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Member 870

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I'm waitlisted at my state school with little chance of getting in this year. I'm thinking of getting my EMT certification. I enjoy giving first aid ( I lifeguarded at a busy beach for a few summers) and its something I've always wanted to do. However, treading these forums, I've heard people talk about being an ER Tech. What is this? What do they do? But more importantly, would it impress an admissions committee more than being an EMT? I need a job next spring, preferibly in a clinical setting. Any suggestions? .......Please?
 

Captain Fantastic

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An ER Tech does basic patient care in the ED. So that's vital signs, scribing during traumas, traction for casting, etc., and lots and lots of dressing beds. Crap rolls down hill and either way (ER Tech in the ED or EMT in the field) you'll be on the bottom of the totem poll.

Being an EMT in the field versus an ER Tech in the ED won't make a difference to the adcom. The adcom doesn't care what your specific patient care experiences are, so long as you have them.
 

armybound

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EMT will let you be an ER tech, or a large variety of other techs.

I personally worked as a tech in the ICU with my EMT certification. A lot less crap work than the ER, a lot better attitude from staff.. overall a better job, imo.
 
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Member 870

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Thanks for the advice, guys! Armybound, do you spend all your spare time on these forums? Your posts are ubiquitous!
 

Nasrudin

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The only possible advantage from working in the hospital is that you rub elbows with more physicians. If you work hard and play nice you could hustle some LOR's. Where I live being and EMT-B for an ambulance company doesn't pay d!ck either so maybe that's another advantage.
 

MrToilet

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I work as an ER Tech in a pediatric and adult ER in Des Moines, and I love my job- I put on splints, draw blood, start IV's, help with CPR's and trauma patients, along with all the mundane tasks like stocking and cleaning rooms. Every school I interviewed at was pretty impressed at my experience- working in an ER gives you exposure to pretty much everything you can think of. (heehee, this is starting to sound like my personal statement... :):) )

Seriously, though, working in an ER gives you lots of patient contact, physician contact, and you know you can work in a stressfull environment. It's kind of funny, when friends of mine who work in banks and stuff say "Yeah, I got behind in my paperwork, it was pretty stressful." Yeah, my stressful day is when people are dying around me. Nice. :)

Like previous posts, having an EMT-B certification is nice, but I don't think you get quite the amount of experience that you would working in an ER.

Just my (very long) 2 cents. BTW, I'll be attending KCUMB in the fall!
 

Puravida82

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Go ER Tech. I don't know how the ad boards will view it, but in the end ER techs are better paid, get more experience, and work with docors and nurses. It's simply higher up the totem pole (here in LA). For most ER Tech jobs you need a year of EMT experience to be even considered. Most of my EMT job was spent reading books and sleeping, hehe.

I'll be starting my ER tech job next week :)
 
C

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Neither will impress an adcom more than a great MCAT. Showing patient care experience is always good, but even a nurse/PA/med tech will get rejected with a low MCAT score or bad grades.
 
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Nasrudin

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There seems to be high variability with the type of training required for ED tech and with the types of responsibilities allocated to them. State law plays a major role as well as the union density of other professions. The california nurse's association throws its weight around the healthcare environment like they it was on the sopranos. As a result ED tech's cannot draw blood ot IV's in the hospitals in my area. But we do splints, woundcare, vitals, and an assorted array of scut. CNA's work the floors and EMT-B's work the ED with some CNA's as well but even this is highly variable as the recertification of your EMT-B is not even necessary so there you go into the jungle of nonsense that is our system, have fun.
 

Emedpa

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Around here all the hospitals require that you are a CNA to work as an ER Tech. Emt-b doesn't cut it. They will accept a CNA certification without the EMT-B, but not a EMT without the CNA.

so they will take the 12 hr class but not the 120 hr class? that makes lots of sense....in many parts of the country it is the other way around. start as emt-b and get extra in hospital certs to draw blood, give im injections etc

emedpa
former er tech( and emt) in southern ca...before many of you were born....

