Is riding two 10 hour shifts a week enough to be a good medic?

Marcus321

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Have been a volunteer EMT for about ten years, riding one night a week.

Am strongly considering paramedic school. I'd be doing it as a second job and would ride two 10 hour shifts a week.
Am worried that two shifts a week (in a low call volume area) is not enough to become competent and that I'll never feel comfortable on a call.
 

mgr22

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How busy were you as a volunteer? Could you continue to volunteer while working as a medic?
 
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Marcus321

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Would not have time... Also, am specifically worried about medic skills. Some of the medics I interact with on ALS calls are absolutely amazing. It's honestly intimidating and I question if riding twice a week will ever allow me to turn into a skilled and competent paramedic.
 

DesertMedic66

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A lot of it is going to depend on call volume. If you are running 5+ calls on each one of those shifts, then that will help you to improve. If you are usually not running any calls on those shifts, it will be very difficult.
 

Tigger

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If it was a decent volume system, I think you would be alright. If it’s slow, probably not.

I started as a medic in a relatively slow service. Got a part time job at a busy service where I’d work at least once per week. I still had lots to learn even after a year of doing this, but in general I had a great routine down that could get me through most calls.

I no longer work nearly that much, but those first 6-12 months were invaluable in getting me half decent.
 

mgr22

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Have been a volunteer EMT for about ten years, riding one night a week.

Am strongly considering paramedic school. I'd be doing it as a second job and would ride two 10 hour shifts a week.
Am worried that two shifts a week (in a low call volume area) is not enough to become competent and that I'll never feel comfortable on a call.
"Never" sounds like too strong a word, but if you're looking to expedite competence and comfort while working in a low-volume district, you'd need other opportunities to practice.

I see you're 40. What do you do between weekly volunteer shifts?
 
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Marcus321

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"Never" sounds like too strong a word, but if you're looking to expedite competence and comfort while working in a low-volume district, you'd need other opportunities to practice.

I see you're 40. What do you do between weekly volunteer shifts?
I have a full time job in an entirely different industry. I've never been good about training or even reviewing skills/knowledge for a couple of hours throughout the week.
 
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Marcus321

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A lot of it is going to depend on call volume. If you are running 5+ calls on each one of those shifts, then that will help you to improve. If you are usually not running any calls on those shifts, it will be very difficult.
From what I hear, volume will be decent but more medical than trauma.
 

mgr22

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I have a full time job in an entirely different industry. I've never been good about training or even reviewing skills/knowledge for a couple of hours throughout the week.
Do you enjoy volunteering as an EMT? Do you like your day job? If yes to both, maybe you should leave things the way they are -- i.e., keep volunteering as an EMT and stick with your current job.
 
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Marcus321

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Do you enjoy volunteering as an EMT? Do you like your day job? If yes to both, maybe you should leave things the way they are -- i.e., keep volunteering as an EMT and stick with your current job.
Absolutely yes to both. In addition to satisfying the itch of doing/learning more than just EMT-B, the call volume at my current squad is extremely low. Average of 1 call per shift. Finding a different squad is not an option. My plan is that switching to medic will force me to ride two nights a week plus there will be a higher call volume.
 

DrParasite

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Maybe? considering there are full time jobs can be 3 12 hour shifts a week, it's doable. It know of very few paramedics that volunteer as EMTs on ambulances; depending on how busy your ALS agency would be, why not? I don't know if I would do 2 nights a week... maybe one night and a weekend. I knew a full time chemical engineer who worked at Merck who was a medic for decades, and he worked every sunday day shift at a particular station, but he was never full time as a paramedic.

if you get hired somewhere, I assume you would see more than one patient per shift right?
 

MackTheKnife

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Have been a volunteer EMT for about ten years, riding one night a week.

Am strongly considering paramedic school. I'd be doing it as a second job and would ride two 10 hour shifts a week.
Am worried that two shifts a week (in a low call volume area) is not enough to become competent and that I'll never feel comfortable on a call.
If you EVER feel comfortable, you are complacent.
 

MackTheKnife

BSN, RN-BC, EMT-P, TCRN, CEN
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Would not have time... Also, am specifically worried about medic skills. Some of the medics I interact with on ALS calls are absolutely amazing. It's honestly intimidating and I question if riding twice a week will ever allow me to turn into a skilled and competent paramedic.
ALS skills are Monkey Skills. Assessing and diagnosing are what you should be concerned with.
 

E tank

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If you EVER feel comfortable, you are complacent.
Or you're just really good at your job. I don't think a false sense of security is a function of competency because they can and do exist independent of one another. I'd go so far to say that the more comfortable someone is, the greater the situational awareness and therefore the ability to operate at a higher level. Having no idea of one's limitations does give that false sense of security, but there is a difference between that and just being very skilled.
 

Carlos Danger

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As others have said, it depends largely on how many calls you get during those two shifts. Everyone has a certain amount of experience that they need to get in order to obtain the level of competence and comfort that they desire. That experience depends on how quickly you pick things up, how many calls you take per shift, and also things like the quality of your training and mentoring.

If you've been in EMS for 10 years already and are a pretty quick learner, my guess is you'd be just fine working 2 nights a week, as long as the shifts aren't dead. There are specific skills that you might not get to do much (airway stuff, primarily), that you might want to find additional ways to practice. Also, it might make sense to try to work full-time as a medic for at least a couple of weeks once you finish your paramedic program, if you can swing that. Doing so would get you to the aforementioned amount of experience that much quicker.
 

Jon

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I'll go a step further - what's the mentoring/clearance process at this potential job?
Are you likely to be riding dual medic for an extended period of time to actually get comfortable in the role?

The average medic needs several thousand hours of work before they start feeling legitimately comfortable with their job. It's going to be a long time until you hit that, and that means you're going to be a baby medic in a slow system part time - not a great recipe for success.

Is AEMT an option? Some middle ground to expand your scope, without committing to medic school?
 

ChrisMed1

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Have been a volunteer EMT for about ten years, riding one night a week.

Am strongly considering paramedic school. I'd be doing it as a second job and would ride two 10 hour shifts a week.
Am worried that two shifts a week (in a low call volume area) is not enough to become competent and that I'll never feel comfortable on a call.
I would say you could probably still be a great medic, may take a while to become comfortable but with constant studying, practice during your downtime, and get advise or ask questions to more senior medics and should be just fine. Good Luck with Medic School if you decide to attend. :)
 
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