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EMT experience

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by asdasd12345, Apr 2, 2004.

  1. asdasd12345

    asdasd12345 Membership Revoked
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    do any of you recommend becoming an EMT (1 semester course) for a year or so before applying to medical school? Does this look good on an application, and how "dangerous" of a job is it?
     
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  3. Pinkertinkle

    Pinkertinkle 2003 Member
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    There is no inherent value in being an EMT just to polish your application.
     
  4. coldchemist

    coldchemist Biowulf
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    First of all, taking the class doesn't necessarily mean you'll be an EMT. First you have to take the exam (preferably the national exam), then you have to be accepted by a department. Finally, you really need to actually spend some time going out on calls for the experience to be worth anything. You will probably only be able to do this in a volunteer capacity, because in order to get paid you usually have to be a career firefighter with EMT training.

    Second, no it's not a dangerous job for the most part. Any time there is any violence/danger at the scene, the dispatcher is supposed to have you hold the ambulance a good distance away until the police have arrived. They secure the area before you are asked to move in. The idea is, the police officers have taken a position that involves substantial risk (and substantial training). The same is not true for EMT's (at least according to US national standards), and so they are actually not supposed to be in dangerous situations. Additionally, EMT's can and will be reprimanded for ignoring orders that pertain to their own safety.

    The only danger that EMT's frequently encounter comes from psych patients who might be somewhat unpredictable (due to drug ingestion, mental illness, depression, etc.).
     
  5. hakksar

    hakksar Senior Member
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    First of all if the only reason you are becoming an EMT is to "pad" your application I would advise against it. However, if you want to have a stong foundation in basic emergency response or you are looking for a reality check about modern medicine it may well be a rewarding experience.

    Becoming an EMT only really involves two steps, first you will need to take a course approved by your state and second you would need to pass the practical and written certification exam (either state or National Registry, but you will need to be certified by your state to be considered an EMT).

    In order to get more out of your experience than just a strong foundation in basic emergency response you will need to find a place to use your skills. Volunteer agencies are a good place to use these skills (I was a member of a search and rescue team). However, there is employment outside of working for the fire department. I would check with any private ambulance companies in your area (I worked for one in the summers while in college) or any other paid emergency response agencies/groups in your area (I worked for a paid Ski Patrol in Graduate School). There is also employment in some Emergency Rooms or clinics as an EMT.

    As for risk it is all relative. While it is true you should not be going into violent situations or into burning buildings as an EMT without any additional training there is risk in working on an ambulance. You spend your entire day working in a motor vehicle and occasionally driving lights and sirens leading to an increased risk of motor vehicle accidents. In addition, some scenes are not safe due to traffic, bystanders, and other risks. Even violent situations are not always avoidable (while your dispatcher should hold you out of violent scenes the dispatcher is at the mercy of the reporting party to determine if the scene is dangerous). It is a calculated risk though, the job is much safer than many other jobs and the rewards are many.
     
  6. TheRussian

    TheRussian Life Size Mirror
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    I have been an EMT for over three years now. It is a great experience. My reasoning for doing that is to make sure that I really like working with patients and to make sure that medicine is right for me. From my experiences I have learned a lot about myself and about medicine. This helped me write a pretty good personal statement and gave me a lot to talk about at the interviews when I was asked about why I want to go into medicine and I was also able to speak from first hand expeiences about problems in medical care.

    As far as danger goes, it all depends where you work. I worked for a private ambulance company in upper middle class suburbs. There was never any real danger that I faced and most of my work was transporting patients from one facility to another. I enjoyed this part more than some of the "whackers" out there because it really gave me a chance to talk to patients and develop my interview skills.

    It is a great experience and I recommend that anyone interested in medicine should do it.
     
  7. coldchemist

    coldchemist Biowulf
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    Well there you go...straight from the horses mouth! I forgot about private companies--there aren't any of those where I'm from.

    Sounds like you had a great experience, Russian! I'm so totally envious! I got my EMT I certification a long time ago, and even got hooked up with a volunteer squad. Unfortunately, my personal transportation became unreliable, and the station was way out of town, so I had to drop out before I got to go on any runs. Plus the chief wanted me to retake the EMT class (only six months after I got certified!), and I had just begun taking my premed requirements. I really wish I could have been able to do it.
     
  8. fullefect1

    fullefect1 Senior Member
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    I just watched the show called "paramedics" and they provide bullet proof vests to the paramedics in LA. They had put them while they were attending a man who was just recently shot, unfortunately the man died.
     
  9. asdasd12345

    asdasd12345 Membership Revoked
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    if u could pick between certified nursing assistant or emergecncy medical technician, which one would be more valuable do u think? they are both the same amount of time at my local CC, and i know i really have to do something to increase my chances, because they are less than 0 at present.
     
  10. Pinkertinkle

    Pinkertinkle 2003 Member
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    Stop thinking in terms of what adcoms want to see. Nothing is inherently better than the other, just choose what you think you will like more and adcoms will appreciate that.
     
  11. TheRussian

    TheRussian Life Size Mirror
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    Pinkertinkle is right, but if you are picking between the two for the "right" reasons I would say go for EMT. I am not sure what the responsibilities of a nursing assistant are but from my experiences is that part of it requires them to clean up after the patients and feed them their dinner if they are unable to.
    At least as an EMT you are able to provide some first aid and administer some drugs as well as play diagnosing games though technically we can't diagnose.

    (If I'm incorrect about the responsibilites of an nursing assistant than I apologize in advance)
     
  12. hakksar

    hakksar Senior Member
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    Depends on what you want to do. CNA's usually work in the hospital/nursing home doing tasks such as lifting/moving patients, taking vitals, changing bed pans, and assisting the nurses in other ways. EMT's usually work in the field (ie on an ambulance or other rescue squad) where you perform tasks such as taking vitals, lifting/moving patients, and assisting the Paramedic (exception when you are on a BLS ambulance or are on a BLS rescue squad or call where you assist other EMT or are in charge yourself). EMTs also work in ER's, