I'm done with being a Paramedic....now what?

pissedoffparamedic

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I'm throwing this one out to the hive to see if there's any other old salts who are/were in my position and what they ended up doing.

Readers Digest version; I just turned 40. I've been in EMS 25 years, Paramedic for 15-I've done clinical, preceptor, training and development, planning, administration, advising, technical writing, correctional medicine, teaching ACLS/PALS/CPR, blah, blah, blah....annnnnnnnd, I'm done.

I'd like to be able to use some of the skills I've learned beyond the clinical practice (I can't go back to clinical because of a back injury from the military; yeah, I did things backwards.)

Has anyone ever been here and got out and lived to tell about it? What did you do? I know a lot of you went on to PA, RN, LPN, etc, but I DON'T want to go back to clinical/healthcare or public safety (law enforcement, tactical rescue.) Anyone go into Emergency Management? Public Administration? ....or went back to school and found inspiration in another field? How did it work out?

Thanks in advance!!
 

mgr22

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Some aspects of my career are similar to yours; others are different. I'm 66 with 27 years in EMS, but haven't been able to work clinically since 2013 because of a back injury. I've done all the other things you mentioned except corrections and military. I've depended on my degree in a non-EMS field for most revenue-producing opportunities. I also write to help pay the bills.

I guess I'd recommend school if that's an option. At 40, you still have plenty of time to make that a worthwhile investment (I was 41 when I went to medic school). Unless you're determined to enter a highly technical, narrowly defined field (e.g., mathematician), your major would probably matter less than having the degree itself. Since you're leaving EMS, you wouldn't have to tolerate second-guessing about "book learning" in the prehospital environment, and you could focus on studying something you like.

To the same extent a college education can give a field medic subtle advantages, having an EMS background (and corrections and military experience) would probably make you more attractive to a broad scope of employers.
 

VentMonkey

Ajaw
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17 years altogether here, 12 as a paramedic. I haven’t done all of the options you’ve chosen; did do some though.

For me I went flight, which has prolonged my back and breathed new life into the “saltiness” mentality I’d fallen prey to.

And, for me, I stopped defining myself as a paramedic, let go of all it was for me that seems to wear most people out on and/ or of this field, and found purpose eons beyond my career field. GL.
 

DrParasite

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What do you want to do? you can do to nursing school, and work in a non-clinical setting (case management, IT-clinical operations, etc). Emergency management typically requires EM experience and/or a masters degree.

I've done communications, and TBH, think it's a waste of a paramedic's knowledge and experience. I was in EMS for almost 20 years, 10 of which were in urban EMS systems. Now I transitioned into a completely different career, work as an event medic every so often, teach at the local CC, and am PT on the FD. but I haven't stepped foot on an ambulance in almost 4 years, and I can't say I miss it one bit.

if you don't want to do clinical, healthcare, or public safety, your options are limited..... So back to my original question: what do you want to do? What would make you happy?

keep in mind, the further away you go from EMS, the higher the chances are you will need to go back to school for a few years, so can you afford to take a year or three off and not work as a paramedic while you complete a degree program?
 

VentMonkey

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That's such an important step. I still wrestle with it. It's so easy -- but maybe not so healthy -- to identify as whatever we do for a living.
@mgr22 it certainly has not been easy, but over the years I began to realize how this so-called “selfless calling” yielded more selfish priorities, mostly guided by ego, than anything else.

It led to more self-loathing than anything else.

It sounds simpler than it really is, but identifying yourself as anything but (enter blank profession) here can really work wonders on self-contentment.

I think it can also add years to a career that would otherwise result in quick burnout.
 

gotbeerz001

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I know a guy who left EMS and became a safety consultant. He now basically works with companies to figure out best practices for on-site safety.

You can take that part of you that likes to solve problems and have an audience who wants to hear your input; whether it’s because they actually want their employees to be healthy or are just trying to avoid the cost associated with OTJ injury 🤷🏻‍♂️
 

CANMAN

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I'm in the exact same position pissedoffmedic.... Currently flying HEMS, but I have become frustrated at the system issues and over utilization for BS stuff in the IFT world, mostly driven by MD's schedules or desires to have non time sensitive patient's perfectly suited for cost effective ground transport flown to them for their personal convenience.

I have my first new baby on the way and I am excited for that, so I'm trying to change gears a bit and focus more on the upcoming baby, family, and supporting my wife, and less on work. None the less I'm not sure what my next move is going to be. I loath school, so that is a huge factor, but I think I'm going to have to force myself to go back for something.

I like education, and precepting/teaching, but they're is no money in it. So I have been thinking alot about medical device sales, or medical device education. The safety consulting also sounds interesting. Consulting attached to anything = money.
 

mgr22

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Canman, you're right about the upside of consulting. We're talking 5-10x compensation plus the benefits of self-employment (e.g., schedule flexibility, relative independence, some tax advantages). Of course, there are disadvantages to self-employment too, especially if one doesn't allow time for finance, planning, marketing, and other administrative responsibilities not often encountered when working for others. There's also the matter of establishing some sort of expertise that clients will pay for. The latter has been easier than the former for most of the consultants I've known.
 

FiremanMike

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It was touched on above, but a BSN opens up so many doors, clinical and non clinical. In addition, there are many clinical roles that are completely different from EMS that may pique your interest, things like working in cath lab or working in the OR. A BSN doesn't relegate you to wiping butts and not peeing for 12 hours..

Someone above mentioned that there was no money in teaching and I have to disagree. If you have a bachelors degree and an EMS instructor background, there are a variety of full-time teaching options that are well paid..

For me? My plan is to retire and become an NP. I've been working on my pre-reqs and will be ready to apply next spring.. If I have timed this out right in my head, I'll be done near the time I'm eligible to retire..
 

