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A few ?'s about what I should be doing now.

Fedfireman

Full Member
Apr 14, 2012
39
0
  1. Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
    Edit* Sorry if the title is confusing, I originally planned on adding my BIG question but decided to ask it separately.

    Hello,

    I have introduced myself before but will do so, briefly, again.

    I am 25, married w/ 2 children (2&6), and currently working as a full-time Firefighter. My wife is in nursing school and the plan is for me to resign my position and return to school full-time in the Fall of 2013. I have no degree, and only a handful of college credits (some being from an online only degree program).

    I am a NREMT-B and operate as such with my career department.
    I have just been hired PT with the county EMS agency.
    I am a volunteer Lieutenant at my local municipal fire department and operate as a medical responder with them.

    I work 72hrs a week at my FT job, will be working 12-24hrs a week with EMS, and volunteer approx. 20-30hrs a week at my local FD.

    12-24 of my volunteer hours are on call hours. As a Fire Officer I am required to stand duty shifts to ensure there is always an Officer on call. While we are on call we also run the QRV (quick response vehicle for medical calls).

    Ok, now for my questions.

    Should I list my volunteer hours with full credit given to my on call time? Or should I attempt to approximate the hours I am actively participating?

    As my volunteer fire service is also in a leadership position which should I try to optimize? I am thinking about resigning my position and going back to a regular Firefighter/MR when I return to school to allow more time for my studies and other EC's. Would this be advisable or is the leadership important enough that I should try as hard as I can to keep it?

    Will my current career still be relevant 4-5 years from now when I'm actually applying? Basically, should I be counting on my current career as an EC or should I just make note of it in my PS?

    Thank you all
     

    realmeaning

    Full Member
    Apr 19, 2012
    185
    0
      Should I list my volunteer hours with full credit given to my on call time? Or should I attempt to approximate the hours I am actively participating? Sounds like an ethical question to me since I have no information pointing either way. I'd go with the latter, and perhaps note somewhere that you were on-call, because that obviously implies more responsibility + involvement than doing things on your own time.

      As my volunteer fire service is also in a leadership position which should I try to optimize? I am thinking about resigning my position and going back to a regular Firefighter/MR when I return to school to allow more time for my studies and other EC's. Would this be advisable or is the leadership important enough that I should try as hard as I can to keep it? Any leadership is great. However, you need to harness all your forces to do as much related with medicine as you can. I'd say a clinical/research EC > demonstration of continuity with fire service leadership. Obviously, your grades come first and everything else fits around it. That everything else should tell the adcoms that you're serious about med school, and are genuinely interested in gaining all medically relevant experience. At the end of the day, if you keep the volunteer FS position, that's going to be at the cost of something more medically related. Reflects your professional priorities.

      Will my current career still be relevant 4-5 years from now when I'm actually applying? Basically, should I be counting on my current career as an EC or should I just make note of it in my PS? I imagine you will definitely mention it somewhere in your PS as it's only a natural part of the narrative. Your current career will definitely not be an EC because it's a FT job, right? However, that doesn't mean you can't bridge it to your medically related interests.

      Good luck!
       

      Flim Flam Man

      Graham Cracker Surprise
      7+ Year Member
        Edit* Sorry if the title is confusing, I originally planned on adding my BIG question but decided to ask it separately.

        Hello,

        I have introduced myself before but will do so, briefly, again.

        I am 25, married w/ 2 children (2&6), and currently working as a full-time Firefighter. My wife is in nursing school and the plan is for me to resign my position and return to school full-time in the Fall of 2013. I have no degree, and only a handful of college credits (some being from an online only degree program).

        I am a NREMT-B and operate as such with my career department.
        I have just been hired PT with the county EMS agency.
        I am a volunteer Lieutenant at my local municipal fire department and operate as a medical responder with them.

        I work 72hrs a week at my FT job, will be working 12-24hrs a week with EMS, and volunteer approx. 20-30hrs a week at my local FD.

        12-24 of my volunteer hours are on call hours. As a Fire Officer I am required to stand duty shifts to ensure there is always an Officer on call. While we are on call we also run the QRV (quick response vehicle for medical calls).

        Ok, now for my questions.

        Should I list my volunteer hours with full credit given to my on call time? Or should I attempt to approximate the hours I am actively participating?

