futuretraumasurgeon

Forum Ride Along
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So I know that this topic has been beaten over and over again.

I'm top in my class and ace all of my practicals 100%. I want to get my paramedic before I go onto school to be a trauma surgeon. I feel very confident in my knowledge and skill. But, as my instructors beat into us, "This is how you do it, but probably not how you will do it," because the field is different than a classroom, obviously.

The state, Wisconsin, was a bit late with our training center training permits so now most of the classes in my area are struggling to get their 10 patient contacts done before the end of the class. I know that I know how to do what is expected of me, but it's a lot different to do it in a controlled environment than to do it in an actual emergency.

Is it acceptable to tell your rig lead during your ride-alongs that even though you know how to do it, you'd like to watch it done once or twice first?

Honestly, I'd feel comfortable watching for the first two or three calls (unless my intervention is greatly needed like with a trauma).

In Wisconsin we are able to use blindly inserted airway devices (king, combi, npa, opa.) and also use laryngoscopes and magills. While I've practiced on tons of mannequins, it's obviously different on a living human being. I don't want them to think I'm not confident, but it would help for me to be able to watch someone do it first.

I just don't want to mess anything up because the only practice I've had is on a hunk of plastic!

I feel confident in my vital taking as of now because I work in hospice and assisted living so I do it pretty regularly, but the advanced skills are the things I worry about.

Any advice that you could give me for my ride-alongs would be greatly appreciated. I plan to start with a private ambulance service and then ride along for extra contacts with a public department.
 
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futuretraumasurgeon

Forum Ride Along
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Learn the meaning of the word humility; cool screen name, BTW:).
There is a big difference between being confident and being cocky. I am confident. I put in a lot of effort into my work and take everything as a new experience to learn. My point for elaborating on my confidence in my skills is not to brag, but to express that in a controlled environment I'm efficient, could definitely learn more, but in an external, uncontrolled, ever-changing environment, I might struggle. I understand why you would've taken my post as cocky but it wasn't my intention.
 
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VentMonkey

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There is a big difference between being confident and being cocky. I am confident. I put in a lot of effort into my work and take everything as a new experience to learn. My point for elaborating on my confidence in my skills is not to brag, but to express that in a controlled environment I'm efficient, could definitely learn more, but in an external, uncontrolled, ever-changing environment, I might struggle. I understand why you would've taken my post as cocky but it wasn't my intention.
Clearly, you understand. Anyhow, if I was 19 all over again and wanted to become a physician I would not waste my time becoming a paramedic.

You asked for advice; you got it, welcome to the forum:).
 

StCEMT

Forum Deputy Chief
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I agree, not sure I would bother going the medic route. That is 12-18 months and many thousands of dollars for something that isn't what you really want. Don't waste your time or money.

Nothing wrong with asking to observe. Hell, I have finished medic school and just the other day I was getting some help from a respiratory therapist and asking questions and they were bagging with me so they could explain what I was feeling and what I was trying to do. Asking to observe or do something with their guidance isn't a bad thing, just don't completely take a back seat. You do not get the same amount of opportunities in EMT as you do medic.

That being said, if it is a simple and straight forward call, maybe just watch once. Otherwise, you are wasting good learning opportunities. The soft calls are what you want to take every chance you get, so don't let too many pass you by.
 

Gurby

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I post this every time the topic of EMT->Medic->Doctor comes up. Originally found on SDN:

http://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/should-a-pre-med-student-go-medic.238346/#post-3077481
This post is directed at the OP, but applies to traditional undergrads as well. Anyway,
I'm assuming you're an EMT-B already, since that is usually a mandatory pre-requisite to becoming a paramedic (though this might be different in other states). Great, you got a head start on your med school hopeful peers, you don't really know too much as an EMT-B so you still have a healthy appreciation that you don't know very much about medicine. Believe it or not this is a wonderful place to be. I strongly advise you to stop right there (at EMT-B) and devote yourself entirely to becoming a physician.

