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I'll spare the forum my life story and cut right to the chase: Which patient care experience would allow an applicant to be more competitive: EMT-B or CNA/STNA?  Or, does it not make a significant difference either way?

I'm currently in the process of deciding which direction to go and am looking for some advice!  CNA/STNA classes seem to be more affordable and easier to obtain, but most of the available positions are in LTAC facilities.  Obtaining an EMT-B certification is more expensive, but it could lead toward higher acuity experience in a hospital setting.  I'm having an open mind to either option but am curious if PA schools seem to value on certification over the other.  (I'm not as concerned with salary of the position but rather what is going to make me the most competitive applicant). 

Thank you in advanced for insights and feedback!

Edited by QuarterLifeCrisis34
added more clarification and typo edit

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I was in the same boat as you. I couldn’t decide between EMT or CNA but I ended up doing CNA. It is very easy to get a CNA job, granted you’ll probably be working in a nursing home in the beginning, but once you have experience, it’s so easy getting into the hospital. Yes, it is easy to land an EMT job, but remember, most schools require you to record hours where you are directly doing patient care, and not when you are driving or have downtime. With CNA, that’s not a problem because you’re always doing patient care. From what I experienced, it’s harder to land an EMT job in a hospital. PA schools don’t care if you have a certification or not, as long as you have competitive PCE hours.

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I was an emt and I loved it. I think the experience you get between both jobs is good for pa school, but the experience is different. As an emt, you’re right on the scene of 911 calls doing critical care stuff (well what’s in your scope) . But like the person above said, most of the time you re sitting waiting for a call. The person above can probably vouch for the cna position, I’m guessing it’s not a lot of critical care stuff but more day to day care of a patient. 

I remember looking for an emt job was hard, so there’s that. It’s expensice too but I liked the emergency setting more so I did emt

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2 hours ago, Patricia5827 said:

I was an emt and I loved it. I think the experience you get between both jobs is good for pa school, but the experience is different. As an emt, you’re right on the scene of 911 calls doing critical care stuff (well what’s in your scope) . But like the person above said, most of the time you re sitting waiting for a call. The person above can probably vouch for the cna position, I’m guessing it’s not a lot of critical care stuff but more day to day care of a patient. 

I remember looking for an emt job was hard, so there’s that. It’s expensice too but I liked the emergency setting more so I did emt

I work in a hospital currently and care for a wide variety of patients! From the non-critical to the very critical so if OP can get a position in a hospital then he/she is set.

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I obtained my EMT license and used that to get a job as an ER tech.  It was a great experience overall and depending on the hospital you work for, you can see a wide variety in patient acuity and gain significant exposure to diverse patient populations. This would be another route to go, as you generally have a lot more responsibilities than a CNA and you get to work alongside the ER nurses and providers, many times in critical cases. These jobs aren't as abundant as CNA or EMT, but they are considered as high quality PCE if you're able to secure a position. 

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CNA has a lower barrier of entry, but at best they're checking vitals/accuchecks/toileting or ambulating patients. CNA's aren't taught how to assess a patient and apply interventions or manage them in certain settings.

EMT would be more competitive, especially with more and more applicants using CNA/scribe work for PCE (anecdotally speaking). Finally, a caveat to the above comment about only logging hours when you're on a call: CNA's in a hospital/ALF/SNF setting aren't working 12 hours straight; they get plenty of downtime but are still logging those hours on the clock for PCE.

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10 hours ago, Apollo1 said:

CNA has a lower barrier of entry, but at best they're checking vitals/accuchecks/toileting or ambulating patients. CNA's aren't taught how to assess a patient and apply interventions or manage them in certain settings.

EMT would be more competitive, especially with more and more applicants using CNA/scribe work for PCE (anecdotally speaking). Finally, a caveat to the above comment about only logging hours when you're on a call: CNA's in a hospital/ALF/SNF setting aren't working 12 hours straight; they get plenty of downtime but are still logging those hours on the clock for PCE.

Not true at all, we don’t get plenty of downtime at all. We’re constantly on our feet, literally working the entire 12 hours unless we are on our breaks, at least that’s how it is for me. And I’ve worked both in an LTC facility and a hospital.

Edited by Caligal
  • Upvote 1

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23 hours ago, Caligal said:

Not true at all, we don’t get plenty of downtime at all. We’re constantly on our feet, literally working the entire 12 hours unless we are on our breaks, at least that’s how it is for me. And I’ve worked both in an LTC facility and a hospital.

 I didn't say that they don't work; I said they're not working 12 hours nonstop. I too have worked in a hospital and CNA's are helpful to floor staff, but let's not create a false impression.

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17 hours ago, Apollo1 said:

 I didn't say that they don't work; I said they're not working 12 hours nonstop. I too have worked in a hospital and CNA's are helpful to floor staff, but let's not create a false impression.

I was responding to your “plenty of downtime” response and simply commented on what I have experienced as a CNA so I don’t know how I was giving a false impression.

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