        As my volunteer fire service is also in a leadership position which should I try to optimize? I am thinking about resigning my position and going back to a regular Firefighter/MR when I return to school to allow more time for my studies and other EC's. Would this be advisable or is the leadership important enough that I should try as hard as I can to keep it?

        Will my current career still be relevant 4-5 years from now when I'm actually applying? Basically, should I be counting on my current career as an EC or should I just make note of it in my PS?

        Thank you all

        I'd go with the hours you were oncall, but say "oncall" somewhere in the description. Keep the leadership position, especially if you don't foresee any more leadership positions in the future, its good to have at least one on your ap. I would for sure make sure your current job is an EC, they will eat that up, and it will probably be fairly unique
         
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        Fedfireman

        Full Member
        Apr 14, 2012
        39
        0
        1. Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
          Thank you guys for the responses. I realize now that I will need to spread my focus beyond emergency work. I also realize I may have to drop my current EC to fulfill more relevant ones. My only worry is that adcoms might see it as me not being able to handle seemingly simple volunteer work and school at the same time. I don't doubt the question would come up as to why, after so many years, did I quit the VFD.

          Would getting more medically relevant EC's be seen as a good enough reason? What about dropping back to a reg firefighter? It requires far less of a time commitment but if it would look just as bad I may as well take a leave of absence.
           

          realmeaning

          Full Member
          Apr 19, 2012
          185
          0
            Thank you guys for the responses. I realize now that I will need to spread my focus beyond emergency work. I also realize I may have to drop my current EC to fulfill more relevant ones. My only worry is that adcoms might see it as me not being able to handle seemingly simple volunteer work and school at the same time. I don't doubt the question would come up as to why, after so many years, did I quit the VFD.

            Would getting more medically relevant EC's be seen as a good enough reason? What about dropping back to a reg firefighter? It requires far less of a time commitment but if it would look just as bad I may as well take a leave of absence
            .

            Interests change. That's why you're going into medicine in the first place. Gandhi said, "My commitment is not to consistency, but to truth." If you realize that medicine is what you want, you will change your activities and academic pursuits to align with your goals. It's okay if this seems abrupt. Maybe you'd been stewing on this decision for a long time but the change is reflected suddenly on your CV. Whatever the circumstance, adcoms want to see as much dedication as possible to medicine. They want to know you're not just eking by with the minimum courses, but pursuing your professional interests with ECs as well.

            Sometimes people need to keep unrelated jobs to pay the bills; however, that's not the case with the volunteer thing. I don't think it'll look weird if you quit VFD, and while you may receive questions on it, I think it'll be pretty obvious why you did it.

            Bottom line: do as much medically relevant stuff as you can while keeping on paying the bills.
             

            DitchDoc73

            Full Member
            5+ Year Member
            Dec 2, 2009
            444
            1
            1. Resident [Any Field]
              Should I list my volunteer hours with full credit given to my on call time? Or should I attempt to approximate the hours I am actively participating?
              If you are doing actual duty hours at the station, count those. This is time that was spent away from your family and other activities, so I would say you are justified in couning all of your duty hours. Honestly, once they see that you have a level of commitment to an activity, they really could care less if it is 750 hours or 2,000 hours.

              As my volunteer fire service is also in a leadership position which should I try to optimize? I am thinking about resigning my position and going back to a regular Firefighter/MR when I return to school to allow more time for my studies and other EC's. Would this be advisable or is the leadership important enough that I should try as hard as I can to keep it?
              I would personally recommend resigning from the vollies and keep the career status while you are returning to school. Don't try and do all of it, you will never keep the GPA that you need. I returned to school and completed my BS while working FT as a FF/PM (avg 56 hr/wk). It was very tough, but it can be done.

              Will my current career still be relevant 4-5 years from now when I'm actually applying? Basically, should I be counting on my current career as an EC or should I just make note of it in my PS?
              Yes it will. Experience is experience, period.

              Just some words of encouragement from a former FF. You can do whatever you put your mind to. Don't let anyone tell you what you can and cannot do. I was told by my undergrad university's pre-medical advisor that I was wasting my time, and I would never get in to medical school because my stats weren't high enough (and the first time I went to school I had an academic dismissal for bad grades). I wish you the best of luck in this process! Feel free to PM me if you have any other questions.