Here's why:
EMS is a bit of a trap, you can get all caught up in it, because you are enjoying what you are doing, helping others, taking care of emergencies, etc. It's a good high when things go really right. Then you meet a paramedic, and think to yourself: boy can this guy take care of business, I'd really love to be able to do all that great stuff too! But there is really not that much to being a paramedic. Unfortunately nobody really tells you this. IN your world, all these new skills are exciting and impressive, So then things start to take a turn in your life. Let me tell you a little about what I mean:

Paramedics are funny people, they are experts in a very, very, narrow slice of medicine. In fact, when it comes down to the business of prehospital emergency care, nobody does it like a medic. WOW, I think I want to do this medic thing, I'm going to go for it, atleast for now, until I go to med school next year. BUT, you can easily get all caught up in the ALS pre-hospital care scene. Because you are doing life saving interventions you may feel like you fast forwarded yourself to "doctor" or at least the preconceived notion you had of doctors before you ever got involved in medicine. So anyway, there you'll be doing all these great skills, and soon you'll start to think that gee-whiz look at all the great things that I can do as a medic (ha! nurses my ***, they can't do this stuff!). Heck, all that other stuff in medicine really is not as important as this stuff I'm doing right now (IVs, intubation and pacing oh my!), and that's when you start to make a very big mistake. All of a sudden you really stop caring about all the other things that medicine has to offer, so you stop learning about anything that doesn't have anything to do with the "important stuff". Now depending on how long this lasts you can piss away 4,5,6 years doing EMS work and be totally satisfied. But then something happens, it can be some job that went bad on you or you come across something you've never been prepared to deal with, or any other number of things that cause you to become reflective about yourself as a professional. So then you start to read again and you once again rediscover that there is a whole world of medical knowledge out there you weren't aware of as a medic. So now you're studying again and learning about the things you didn't know, but you are never able to do it in any coherent way. The sheer volume of the material is intimidating and you have no real way of knowing if you are making any progress. Plus you are surrounded by your peers, fellow paramedic professionals who tell you things like who the heck cares about temporal arteritis, that's not important and what the heck is so important about this pancreatic psuedocyst you speak of??? So now you start to get frustrated, and you look around at the people around you who are very content with being medics and knowing what medics know, and incorrectly equating their skill proficiency with medical knowledge. But not you. You start to remember that you wanted to be a doctor, and you look back and say, how the **** did I get here, this isn't what I wanted for myself professionally or personally. This whole medic thing was supposed to be a stepping stone to becoming a physician. You become, really frustrated, pissed off, burnt out and then to add insult to injury you start to realize that you are wildly underpaid for the work you are doing. Nurses don't have to put up with 1/2 the crap that I do and they get paid 3 times as much, plus I know a hell of alot more! That's the last straw, F-this you say, I'm going back to school. Only now you are well into your mid- late 20's, (in your case, mid-late 30's) maybe you got a mortgage, a big monthly car payment, who knows maybe a wife and kids in private school, your Golden Opportunity to become a physician is now well past you. You now must suffer in new and interesting ways to get to where you wanted to be in the first place. So sacrifices and painful choices are made and finally 7-8 years later you are back on track for the MD, older, a little more worn out, less enthusiastic, but hopefully a little wiser. Maybe.

So the question is, are you absolutely, positively sure that being a medic is what you want? Think long and hard about this, this is your life afterall. That being said, you gotta do what you gotta do, if you are supporting your whole family or you are on your own out there I can understand. But think about this seriously think about this. This is a long post, but I did not make all of this stuff up, I speak to you from my experience. There are alot of other things I can go into, all sorts of crazy stuff that you'll be banging your head against, but I think I'd be writing for days and days. Anyway best of luck, you can always drop me a PM if you have any specific questions.
 

Midazzled

Forum Crew Member
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Gurby is spot on with one exception: nurses probably put up with about the same amount of crap as we do. They certainly do get paid more, though.

Is it acceptable to tell your rig lead during your ride-alongs that even though you know how to do it, you'd like to watch it done once or twice first?
"Do" is the easy part. "When" "why" and "what now" are the harder parts.

EMS is a huge distraction, one that can be hard to quit. If you want to do EMS at the max level, go to Paramedic school. This "max" level isn't as spectacular as you may think. If you want to be a Surgeon, go to Med School. Also, be aware that you may change your mind about what specific type of medicine you are into after x years of school and x clinical rotations.
 
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CALEMT

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There is a big difference between being confident and being cocky.

Theres more of a fine line between confidence and cockiness. Like VentMonkey said, learn humility. Don't be afraid to speak up when you don't know something, cause nothing irks me more when a hot **** ride along thinks he knows everything then is tasked to do something that he's unfamiliar with and doesn't speak up. Don't be that guy. Show up willing to learn, remember you're the student. If you already know everything then why are you in the field and not graduated? Field time especially for EMT's is to apply the knowledge that you have learned and to pick up on new ways/ techniques on how to fine tune that knowledge. These aren't personal jabs at you but rather experiences I've had with EMT and medic students.
 

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