more er tech info(copied from a post in 2004- some of this is no longer in the scope for er techs):
er tech is the way to go for entry level er positions. you can be involved in every case. work with docs/pa's/nurses/paramedics/etc to see who all the players are and what they do. it's a great job(salary sucks, but you can't have it all)
I was an er tech/emt for 5 years before medic(emt-p) school and worked my way up the ranks. after a while I was staring iv's and doing all the rn level skills. they even scheduled me to work if an rn was sick.I never made more than $7/hr as an er tech though(keep in mind this was almost 20 yrs ago). I hear er techs now make $10-16/hr or so.
basic er tech skills:
brief hx taking with vital signs
phlebotomy
im injections
splinting/wound bandaging
minor surgical assisting
cpr during codes
pt transport
urine testing
minor lab procedures(strep/mono/spinning crits/etc)
labeling/dispensing take home meds
restraining psych pts
applying o2 devices/suctioning
taking resports from ems personnel on arriving pts
performing ekg's
giving neb tx and doing spirometry/peak flow testing
vision/hearing screening

adv er tech skills:
iv's/iv meds
foleys
abg's
ng tubes
 
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Kuba

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Around here all the hospitals require that you are a CNA to work as an ER Tech. Emt-b doesn't cut it. They will accept a CNA certification without the EMT-B, but not a EMT without the CNA.

not true in the hospitals here in CT. Most prefer EMT and will also look at CNA. I had 2 ED tech jobs with an EMT only. I draw blood, EKGs, vitals, hep locks, etc. Used to be able to start and take off IVs, but not anymore.
 

slinkeyooo

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I think EMT is the better route to go, you can work either on an ambulance or in a hospital as a tech with that certification. Also if you work on an ambulance you do have some independence and it shows adcoms that you can work under pressure. IE... YOU MAKE THE DECISIONS IN THE FIELD. In the hospital you are only doing what you are told. I do think though that a strong mcat and a good gpa trump all. However anything to make yourself stand apart from another applicant will help you.
 

MicroBugs

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Hey depending on the area you live in, you can swing an ED tech job and volunteer a bit as an EMT. Where I am is totally volunteer rescue squads and we see everything, the hospitals have a private company to do non-emergency transports, so that leaves the good stuff for us. Our ED techs in the area have to have been an EMTb with a year's experience in the field, for the Children's hospital ED, you have to be an EMTi at least, though you can work on the floors as an EMTb. Anything you end up doing will likely look good, just be proactive, and keep your eyes open, sometimes there are different positions open that your EMT might help with. I ended up as an Endoscopy Tech and it's been a huge learning experience all around. Whatever you do, have fun.
 

Captain Fantastic

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Interesting that some of you guys work places where the ED Techs have to come with experience. In my area we have two services that cover 911 (I work for both). One place only hires medics or EMTs in medic school. The other place makes new EMTs start in the ED. You can orient to the truck after 6 months in the ED, but usually you can't get on the ambulance schedule until you've had a year being the scut-monkey for the nurses.

You'll see more as a tech in the ED, but you'll have more responsibility in the field. In the end, the adcom won't care. You'll talk passionately about what you did and they'll see you have patient care experience. The box will get checked and they'll move on to the next question.
 

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Does anyone know of any websites that can help guide me through the emt-b certification process...and also where I can receive the training?
 

armybound

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Does anyone know of any websites that can help guide me through the emt-b certification process...and also where I can receive the training?
Google might help, or look at the webpage of your local community college.

The training course will also walk you through the certification process. Basically you need the training course, the in-hospital and in-ambulance training hours (which are part of the course) and you need to pass the certification exam, which the course should prepare you for.
 

Sanriokilljoy

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EMT certification is somewhat different per state; check your state's department of health certification info.
Keep in mind that working as an EMT is very taxing especially if you're taking classes. When I worked for private ems, I'd have 14-16 hour shifts. Plus driving around town all day wears you down. At least at the hospital, you stay at one place.
 

shaggybill

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so they will take the 12 hr class but not the 120 hr class? that makes lots of sense....in many parts of the country it is the other way around. start as emt-b and get extra in hospital certs to draw blood, give im injections etc

emedpa

It may be different in CA, but here the CNA (or NA) course is around 80 hours, I believe.
 

Emedpa

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It may be different in CA, but here the CNA (or NA) course is around 80 hours, I believe.

here it can be done as a few 3 hr classes over 2 weeks. the local nursing school requires all applicants( even those with considerable experience as xray techs, medical assts, emt's , etc) to take this(bogus) class.
 
D

deleted109597

Depending on the hospital, you might be able to be a PCA/PCP without the CNA tag.