              DitchDoc
               

              DitchDoc73

              Full Member
              5+ Year Member
              Dec 2, 2009
              444
              1
              1. Resident [Any Field]
                Thank you guys for the responses. I realize now that I will need to spread my focus beyond emergency work. I also realize I may have to drop my current EC to fulfill more relevant ones. My only worry is that adcoms might see it as me not being able to handle seemingly simple volunteer work and school at the same time. I don't doubt the question would come up as to why, after so many years, did I quit the VFD.

                Would getting more medically relevant EC's be seen as a good enough reason? What about dropping back to a reg firefighter? It requires far less of a time commitment but if it would look just as bad I may as well take a leave of absence.

                You do not need to quit FD/EMS to get accepted in to medical school. Don't buy all of the BS that is put out there by traditional students. You already have a huge step up based on your medical experience, leadership experience, and maturity. If you enjoy doing these activities, continue them. You don not have to have lab experience and all that other junk. Tha being said, anything extra you do helps, but the most important thing is to keep your grades up, finish your pre-reqs, and complete your Bachelor's.
                 

                Fedfireman

                Full Member
                Apr 14, 2012
                39
                0
                1. Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
                  Ditchdoc, thank you for your replies. Unfortunately, I cannot possibly go to school and keep my full-time gig. I work 24on 24off. So if you grab a calendar, this month I work every odd numbered day save 2-3 for break days. Then next month it might be all even days. Unless anyone knows of classes that are offered Monday this week and Tuesday next week I can only make half attendance. I have heard of people being able to work it out between two professors with one registered class, but that was a one time deal kinda thing.

                  As far as dropping the VFD, I just don't want all that time to be viewed through the "before he even started school" filter. And it's an easy enough EC to keep up especially since I'm an officer and have a personal friendship with the chief. It would not be hard to ask for a month off duty to study or things of that nature.

                  The only problem is that, to be a good volunteer fire asset you need to be available. If I'm gone to other EC's I would be doing them an injustice. So basically, dropping the VFD would be a last resort I think. If it is a good enough comm service and leadership bullet I wouldn't drop it to do habitat for humanity but might for a cool research gig or overseas clinical work.

                  My question now is what EC deficits do I have?

                  The only types of EC's I'm aware of are clinical, community service, leadership, and research.

                  My PT EMS and volunteer med first responder work should cover clinical experience
                  I also plan on shadowing at least 24 hours each with EM, FP, OB, Path, ROAD, surgery, and psych between now and application time. And will be looking into volunteering with the Red Cross at Womack army med center to get my foot in the door to some good mil med shadowing (USU hopeful)

                  My VFD time I believe will cover community service and leadership experience. I have also been speaking to one of my friends who is a freemason and have been considering joining. With them and my American legion outpost, there are plenty of community service opportunities.

                  So the only deficit I am aware of is in the EM concentration and lack of research.

                  Do you guys see any more? Also, Besides shadowing, what other clinical opportunities are there to broaden my view of medicine? I don't think I need to push beds around a hospital seeing as I push stretchers around all the time, but if that's the only opportunity for me I will certainly find a way to enjoy it.

                  Thank you all again.
                   

                  Fedfireman

                  Full Member
                  Apr 14, 2012
                  39
                  0
                  1. Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
                    Interests change. That's why you're going into medicine in the first place. Gandhi said, "My commitment is not to consistency, but to truth." If you realize that medicine is what you want, you will change your activities and academic pursuits to align with your goals. It's okay if this seems abrupt. Maybe you'd been stewing on this decision for a long time but the change is reflected suddenly on your CV. Whatever the circumstance, adcoms want to see as much dedication as possible to medicine. They want to know you're not just eking by with the minimum courses, but pursuing your professional interests with ECs as well.

                    Sometimes people need to keep unrelated jobs to pay the bills; however, that's not the case with the volunteer thing. I don't think it'll look weird if you quit VFD, and while you may receive questions on it, I think it'll be pretty obvious why you did it.

                    Bottom line: do as much medically relevant stuff as you can while keeping on paying the bills.

                    What kind of medically relevant stuff would you recommend?

                    I don't know how adcoms would see it but, if I saw an EMT who quit to be a CNA I would wonder just how crazy they were. By that I mean, I don't want to quit a good EC to pursue a lesser one. Unless the diversity would more than make up for the difference.
                     
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