perhaps friends when you get out into the work force.
 

kizza_boy

Regular Member
This is what I try to tell people! As a student nurse in first year currently ...I have already started anatomy and physiology. We go through all the body systems, heriditary, sense and senescense (not sure how to spell that word but it means that relationships between the senses and between different body systems). We've watch videos of live dissections and we share a campus with medical students who we get to mix with and who can sometimes answer questions (and sometimes we can answer questions for them too!). That's the thing with nursing - the public perception of what a nurse does is a much narrower, limited scope of duties than what a nurse actually does.

We spend the most time with the patients. Nurses are the people who recognise signs of patients' health conditions becoming unstable, and signs of deterioration. And we don't just stand there, press the emergency buzzer and wait for a doctor, we get in there and we do something! Then a doctor comes and talks to the patient and explains everything the nurses have done so it looks like he/she did all the work and that the nurses just do what they're told! Ugh. Just speaking from my practical and personal experiences.
And being in semester 2 of your first year of nursing, you must have had so many of those.
 

miss_universe

muse.
Emeritus Staff
Alright, enough bagging. Move on (please do not reply unless it is constructive)
 

Havox

Sword and Martini Guy!
Emeritus Staff
Agree with Muse. Though the point about lack of experience is valid.
 

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Nurse Jay

Member
And being in semester 2 of your first year of nursing, you must have had so many of those.
Don't be so sarcastic...it's rude but more to the point it's unnecessary. What makes you better than me? You're a medical student surely you must value the work nurses and their students do? And I have worked in a hospital and heard patients talk about nurses as though they are simply technicians trained to operate sphymomanometers with no skills is assessing a blood pressure or acting on an abnormal value for a particular patient's defined range of normal values as seen in the obs chart.

Anyway what would I know? As you say ooh I'm in semester 2 of first year of nursing and have had no practical or personal experience in healthcare.

I don't understand why people on this forum are so quick to judge without actually knowing the first thing about my situation or the situations and personal circumstances of other users whom I have at times seen criticised for their perceived naivety when really, the tall poppy syndrome of a select few (a minority) medical students is what's truly the issue.

Whenever I do try to stand up for what I believe in on these forums I just get told I'm stupid or that I don't know any better. Well I know a lot more than you would expect and I am constantly accessing medical and nursing literature through the resources available through my university to learn more about specific illness, anatomy and physiology as well as patients' perceptions and team dynamics/skill mix in hospitals.

I have worked in a hospital full time for five weeks. No it's not 2 years. No I'm not a medical student. No I don't think I want to be a doctor at this stage in my life. Who cares? Just know that I am not dumb and am far from naive.

Try not to dish out cheap shots, based on whatever the limited anecdotal evidence you have as a 1st year nursing student. It's embarrassing and looks as though you are insecure about the value of your profession. It's fine to assert the value of a nurses work and scope of practice, but don't try and bring down a group of people who will be your teammates, collegues and perhaps friends when you get out into the work force.
Um this is awkward because I already have doctor and nurse friends. Anyway... we take ourselves a lot less seriously in real life than people do on the Internet - funny that! You have to learn to tell the difference between me being tongue in cheek or having a little joke etc this being different to intentionally doling out a cheap shot at doctors. I am highly appreciative of the work that doctors do, it makes the work that nurses are responsible for possible and vice versa!

I see from your profile that you are also a first year nursing/paramedic student. Surely you can understand that after 5 forty hour weeks in a hospital for the first time I feel a little burnt out and just want to laugh about everything and have a bit of fun? Anyway maybe I'm wasting my breath trying to explain. I don't know.

Lighten up a little bit peoples! ;)

Alright, enough bagging. Move on (please do not reply unless it is constructive)
I am sick and tired of the bagging me out. God knows it happened enough in high school. You're medical students...and dental students etc...just grow up. I'm not perfect and I know that. What is the value in constantly, viciously attacking any post I make based on 'lack of experience'? Everyone has a lack of experience at some stage in ANY career and the fact that most users of this forum are students would suggest many, many people here are lacking some serious experience. Not just me.
 
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JeremiahGreenspoon

Regular Member
[offtopic]I completely agree with NJ's statements above. Someone can be contributing quite useful information, and make one mildly controversial, if light-hearted, comment and people are far too keen to jump on those statements and ignore the rest. It seems to happen a lot to junior members too, and sometimes I wonder if MSO needs to control it more actively instead of ganging up on people. My two cents, and I don't give a crap if nobody cares, I've seen NJ's posts and he does provide a lot of useful information for people so I'm just sticking up for him.[/offtopic]
 

Sam

¿umm?
Can't help but agree with the above, the older members here jump on anyone who has a slightly different or misinformed opinion. Doesn't really create much of a welcoming community to new members.
 

miss_universe

muse.
Emeritus Staff
Look, lets keep this thread on topic, if you have a complaint, then you can report it to a mod, start a new thread or otherwise. I am just trying to stop making all these threads go on to a big bitch session. Please only reply is it is back to the topic.
 

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Look at it this way. There will always be medical dominence in nursing/allied health/ pharmacy. Long as5 hours. Poor pay. No respect. Good stepping stone to other professions.
 

Syn

Regular Member
[offtopic]
Can't help but agree with the above, the older members here jump on anyone who has a slightly different or misinformed opinion. Doesn't really create much of a welcoming community to new members.
A friend of mine who I went to school with, who is a relative nooby on MSO had the exact same sentiments about the 'older members', and a few members in particular

[/offtopic]

With regards to the OP's original question, I've got a friend in Med who's a qualified Paramedic (works weekends back in his hometown as an Ambo), and a few more friends who are qualified Nurses. In terms of what will help you in Medicine, based on personal opinion, and the amount of clinical exposure nurses get these days, I think Nursing may help you out more than becoming a Paramedic. I find that although the nurses don't know the underlying physiology of why something happens, they know what drug to give to whatever symptom arises, if that makes sense. I know that for a lot of them, it's like a lightbulb going off, 'Oh so that's why I give X drug to treat Y condition!', so in my personal opinion, Nursing would be the better option.
 

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