Useless

Ethanol4all

Forum Probie
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Hey Guys,

I finally finished my EMT-Basic class, got through the NREMT_B np, and grabbed my license asap..... and I couldn't help but feel .... "that's it?"

...honestly, and I mean absolutely no disrespect to any seasoned EMT-B's here, I felt as if Basics are allowed to do nothing but serve as extra hands, possibly to set up an IV or Oxygen, and to work as human triage buffers to make sure a small medical problem or a bogus call doesn't wake up the lazy ALS team that's sleeping back at base. Lol.....well now that I've offended every EMS member....

It just seemed to me that EMT-B's in real life actually don't get to do jack-squat in urban/suburban areas, and I found that ridiculously frustrating. Granted that if i was the patient, I'd want paramedics and no one else working on me....but it just seems to me that EMT-B's are useless in actually healing a patient. At best, we possess minimal knowledge in keeping the patient alive until better help can get to them.

Don't get me wrong, there's no doubt that Basics are the foundation of EMS... and maybe i'm just being ambitious at the age of 18, but I couldn't help but feel that at the end of the day, we're inferior and ridiculously subordinate and even useless compared to nurses, PA's, paramedics, and the almighty M.D.'s.....
 

Flight-LP

Forum Deputy Chief
1,547
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You are correct in the aspect that basics' are minimally trained to provide a level of sustainment until arrival of or transfer of patient care to a higher level. Your frustration is admirable, I wish more basics could see the bigger picture like your eyes do, instead of thinking their s@#t doesn't stink because they can do _______(insert cool ALS intervention here).................

Wanna get rid of that frustration and limited feeling? Don't stop where you are at, go on to become a Paramedic. Your 18 and impressionable, this is the perfect time for you. Get your medic, take some college A-P, English, and Microbiology courses. FURTHER YOURSELF! Don't limit yourself to a lifetime of mediocity........

+5 points for your analysis and realization!
 

Tincanfireman

Airfield Operations
1,054
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Basic certification is just that, basic. You have to start somewhere in the learning process to achieve higher goals, and you've just completed the first step. I've worked with a lot of strong -B's who are firefighters and non-ALS rescue squad members. Some folks don't get the opportunity to go higher in their EMS certfication level without leaving an established job that they love. Would I like to take Medic courses? You bet! However, we do not run ALS services at my full-time job at the airport, and it's pointless to expend the time and effort to gain -P certification so I can work a single 12 or 24 hour shift every week as a part time job. I'm flattered that many of my part-time coworkers have urged me to continue on, but it's just not a commitment I'm willing to make for some professional and some personal reasons. I agree with FlightLP that your enthusiasm and motivation are commendable, but take some time to gain experience at your current level before heading straight into Medic classes. You can be an invaluable asset to your medic partner as a "strong" -B or -I, while helping yourself at the same time by picking their brains at every opportunity. What works for me may not work for everyone, but it's my personal .02 on this subject. Best of luck in your future studies.
 

oldschoolmedic

Forum Lieutenant
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Twenty years ago it was put to me like this, "You're either the paramedic, or the paramedic helper. Now, do you want to go to paramedic school or not?" I went and haven't looked back. Just keep going to school.

And by the way, even paramedics who think they know everything, don't.
 

eggshen

Forum Lieutenant
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A grand majority of the stuff we do is BLS most of the time so relax and go to college.

Egg
 

Onceamedic

Forum Asst. Chief
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Basic was the hoop I had to jump thru to get to paramedic school. It seems ridiculous to me as one of the first things the paramedic instructor said to our class was that basic stuff was useless to us and to forget it. Paramedic school was always my goal. I "basically" agree with you.;)
 

BossyCow

Forum Deputy Chief
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I believe any level of certification is only going to be as useful as the individual holding it. If you see your basic as a 'hoop you had to jump through' or a pre-requisite for some other certification, you are going to behave differently while doing that job.

If you take pride in what you do, it's not useless. Even if you are only allowed to drive the ALS team to the ED, they wouldn't get very far if they had to push the gurney on foot now would they? So, is driving 'useless'?

I'm part of a volly agency. There are calls when I'm the only medical responder and there's calls where everyone shows up and I end up copying the pt's med list or, helping back up the ambulance or even just standing by the station filling out the all important Call Log. We are part of a system. It's not all hands on and its not all exciting, but it all has value.
 

firetender

Community Leader Emeritus
2,552
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All right, so you feel like an understudy who'll never get to really play the part!

It hardly matters because sometime soon you WILL find yourself in the situation where you are the only one who can do anything, and you'll have to do it -- and MORE -- regardless of your training or how over your head it is. Meantime, rather than focusing on what you aren't allowed to do, I'd suggest really paying attention to EVERYTHING you can see and do, and you know what? Part of your job is to really make sure all the basics of the basics are taken care of, because your Diva partners WILL forget!
 

Onceamedic

Forum Asst. Chief
555
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I didnt say I thought it was useless Bossy... the paramedic instructor said it... I think there are a lot of really good basics out there... I just never had the opportunity to try my hand at it. My town is paramedic service only. I applied for a basic job when it was available in a neighboring county but didnt get it. I didnt sweat it tho cause paramedic was always my goal. Eventually, I hope to get a degree in paramedic science because I am really interested.
 

BossyCow

Forum Deputy Chief
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I didnt say I thought it was useless Bossy... QUOTE]

No, you didn't... but the title of the thread did use that term. I was responding to the thread in general, not you in particular.
 

Ethanol4all

Forum Probie
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Yeah, I know what you guys mean.....I'm definitely going to continue my education, and i'm already in college (I'm a second-year at UCLA right now, Neuroscience Major geared towards Pre-Med)

...just sorta wish I could take it a little farther in EMS than basic....but CA doesn't have intermediates and paramedic school is too much time and effort (it's more of a career).....
ah well....
....guess I just gotta give it time, find some sort of meager satisfaction in what I DO manage to do for the patient, and hope it all works out for the best....

Sorry BossyCow....I didn't mean to insult anyone....more than "useless," i meant to say subordinate/inferior to other healthcare providers.....

Thanks a lot though guys..
 

BossyCow

Forum Deputy Chief
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I didn't take the 'useless' comment as an insult to me. I saw it as representative of an attitude taken by some others. I understand in some of the more urban areas that Basics are not given the responsiblity for real patient care and are treated like a set of auxiliary hands for the higher medical authority to direct. This has to be frustrating. But attitude is everything.

There are going to be times as a paramedic or even as a doc ( you mentioned being pre-med) when your hands are going to be tied by your job description, company policy, insurance reimbursement criteria... and more ad nauseum. Every job has the 'shut up and just do as you are told' component.

I have a friend who is a very successful studio musician. He was talking to a young musician who was telling him in a very superior tone how he would never give up his dream and get stuck playing 'backup' to someone else's music. My friend looked at this young man and said.... "I've been part of making some really spectacular music. There is no shame in that!"

From time to time we all have to play backup to someone else's music. The sooner we accept that, the happier we are.
 

sarahharter

Forum Crew Member
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okay i have been an emt-b for about four years and some months know and i have done alot of stuff that has determined whether a pt lived or not. where i live we runa bls and als truck and you don't always get als, so you have to be able to do what ever you can to get your pt alive to the hosp. i think you need emt-b and medics just the same. some of are medics just hopp right in my truck and wait for me to do everything before they have to do there stuff and yes sometimes we are just extra hands however sometimes those extra hands are very important. yeah i wish i could do more but for my state i had to drop my nremt-i so that i could be an emt in the state. i will eventually go through medic class. the medics around me are really good and have told the emts that we are a good thing to have and then there are the ones who say emt-b are trash and shouldn't be allowed on a truck. everyone has their own opinion on the matter and this is mine:

emt-b is as important as a medic when you work together everything goes great. the medic may be able to do more if needed but an emt-b can also save a persons life with just bls skills.
 

MedikErik

Forum Crew Member
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EMT-B's are limited, but are still extremely useful. Sometimes an OP airway, a BVM, and an AED/chest compressions are all it takes to save a life. Seattle has the highest save rate in the world, and they use BLS first response.

It depends also on where you ride. If all you do is ride third on an ALS unit, then yes, you're a gopher. Carry the bags, make the cot, etc. But if you run on a BLS unit, you can get some good skills in. Either it's a BLS transfer, or you have a crashing patient all to yourself until ALS shows up. Keep your chin up! Don't be afraid to ask the paramedic "hey, can I run this one and you drive?". Most will be happy to get out of the box and into the drivers seat on what is, to them, a "BS call". That, and they get out of writing the report, contacting the hospital, etc. Try it!
 

MedikErik

Forum Crew Member
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I believe it was JEMS, though it could have been one of the other EMS mags lying around the station; I'll look it up and post.
 

VentMedic

Forum Chief
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MedikErik Was this the data? It has been referenced in several journals. USAtoday loves to gather this info for their newspaper.

Also, if you really want to know what is happening around the world as for as different resuscitation topics, there is a journal call RESUSCITATION. You can read the abstracts. For the full article, you can usually pull it up at a medical library or teaching hospital.
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/03009572

Paramedics not always the saviors of cardiac-arrest patients
http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2005-03-01-ems-cover_x.htm

Six Minutes to Live or Die
http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/ems-main.htm

Survival by the numbers
http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2005-03-01-ems-numbers_x.htm

How 50 Major Cities Stack Up
http://www.usatoday.com/graphics/life/gra/ems/flash.htm

Cardiac arrest survival as a function of ambulance deployment strategy in a large urban emergency medical services system from RESUSCITATION journal

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6T19-49KH2VX-7&_user=10&_coverDate=10/31/2003&_alid=601192683&_rdoc=13&_fmt=summary&_orig=search&_cdi=4885&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_ct=26&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=ff8a8f5bf1046e1ae87ad5b86a41a9cc
 

MedikErik

Forum Crew Member
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Well, while this arguement really belongs in its own thread, my initial point was that BLS does save lives, and isn't just a bag carrier/driver for the EMT-P. I dare say that in my personal opinion you do just as much good holding C-Spine on someone with a fractured neck from falling down the stairs as you would performing an RSI on a trauma arrest. Giving a 5 year old an epipen jr. (I know it's not BLS everywhere, but it is in my state) can work just as well as epi given through an IV in terms of warding off anaphylaxis. And to a pt. with an airway obstruction, sometimes a good old heimlich or suctioning followed by BVM/NRB (depending on condition of the pt., how long they couldn't breathe, etc.) will work as well if not better than dropping an ET/NT. BLS is the foundation everything is built on, and over the course of your career the number of BLS calls you'll run with most likely exceed the number of ALS calls (exceptions made for those who do critical care transports, medivac, etc.).
 
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