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post #1 of 76 (permalink) Old 03-12-2008, 01:02 AM Thread Starter
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EMT/paramedic

So I'm almost positive that I am going to start my emt training this summer, which is a 6 month program. I'm going to be an emt while I'm working on my bachelors on whatever it is I'm going to study (law, medicine, engineering, history). I figure it's a great skill to have and I can make decent money while working towards a better job. Anyway, my main question is, is anyone here a part of emt or is a paramedic?
If so, what advice would you offer in the program. Should I take medical terminology? Any input is appreciated!

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post #2 of 76 (permalink) Old 03-12-2008, 02:15 AM
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Re: EMT/paramedic

I just finished my emt. Still need to take national registry though. Anyways only thing I can say is dont procrastinate at all. You will get behind pretty fast.

I have no medical backround at all, and the first part of the class was tougher for me. The second half it got easier, you get in the swing of things and it flows alot better. Its alot of reading, a good bit of acronyms to remember. Good common sense will go along way.



Oh and if you do a ride out with a Fire Dept, definately bring them ice cream. I made the mistake of not bringing anything. :shock:

Lastly, I paid 75 bucks to get my CPR card which they said was needed before you could get into the class, not true. The first two classes was CPR, and they will get you a card for cheaper. The class was pretty pricey after everything I ended up buying for it. 500ish IIRC.
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post #3 of 76 (permalink) Old 03-12-2008, 02:22 AM Thread Starter
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Re: EMT/paramedic

Oh interesting.
What are the requirements for this emt program? Do you have to do a lot of ride alongs ? Are there prerequisites for this program?
How do you get accepted? And what is there difference between emt and a paramedic? I've tried searching, but can't really grasp it.
Thanks a lot man!

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post #4 of 76 (permalink) Old 03-12-2008, 03:48 AM
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Re: EMT/paramedic

from what I have heard, Paramedic is the next step after EMT. And they are more hands on at the scenes?
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post #5 of 76 (permalink) Old 03-12-2008, 08:43 AM
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Re: EMT/paramedic

I guess I'll chime in on this one. I've been in EMS for 11 years... well 10 and a half. ... with seven of those as a VA medic (Cardiac Tech), and four as a registry Paramedic. First off the differentiations. An EMT-Basic is your first line provider and does all of your BLS (Basic Life Support) care. EMT covers general patient assessment/care, bandaging, splinting, basic medication administration (nitroglycerin, aspirin, oral glucose, epinepherine pen). When you start it it seems the the most difficult thing, but once you look back at it from the vantage of a few months running calls you realize that it's not all that hard. EMT-basic is a ~110 hour class with usually 100 hours of classroom and 10 hours of clinical time, though classes will differ. Some classes will give you CPR as part of the class, and others will require it beforehand. Just get in touch with the instructor or check to see if there's a list of prerequisites.

EMT-Paramedic is the highest certification for pre-hospital providers (aside from critical care paramedic). We do all the same stuff that basics do however we add in: IV therapy, intubation (tube in trachea), cardiac monitoring, electrical therapy (defibrillation, cardioversion, pacing), IV medications (cardiac, etc.).... basically any procedure which really involves sticking needles in people, pushing drugs, or shocking them. The paramedic curriculum is well over 500 hours of just classroom and generally that much again in clinical and ride along time. I want to make sure to add that just because someone is an ALS provider doesn't mean they don't need to do BLS skills also. If I forget to bandage a big wound then what are the chances that giving someone a bunch of fluid is going to help? There's an old EMS adage, "Paramedics save lives. EMT's save Paramedics." It's very true.

Like WSN said common sense is the most important thing to have through this class because...... well.... most of what you do is based on what would have been a good idea in the first place. Most all care in EMS is based on an algorhythm type flow-chart-ish system to help keep you on track, and there are a good deal of acronyms to remember. SAMPLE, OPQRST, ABC(D), DCAP-BTLS to name a few. Here's a good EMS saying, "Air goes in and out. Blood goes 'round and 'round. Blue is bad. All bleeding stops eventually." Like I said, common sense. I think the biggest thing that gets people when they're going for their test is that for the most part taking an EMT practical test is completely different from what you do in the field. There's a standardized sheet the evaluator has while you do your scenario, and they just check off points as you go along. Really the test is more about remembering what gives you points, and what's a failure and being able to go through that scenario without really thinking about it.

Okay, now I'm just pontificating. Let me know if you have any other questions. EMS is a really great career and I wouldn't want to do anything else. If nothing else try it for awhile... it's nothing like any other job.


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post #6 of 76 (permalink) Old 03-12-2008, 01:13 PM Thread Starter
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Re: EMT/paramedic

Thanks a lot dude, that helped a lot.
How many hours a week do you think you spent studying?
Do you think I should take medical terminology?

Did the 6 month EMT program actually take you only 6 months? I talk to the paramedics that come into my work for lunch, and they said it usually takes longer then 6 months.

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post #7 of 76 (permalink) Old 03-12-2008, 03:36 PM
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Re: EMT/paramedic

[quote author=Mcdixon23 link=topic=105322.msg2144143#msg2144143 date=1205341985]
Thanks a lot dude, that helped a lot.
How many hours a week do you think you spent studying?
Do you think I should take medical terminology?

Did the 6 month EMT program actually take you only 6 months? I talk to the paramedics that come into my work for lunch, and they said it usually takes longer then 6 months.
[/quote]

Well I'm the lazy kind of person so outside of a few hours here or there I didn't really do much studying. There were definitely people in my class who spent 2-3 hours a day studying..... they're the crazy ones. I don't necessarily think you need to take medical term. Obviously there's lots of terms that will be used, but for the most part you'll be taught all the stuff you should know during the class. If you feel like learning more and have the time then it certainly won't hurt you.

EMT-B was about 10 years ago for me at this point, but I believe it was about a four hour class once a week. To get 100 hours is just over six months (like a week I think). There may have also been a couple of long Saturday classes as well. The 10 hours of ER time was easy enough, though at a EMT-B level there isn't really anything you can do there to help you out and get you to learn. It's much more valuable to ride on an ambulance and be able to contribute (and apply what you've learned) where you're going to use it. Some EMT-B classes do ambulance ride alongs, and some do ER time.... some do both.


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post #8 of 76 (permalink) Old 03-12-2008, 08:16 PM
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Re: EMT/paramedic

The course I took (emt-b) was 4 hours lecture, then 4 hours of lab. Only one day a week though. I took it though the JC by my house. It was only one semister long.

We had to choose 2 clinicals, you could ride out with AMR, or a Fire dept, and then you had to chose a hospital to work with. Each one was 12 hours long.

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post #9 of 76 (permalink) Old 03-12-2008, 09:34 PM
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Re: EMT/paramedic

Are these emt jobs worthy in pay, or is it like people complain working with superior making $9hr.

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post #10 of 76 (permalink) Old 03-12-2008, 09:59 PM
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Re: EMT/paramedic

Generally EMS is incredibly underpayed. You could easily be a manager at a McDonalds and make more than my base pay. That being said most EMS providers pull lots of overtime (obviously it depends on the service). A friend of mine quoted me a stat. from Pittsburgh PA where in (I think it was 2005) the two highest payed employees of the city were paramedics. They made a base of about $50k, and brought in $120-150k with their OT. I make about $15/hr.... not great, but I like what I do.

If you think about it you wonder why EMS is so underpayed compared to doctors, nurses, police officers and fire fighters. Then you stop and think about it. All of those professions are very respected and have been around for a long time, whereas paramedicine started in 1970. It does kind of suck to be in such an undervalued profession, but I still love my job.


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