Private Ambulance Paramedic.

AfxEMT

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Is it worth it to become a medic for a private ambulance company who primarily does IFT?
I'm an EMT right now & I've been riding ALS more & more these days & one medic told me just like an EMT on a BLS unit, they're "glorified baby sitters with a monitor & a higher chance of something happening than BLS."
 

Gurby

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I've seen some trainwreck patients doing IFT. The hospitals WILL try to dump patients on you who should be critical care, who they should have called a helicopter for an hour ago but they didn't and now they want you to bail them out. My company also has a lot of nursing home contracts who will often call us instead of 911 if they need a patient transported.

Yes, as you've probably seen, a large portion of the time you'll be transporting someone who could have taken a taxi but they have normal saline running, or they have antibiotics running, or just "the doctor would feel more comfortable if the patient went ALS" at 4am for the abdominal pain since last week (yes, I'm still bitter). But a small portion of the time you will be expected to play ICU doctor with some very sick patients.
 

Gurby

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But is it worth it? Objectively, no. The pay is bad, the benefits are bad, you're the low man on the totem pole and the first to be thrown under the bus in every situation, you will be taken advantage of by pretty much everyone, and you have an enormous amount of responsibility despite all of the above things.

But some people love it and can't imagine doing anything else.

I think if you want to be in EMS for the long haul, you don't want to do it in private EMS. I would look at getting onto a fire department, getting involved with critical care transport, or working for a hospital-based non-transporting ALS service once you have enough experience.
 
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AfxEMT

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Seems like $2 more isn't worth all the schooling & responsibilities for an IFT Medic.

One night me & a medic, who happens to be a firefighter too & works part time for the private ambulance company I work for were on standby at a football game & one of the security people came to us & said "are you going having a good time?" And the medic said "better than doing BLS discharges"
Stuff like that discourages me & makes me think that we( private ambulance emt) gets no respect whatsoever & even if I do end up becoming a medic I'd still be low on the totem pole cuz the company I work for is IFT & not 911. I enjoy what I'm doing so far even though the pay is low, another reason why I might not pursue ems as a career.
 

SunshineCamo

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Yes, IFTs don't get a lot of respect, don't get paid as well, and don't have good benefits (in general). But you don't have to work for an IFT forever. Depending on how your local system is set up, you could become a fire fighter, work for a stand-alone EMS service, or for a private service that provides 911 services. Look around your area and see what's available. Heck, even some fire depts will hire Paramedics who only work on the ambulance.

You need to look at your medium and long term goals. Consider employment opportunities.
 

EMT11KDL

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If you want to make a career in EMS, than Yes go get your medic, put some time in at the IFT until you can get a 911 gig. There is plenty of 911 jobs out there if you are willing to move. I have had some SICK SICK patients when I was doing IFT. You have the opportunity to learn a lot doing IFT but you have to be willing to make the effort to learn.
 

Carlos Danger

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Lots of medics who ended up having great careers started out with the kind of job you are talking about. I don't know many people who are lucky enough to find their dream job right out of the gate.

There's a lot for a new paramedic to learn doing IFT's - even routine ones. Gain some experience, then do some research on the places that you think you'd like to work, and start applying.
 

Tigger

Dodges Pucks
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Seems like $2 more isn't worth all the schooling & responsibilities for an IFT Medic.

One night me & a medic, who happens to be a firefighter too & works part time for the private ambulance company I work for were on standby at a football game & one of the security people came to us & said "are you going having a good time?" And the medic said "better than doing BLS discharges"
Stuff like that discourages me & makes me think that we( private ambulance emt) gets no respect whatsoever & even if I do end up becoming a medic I'd still be low on the totem pole cuz the company I work for is IFT & not 911. I enjoy what I'm doing so far even though the pay is low, another reason why I might not pursue ems as a career.
Well, he is at least correct there.

In all seriousness, as others have already said, there is opportunity in ALS IFT to use your paramedic knowledge. But you have to be in the right place, even when it comes to doing transfers. If there is no shortage of critical care transport in your area, you still might not see many sick patients even as a medic.

Look at where you are. If there is a way to get meaningful experience, do it. If not, move on so you don't waste away waiting for a better job.
 

Ewok Jerky

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Yes it's worth taking an IFT medic job for the following reasons:
-you get to bank time as a medic
-you will see plenty of sick patients/code 3 transports
-you learn more in the IFT wold than you do in 911
-glorified taxi? what percentage of 911 transports are more than that anyways?
 

johnrsemt

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As an IFT medic I learned more about patient care than as a 911 medic. We didn't have family members to talk to to find out what is normal for the patient so you have to figure things out from the paperwork, their medical history and medications alot of the time (not very often what the nurses tell you).
ECF nurses would down play how serious the patient was so that they wouldn't have to call 911. and up play how serious they were so we would expidite.

You learn your area alot better. It has been 7 + years since I worked in Indiana, but I can still go to every hospital in the state in my sleep.
You learn short cuts that help you when you work 911.
You find out about different parts of your state so that as you decide to change jobs, or move you know where good and bad places are


We did a lot of long distance transfers (70 miles was not considered long distance for my company). Hospital to hospital. Some should have been flown, but we did alot out of small hospitals that state prisoners were sent to. When you don't have any extra room for riders on a helicopter they don't fly prisoners (can't send guards, don't fly them). 160 mile transports while bagging the patient the entire way is fun. Taught the guard how to bag that night.

