20 Helpful Tips When Transitioning from Paramedic to RN

A paramedic who wants to begin a career as a registered nurse (RN) can enroll in a paramedic-to-RN program, which includes bridge programs that allow students to take the the NCLEX-RN upon program completion. Becoming a RN can lead to a significant salary boost, since RNs can earn up to twice as much as a paramedic or an EMT. The following are 20 helpful tips to for you to use when transitioning from a paramedic to RN. This list includes information that you will need when enrolling in a program, classes you may want to brush up on (from online OpenCourseWare programs), and sites that will help you study for your NCLEX-RN.

Possible Entry Requirements

The following list includes all the possible requirements that any college might ask from your for application to a paramedic-to-RN program admission:

Paramedic Unit

  1. Graduated from an Accredited College or University: Most colleges will not accept your paramedic degree if it is not from an accredited college. The goal of accreditation is to ensure that education provided by institutions of higher education meets acceptable levels of quality.
  2. License or Certification: Paramedics must have a current license or certification and have a high school diploma to enter an accredited paramedic-to-RN program. While each state has specific criteria for paramedics, the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians provides the federal entry requirements as well as application and/or certification process.
  3. 2.5 GPA or Greater: Some paramedic-to-RN programs require students to have a minimum of a 2.5 GPA from their paramedic training. Your grade point average (GPA) is calculated by dividing the total amount of grade points earned by the total amount of credit hours attempted.
  4. Submit a Copy of ACT Scores: You can have your ACT scores sent to other colleges and scholarship agencies after you have completed the test in addition to the ones you selected when you registered to take the ACT.
  5. Submit High School Transcript: Instead of contacting the district of your high school, you may be able to order your transcript through Parchment. It is best to contact your high school or look on their website to find out the easiest and safest way to send your transcript.
  6. Fill Out a FAFSA: By filling out and submitting this form in a timely manner, you give any school that you are interested in access to your financial information. This allows the government and the educational institution to determine what type of and how much financial aid you qualify for.

Class Emphasis

Paramedic-to-RN programs offer courses in physical and life sciences, patient care concepts, and health care systems and processes. If you want to get up to speed on various topics, you can do so through OpenCourseWare, free online classes that do not offer credits, but that prove invaluable to easily learn about a subject. Most of the courses listed below may be required by your paramedic-to-RN course, but under different names and possibly with a slightly different focus.


  1. Anatomy: Use this site to study various aspects of anatomy, including skeletal, digestive, muscular, lymphatic, endocrine, nervous, cardiovascular, and urinary systems as well as male and female reproductive systems.
  2. Quantitative Physiology: Organ Transport Systems: This course elaborates on the application of the principles of energy and mass flow to major human organ systems. It also discusses anatomical, physiological, and patho-physiological features of the cardiovascular, respiratory, and renal systems.
  3. Utilization of Nursing Research in Advanced Practice: This promotes an evidence-based approach to advanced nursing practice. Evidenced-based research findings for nursing practice will be evaluated in terms of racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic relevance.
  4. Quality Oversight in the Health Care Marketplace: This describes how concerns about quality are impacting the health care system. The goal of this course is to present practitioners with information, strategies, and tools to manage and provide high quality and cost-effective care for patients.
  5. Microbiology: This will introduce students to the principles of infectious agents. With an emphasis on pathobiology, lecturers will cover a wide range of topics from streptococcus to fastidious bacteria.
  6. Human Development Across the Lifespan: This course is devoted to the study and understanding of constancy and change for human beings in the physical, cognitive, social, and emotional domains interpreted through a variety of theoretical frameworks, contexts, and interdisciplinary research.
  7. Seminar on Health Care Systems Innovation: This type of seminar may focus on the “systems perspective” in order to understand health care delivery today, its stakeholders and problems as well as opportunities. The “systems perspective” has been used successfully in other industries, and will address the introduction of new processes, technologies, and strategies to improve overall health outcomes.
  8. Child and Maternal Health Care: There are a number of courses that deal with health across the lifespan, infant mortality, reproductive epidemiology, and family planning.
  9. Nutrition and Health:The courses available on nutrition range from urban food environments to food and nutrition policy and obesity economics.
  10. Ethical Issues in Public Health: Typically in the form of lectures and small group discussions, this course may focus on ethical theory and current ethical issues in public health and health policy. Topics covered here could include resource allocation, the use of summary measures of health, the right to health care, and conflicts between autonomy and health promotion efforts.


Registered Nurse

The following sites explain the NCLEX-RN as well as offer tips and study help.

  1. NCLEX: This Wikipedia entry explains the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse exam for licensing of nurses in the U.S. Most of the questions of the NCLEX-RN exam are worded multiple choice questions. In recent years, however, the Boards of Nursing have added broader questions that do not involve multiple choice.
  2. NCLEX Examinations: As you focus in on NCLEX preparation, you will also want to prepare to successfully navigate the examination process. You can increase confidence and reduce test anxiety by being fully prepared for the test experience through this National Council of State Boards of Nursing site.
  3. NCLEX Study Guide: This site explains how the NCLEX-RN test works, and offers five sets of practice questions and a free study guide to download.
  4. NCLEX Test Review: This web site was created to help students overcome the challenge of the NCLEX questions. Hopefully you can avoid mistakes others have made when preparing for the NCLEX, and will find it helpful and informative when dealing with the NCLEX test.