Cath Lab to Fire/EMT-P

XrayG

Forum Ride Along
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So I’m just wondering if anyone else is in the same boat as I am in. I work in the Cardiac Cath Lab as a RadTech, have been here for 5 years. Looking to get into Pre-Hospital EMS, I have always been drawn to Fire / Paramedic my whole life. I didn’t pull the trigger and opted for radiology school early on. Here we are now I’m 30 and looking to persue EMT then to EMT-P then Fire Academy. Have a great grasp on cardiology and patient care and feel I could bring that experience into a Paramedic career. Just curious if anyone out there knew anyone, or is someone who got into Fire / Paramedic following the same untraditional route as me. Not looking to drop current career, I intend to work both until I retire.
 

hometownmedic5

Forum Asst. Chief
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As a paramedic, you'll be paid less, work harder, work longer, be less appreciated, risk potentially career ending injury for both your careers, and be a second class medical provider in the eyes of the first class. Add to that the heaps of human tragedy you bear witness to on a daily basis.

I love what I do, but that's objective reality of it. If you can handle all that, then maybe this is for you. I don't know anybody that has taken that path in that order. I know a few Rn/Medics, two RRT/Medics(one is actually an RN/FF/Medic, but freely admits the medic is only on paper), but they all went EMT, Medic, and then whatever.
 

CANMAN

Forum Asst. Chief
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Do it as a volunteer and keep your current career. I know flight paramedics who have gotten tired of flying in hospital based systems and end up in the cath lab for a change of pace and something different. You're still young, I'm only 34, but I am already trying to figure out what my next step is going to be.....I know I don't want it to be crammed into a helicopter into my 50's, nor in an ambulance, so I think you're smart for not leaving your current gig. Good luck.
 

NPO

Forum Deputy Chief
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One of our paramedics took a few years off from EMS to go work in the Cath Lab. She worked 10+ years on the ground and several in the air. She recently returned to EMS because the Cath Lab didn't satisfy her itch... Unfortunately however, she is now on long term disability from a serious back injury from several years ago.

As a paramedic, you'll be paid less, work harder, work longer, be less appreciated ... and be a second class medical provider in the eyes of the first class.
Speak for yourself. As a Paramedic in my county, I am paid better than all fire and law enforcement agencies, get better benefits, we are usually first on scene of any multi-agency response, and WE are the professional agency in our county. Not to take away from the work the other services do, but we set the standard.

As a rule, yes, EMS is the step child. But good EMS agencies are out there... They just don't start with the letter A and end with the letter R.

(I removed that part about back injuries from your quote because that is 100% true, unfortunately. Thankfully, we have several tools at our disposable to reduce potentially injuries. But, obviously, they cannot be completely avoided)
 

mgr22

Forum Deputy Chief
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XrayG, there are lots of us who've followed non-traditional routes to EMS. I spent 20 years in the corporate world before I went to medic school. There are pros and cons, but sometimes you just have to follow your heart, despite risks and maybe even ridicule. Try to find the middle ground between a safe, dull life and a reckless one.
 

hometownmedic5

Forum Asst. Chief
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One of our paramedics took a few years off from EMS to go work in the Cath Lab. She worked 10+ years on the ground and several in the air. She recently returned to EMS because the Cath Lab didn't satisfy her itch... Unfortunately however, she is now on long term disability from a serious back injury from several years ago.



Speak for yourself. As a Paramedic in my county, I am paid better than all fire and law enforcement agencies, get better benefits, we are usually first on scene of any multi-agency response, and WE are the professional agency in our county. Not to take away from the work the other services do, but we set the standard.

As a rule, yes, EMS is the step child. But good EMS agencies are out there... They just don't start with the letter A and end with the letter R.

(I removed that part about back injuries from your quote because that is 100% true, unfortunately. Thankfully, we have several tools at our disposable to reduce potentially injuries. But, obviously, they cannot be completely avoided)
So, to clarify, when I was referring to the pay to work ration, I was speaking in reference to the comparison between being an RT and a medic, as they are usually going to be fairly disparate; not amongst EMS agencies.

The ‘first class’ I was reffering to was mainly doctors and nurses, again not amongst other public safety agencies.

While back injuries are, I’m assuming here because I don’t know if there’s a statistical database for career ending injuries in EMS and if there is I don’t have time right now to find it, probably the most likely problem, there’s also heart and lung disease from the wrong choices endemic to our thing, other orthopedic issues, and the often overlooked psychological trauma that can end a career faster than poor lifting technique.
 

rails

Forum Lieutenant
Premium Member
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I would recommend that you volunteer and see how it suits you. I began as a volunteer.

I started in fire and found that I LOVED the EMS aspect. I still do fire (a couple of small paid fire departments; 12-24 hours biweekly), but being a paramedic became my passion and my career.
 
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