State to state transfers were normal for us (it hit the point that management/dispatch would NOT ask me if I wanted to go out of town they would page me with who my partner/s were and the address and the city so I could get my own directions.
 

Eddie263

Forum Ride Along
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If you think IFT is a glorified taxi you've never experienced NYC911. I drive a medic part time and have seen way more action doing IFT with him than NYC911. The private I work for does alot of critical transports. On a 12 hour shift we do about 4 post cardiac arrest transfers. Just last week we did an ECMO transfer PT SP Cardiac Arrest on 7 drips, Vent, and EKG. You learn alot doing IFT. Most medics I know start off doing IFT and then doing 911. When I finish medic school I will be doing the same.
 

evantheEMT

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Being a medic at a private ambulance company is great. The companies might have hospitals where they get alot of STAT transfers which are train wrecks. They do alot of vents and alot of meds as well great experience.
 

jlw

Dirty cot jockey
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I put in a couple years doing BLS IFT work, I made the most of it, learned what I could and then moved on.

Now I do ALS 911 and ALS/MICU hospital based transports and enjoy this MUCH more and the pay is nearly double per hour as to what I got as an EMT on a DD rig. (Dialysis/Discharges)

If you're wanting to stay in EMS, start doing your best work now, EMS is a small world and you're already building your reputation as a provider, become a Paramedic, and always look for alphabet soup classes/etc and always keep an eye out for new opportunities. They are out there, but it takes some time and work to get there.
 

COmedic17

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I work for a private company, but we are a 911 service that responds with a BLS fire department.

I feel like a "glorified taxi" 75% of the time. More often then not, there's no reason for an ambulance. Atleast in IFT, there's something wrong, even if it's minor.
 

NomadicMedic

EMS Edumacator
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I work PRN as a medic for essentialy a private agency, it's a hospital based service that drives county owned trucks. Long story.

Anyway, we do 911 and (mostly) ALS IFT from our community hospital to the level I or pedi facility. No dialysis or SNF/Drs appointment runs.

Its a fair service and after working for a great county based intercept service in DE, this is pretty decent. I don't think I'd ever work for a mostly IFT Service again.
 
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46Young

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Use IFT as a resume booster, and perhaps for PRN work when you get your real FT job. You can get some good critical care ALS work occasionally. The best chance for this is on the overnight shifts, since it may only be you and one other truck on the road until 6a in many places. Good critical care IFT can be a welcome break from the monitor/O2 txps, but a good portion of these calls should have two providers in the back, especially vented/sedated pts, or someone on an IABP. Frequently a private company may insist that that you take the pt. alone, claiming that there are no other available units to assist. If that pt. expires in your care, I wouldn't put it past the company to throw you under the bus make it like you decided to do the txp without help. Also, if you need a lift assist, you may or not get it, if they don't want to give up a crew when it's busy.

Basically, I would only work daytime when you have more resources available for lift assists and double-medic transfers. Don't get stuck at 0200hrs with no help.

I would recommend only working for hospital-based IFT, unless you're 100% positive that the private company does right by their employees. Hospitals tend to pay more, have better benefits, and more resources to help you out. You can also move laterally within the health system after starting out in EMS. I've worked for NS-LIJ CEMS in NYC, and Valley Medical Txp in Winchester VA, and they both treated me wonderfully. The privates, not so much.
 

46Young

Level 25 EMS Wizard
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I've taken a few train wrecks IFT by myself, when they weren't stable, knowing that if I refused the txp until they were more stable, or at least got a second medic (from who knows how far away), they would certainly die at the sending facility. Luckily no one died on me en-route that way, but if they did, I may have been in some real trouble. Don't let yourself get put into that position.
 

FiremanMike

EMS Coordinator
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This is a really old thread, but I'd add that if IFT work is your end goal, go to RN school and work on getting hired by your local MICU company. MICU trips can be really challenging and quite a bit of fun, and if that's your goal, you might as well be the one making $5-10 more per hour while doing the same job.

If your goal is to work 911 EMS, then you'll want your paramedic at some point anyway, so might as well get it now..
 

TransportJockey

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This is a really old thread, but I'd add that if IFT work is your end goal, go to RN school and work on getting hired by your local MICU company. MICU trips can be really challenging and quite a bit of fun, and if that's your goal, you might as well be the one making $5-10 more per hour while doing the same job.

If your goal is to work 911 EMS, then you'll want your paramedic at some point anyway, so might as well get it now..
Keep in mind this is very area dependant. A lot of places will just ise cct medic trucks for almost all ground xfers
 

medicaltransient

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I think 911 pays better when you count benefits and hours. Whoever made the comment about babysitting has the wrong attitude. The times you are babysitting you should be practicing your assessment and communication skills. I don't care where you are working if you wait long enough you will get a serious call and if you have made a habit of babysitting you are going to make mistakes. IFT, 911 or CCT you should be working on learning and building good habits. 911/CCT was the most fulfilling job I had and quitting that truck was the biggest mistake I made in my career.
 

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