Can a Paramedic Become a Nurse?

A paramedic is an emergency medical services (EMS) provider tasked to respond first to emergencies and administer high-level patient care. Becoming a paramedic is an intense process, which can be made easier with online paramedic test prep like The Video Vault by the Paramedic Coach. Reaching this advanced level of EMS is already a feat, but some individuals may want to expand their career prospects and transition into another healthcare field: nursing.

While both paramedics and nurses are involved in providing care to patients, their backgrounds and responsibilities differ. That said, paramedics can become nurses should they want to expand their medical outlook and earn a higher salary. The most common way to do this is by taking an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing. 

The Differences between a Paramedic and a Nurse

Paramedics and nurses have the same general goal: to care for and save patients. Of course, their missions manifest differently in their day-to-day responsibilities. Here are some of the contrasts between the paramedics and nurses:

Intake and Assessment

Paramedics assess patients as soon as they respond to the scene and must provide an immediate course of action to save the patient. On the other hand, nurses assess patients with a longer term of stay in mind. They must create a care plan and record all data collected in the patient’s record.

Patient Care

Paramedics perform first aid and emergency life-saving procedures for their patients. Meanwhile, nurses are more concerned about ensuring patients’ safety and comfort (while minimizing pain) during their stay in a healthcare facility.

Administering Medication

Paramedics administer emergency medications based on initial assessments on the scene. Nurses, on the other hand, provide emergency, temporary, and routine medicine.

Emergency Care

In cases of emergencies, paramedics are tasked to stabilize patients as they’re moved to a hospital. Nurses respond to situations wherein patient conditions decline.

Patient Monitoring

Paramedics are usually only concerned about monitoring and recording vitals, which they later turn over to hospital staff. On the contrary, nurses monitor that and other attributes like pain, symptoms, health quality, etc. They must constantly update these and maintain detailed records to provide to doctors for diagnoses.

Transitioning from Being a Paramedic to a Nurse

Can I become a paramedic without a degree? Some pathways allow people to become paramedics without obtaining a degree before entering a training program (particularly the EMT route). Still, the same can’t be said for becoming a nurse. While a paramedic can become a nurse, they must first complete an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing to be able to make that transition.

Two bridge programs allow paramedics to become nurses: the paramedic-to-ADN bridge program and the paramedic-to-BSN program.


The paramedic-to-ADN bridge program is designed for paramedics who are currently working. It comes with flexible options and only requires about twelve to eighteen months to finish (three semesters). Students of this course learn nursing theory, practices, ethics, clinical assessment, pediatric and geriatric nursing, psychology and mental health, and nutrition. Graduates can earn licensure in every state.


The paramedic-to-BSN bridge program is suitable for paramedics who want to pursue an advanced nursing path. It takes two to three years to finish and equips you with core subjects both in general education and nursing specializations. Graduates from this course can continue to postgraduate nursing programs and may take on specialty roles like nurse practitioner or nurse-midwife.

Build a Foundation on EMS with The Video Vault

Whether you’re hoping to become a paramedic or have plans to take the paramedic-to-nurse route, you’ll need a solid foundation in EMS. The Video Vault by The Paramedic Coach is designed to help you build a strong understanding of key concepts that can help you advance in your medical career. Get lifetime access today!

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