CANMAN

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It was touched on above, but a BSN opens up so many doors, clinical and non clinical. In addition, there are many clinical roles that are completely different from EMS that may pique your interest, things like working in cath lab or working in the OR. A BSN doesn't relegate you to wiping butts and not peeing for 12 hours..

Someone above mentioned that there was no money in teaching and I have to disagree. If you have a bachelors degree and an EMS instructor background, there are a variety of full-time teaching options that are well paid..

For me? My plan is to retire and become an NP. I've been working on my pre-reqs and will be ready to apply next spring.. If I have timed this out right in my head, I'll be done near the time I'm eligible to retire..
Maybe EMS instructors are well paid around your area, the local community college around my way wants to pay 45,000 for a Paramedic program instructor, department head makes around 85k with a Master's requirement, and this is in the expensive area of the D.C. Metro. Hardly well paid when you consider the education requirement for the position. Currently doing easy 6 figures plus working hospital based HEMS program, so I struggle with having to go back to school, potentially have student loans, AND also take a pay cut. Doesn't seem like the best financial move at this stage in my life.

The idea of doing NP post retirement is certainly a nice plan and not strenuous, even more so coupled with living in a beach town :)
 

FiremanMike

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Maybe EMS instructors are well paid around your area, the local community college around my way wants to pay 45,000 for a Paramedic program instructor, department head makes around 85k with a Master's requirement, and this is in the expensive area of the D.C. Metro. Hardly well paid when you consider the education requirement for the position. Currently doing easy 6 figures plus working hospital based HEMS program, so I struggle with having to go back to school, potentially have student loans, AND also take a pay cut. Doesn't seem like the best financial move at this stage in my life.

The idea of doing NP post retirement is certainly a nice plan and not strenuous, even more so coupled with living in a beach town :)
I'm interested in a HEMS medic position that pays 100k+, I miss flying..
 

CANMAN

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I'm interested in a HEMS medic position that pays 100k+, I miss flying..
PM me if you’re serious but it’s not all that great. The money sounds great until you realize the cost of living in D.C., MD, or VA then it becomes just needed to live comfortably.

That being said we are well paid (most likely the top if not one of the top paid for medics in the nation) but it’s definitely not in my top 10 HEMS choices. I left one of those to come here and although I miss that program almost daily but the money here allows me to not work like a dog anymore, and I just got tired of working 3 jobs.

Regardless, I know I don’t want to work here or do HEMS forever and the system problems keep me looking for my next step.
 

FiremanMike

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Fair enough, and I'm not really in a position to move just yet.. I'm at that 'stuck' point of my career, 6 years out from pension makes it awfully hard to walk away.

Plus I remember the reality of HEMS isn't like the fantasy.. Although flying is fun and there are some really cool runs, the majority (for me) were kinda boring.. ER to ER.. STEMI, cath lab later this afternoon up in the city..
 

Remi

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@CANMAN and @FiremanMike I miss flying, too. I never tired of even routine runs (which as you guys know is mostly what you do), other than the ones that were egregiously unnecessary, especially when those came in the middle of the night. I still loved what I did when I left; I just knew that it was time for something different. If I liked my last program better I may have stayed longer, but probably not more than another couple years.

I was 37 and had been flying for about 12 years already. Like I said I still liked it, but I knew I didn't want to be climbing into helicopters at 2am when I was 50. I also wanted to be able to afford to simultaneously support my family comfortably, pay off debt and pad my nest egg, and go into semi-retirement at a young age. That meant increasing my income dramatically. So I invested a bunch of money and a few years into becoming a CRNA. I don't love it but I'm satisfied, and I'm on track to meet all my goals in life. One thing I've learned is the importance of not attaching your identity to what you do. Also working to live, not living to work.

OP, when I left my HEMS career I told myself that I would not go back to EMS or bedside nursing if my plan didn't work out, which was a significant possibility. My backup plan was to become a UPS driver. Seriously. Solid pay and benefits, busy days, outdoors, meaningful work but relatively little responsibility (as compared to being an independent clinician), and routine (which for some reason is more and more important to me as I get older).

For whatever that's worth…..
 

FiremanMike

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One thing I've learned is the importance of not attaching your identity to what you do. Also working to live, not living to work.
That's exactly the point in life I'm at right now. I'm really trying hard to disconnect my career identify from my self-worth.

Logically speaking - work is supposed to provide sustenance for things that are actually important, family, church, fun.. Now if I could convince my emotions to listen to reason..

Sorry I screwed up the editing, the original quote came from @Remi
 

GMCmedic

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That's exactly the point in life I'm at right now. I'm really trying hard to disconnect my career identify from my self-worth.

Logically speaking - work is supposed to provide sustenance for things that are actually important, family, church, fun.. Now if I could convince my emotions to listen to reason..

Sorry I screwed up the editing, the original quote came from @Remi
I wish more people In EMS thought this way. The self glorification from my peers is what drove me away from ground transport. The reality is that medics have an important job. Firemen have an important job, bankers, janitors, fast food workers, etc. No one is better than someone else just because of their job.
 

mgr22

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I wish more people In EMS thought this way. The self glorification from my peers is what drove me away from ground transport. The reality is that medics have an important job. Firemen have an important job, bankers, janitors, fast food workers, etc. No one is better than someone else just because of their job.
I don't think separating one's identity from EMS has much to do with self-glorification. I think it's more a matter of finding other avenues for self-fulfillment.

When I got into EMS after 18 years in the corporate world, it didn't feel glorious -- just more fulfilling. I felt I was doing something more important. The problem with losing that (by leaving EMS) isn't the absence of glory; it's a degradation of self-worth, or at least it was for me. After many years of being depended on for anything -- in this case, quasi-emergent care that's anything but glorious -- it can take some time and effort to fill that void.
 
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