Although I must say, when I was applying 5 years ago, I heard on at least 3 occasions something like "Why did you work as an ER tech instead of on the floor, where you would have continuity of care?"
After I didn't get in that time, I changed to the ICU/CCU and SCU, but essentially became a float for the entire hospital at the discretion of the night supervisor. I got in the second time, without retaking the MCAT, so whatever works.

They also asked me why I didn't volunteer more, as apparently my full-time job/full-time Chemistry bachelor's work just left too much free time during the week. G**D*** adcoms.
 

winthug

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I got hired as an ERT w/ no field experience, only my EMT-B license (in CA). I think having ERT experience SIGNIFICANTLY helps your application at the interview level. While most people are talking about, "When I volunteered, I knew from that point on that I wanted to be a doctor, especially after giving that patient the warm blanket he really needed", you can brag about so much more stuff as an ERT like, "I got to help w/ CPR on this teenager that got stabbed" or "I'm responsible for triaging the patients that come into the ER." You're medical vocabulary and acronym knowledge goes up like crazy so you can say, "This one pt had a STEMI" instead of "he had a really bad heart attack." For me at least, I work 12 hr shifts (7a or 7p) while field EMTs probably WORK 4 out of their 10-12 hrs. I make $12-13/hr which isn't great, but I get OT every shift for working over 8 hrs/day. I think the best part is that you get to work w/ the docs and help them or watch procedures like intubations, sutures, and thoracotomies. I saw a urologist yesterday do a difficult foley on this guy, MAN, I would never want that done to me. Talk about putting a clothes hanger wire down ur pee hole, it hurt me just to watch it.

The bad side of working as an ERT is that your job is basically the time consuming stuff, like transferring patients, stocking rooms, vitals, making beds, showering patients, EKGs, and etc. You also smell some of the worst odors, EVER. I think I've killed some of my brain cells just smelling crap, and I thought mine was pretty smelly.
 

FoughtFyr

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I think getting ED experience before Med School is GREAT! :clap:
Welcome to the party.

That said...

If you are counting on your ED "experience" to bolster an application, I should warn you now - it probably won't. I was a firefighter / paramedic for 8 years before medical school. I recieved almost no consideration for the experience beyond that which would have been given for working any job (or volunteer activity). Since my admission, I have found this is a policy at my school (not differentiating between types of employment before medical school) and I was told by a dean that this is a common practice. You might get a bit of "help" as you have proven interest in medicine, and another bit for working or volunteering, but that is it. Sorry. When I served on our adcom it was explained to me that it was simply "too difficult" to sort out who did what in any given job or volunteer experience. So unless you started a multi-million dollar charity or served as the director of EMS for a large city, it all counts the same.

One interesting story...
I was a paramedic instructor at a medical center directly affiliated with a medical school. As such, I was asked to teach the third year students "ward skills", e.g., how to defibrillate, start IVs, etc. I would have done so happily, except I had recieved a rejection letter (before interview!) the day before! Yep, I can teach there - just can't go there! And not even a courtesy interview...

Bottom line, do it if you want to, but don't count on it to push your application "over the edge".

- H
 

winthug

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Yah, that's why it mostly helps on the interview level, not pre-interview.
 

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You also smell some of the worst odors, EVER. I think I've killed some of my brain cells just smelling crap, and I thought mine was pretty smelly.

:laugh: Yeah, that's not a phenomenon isolated to the ED. You get that riding the short wagon, too, and while responding on emergency calls.
 

Member 870

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Thanks You to all those who responded to my thread! I appreciate all the terrific advice! Viva SDN!! I will def. take EMT-B classes in the fall. (In Tennessee), but I have another question:

This course is offered at a local community college. It's 1 semester long, Sat. and Sun. 9am-7pm. 17 credit hours. At the end of the semester you get a technical certificate and can take the national exam. Here is a link for the program:

http://www.southwest.tn.edu/course_descriptions/emt.asp

My question: Why is this course so long? I looked at another course that only met for 7hrs a week in Arkansas. I know that state regs. vary, but this is a big difference. I contacted the program director, and he said they teach more pharmacology and how to do IV's and give more meds, etc., but I hear that EMT-B's can't stick anyone (except Epi-pens) or give most meds. Any thoughts?
 

Nasrudin

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Thanks You to all those who responded to my thread! I appreciate all the terrific advice! Viva SDN!! I will def. take EMT-B classes in the fall. (In Tennessee), but I have another question:

This course is offered at a local community college. It's 1 semester long, Sat. and Sun. 9am-7pm. 17 credit hours. At the end of the semester you get a technical certificate and can take the national exam. Here is a link for the program:

http://www.southwest.tn.edu/course_descriptions/emt.asp

My question: Why is this course so long? I looked at another course that only met for 7hrs a week in Arkansas. I know that state regs. vary, but this is a big difference. I contacted the program director, and he said they teach more pharmacology and how to do IV's and give more meds, etc., but I hear that EMT-B's can't stick anyone (except Epi-pens) or give most meds. Any thoughts?

I took a 14 hr Emt course at a CC. I learned all kinds cardio/respiratory physiology. When I went to work in an ED, they showed me how to stock things and push a gurney. Welcome to healthcare in the US of A where everyone can go to a liitle trade college and pay thousands for a certification in how to wipe your own ass and get paid in a hospital for doing that and little else. It's simple. It's highly variable. It's political. It's often adversarial. It's the battle for turf and who gets what part of the patient and who does what in patient care. And its a mess. It's frustrating. And that's why we should all become physicians or just do something else.
The turf battle extends from the hospital out into the field of pre-hospital medicine to a lesser degree...but only if your a paramedic---here again depending on location.
Do it for your own purposes. To make money. To pad your resume. To get letters of recommendation. That type of thing. Save yourself the agony of making sense out of it or trying to make more of it than it is. Does it matter in the grander scheme of things whether or not your able to do venupuncture on your patients. If you're on your way to becoming a physician then I would argue it doesn't matter one bit. These clinical skill are nice to have under your belt for your own comfort when you need them only. They are not necessary.

Emt-B's studying pharmocology so they can give meds.....that's pretty funny. Have fun studying the contraindications for activated charcoal.
 

Wackie

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Thanks You to all those who responded to my thread! I appreciate all the terrific advice! Viva SDN!! I will def. take EMT-B classes in the fall. (In Tennessee), but I have another question:

This course is offered at a local community college. It's 1 semester long, Sat. and Sun. 9am-7pm. 17 credit hours. At the end of the semester you get a technical certificate and can take the national exam. Here is a link for the program:

http://www.southwest.tn.edu/course_descriptions/emt.asp

My question: Why is this course so long? I looked at another course that only met for 7hrs a week in Arkansas. I know that state regs. vary, but this is a big difference. I contacted the program director, and he said they teach more pharmacology and how to do IV's and give more meds, etc., but I hear that EMT-B's can't stick anyone (except Epi-pens) or give most meds. Any thoughts?


It's up to your medical director as to what you can give.
Are you sure the longer course wasn't for EMT-I (Intermediate)? Here in Texas, an EMT-B can get more instruction and do IV's and a few other drugs.

I say this to everyone interested. First, it has to be for you. Not an application. Secondly, do a job search and see the availability of jobs. Usually, an ER Tech job requiring an EMT-B cert is extremely competitive. Usually 200+ applicants for one job. It would suck to take a semester of classes, put up with clinicals, only to find you can't use it.
 

GreenShirt

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Thanks You to all those who responded to my thread! I appreciate all the terrific advice! Viva SDN!! I will def. take EMT-B classes in the fall. (In Tennessee), but I have another question:

This course is offered at a local community college. It's 1 semester long, Sat. and Sun. 9am-7pm. 17 credit hours. At the end of the semester you get a technical certificate and can take the national exam. Here is a link for the program:

http://www.southwest.tn.edu/course_descriptions/emt.asp

My question: Why is this course so long? I looked at another course that only met for 7hrs a week in Arkansas. I know that state regs. vary, but this is a big difference. I contacted the program director, and he said they teach more pharmacology and how to do IV's and give more meds, etc., but I hear that EMT-B's can't stick anyone (except Epi-pens) or give most meds. Any thoughts?

Things vary by state, but in MO the EMT-B course is 8hr per week for a semester and certification requires at least 120hrs of classroom instruction. An EMT-B actually can't administer anything w/out orders from a physician in most states. So if your patient needs an aspirin, you actually have to call your medical director before you give it.

I worked at an ED Tech and it was great, but these positions are fairly coveted b/c they usually pay more than EMS does, so it may be harder to land one of these jobs (at least in my state). Depending on the trauma level of the hospital, they have different requirements for the Tech. A level I trauma center will prefer paramedics with +3yrs of field experience vs. the non-trauma hospital where I worked which accepted nursing students, CNAs or EMT-Bs.
 
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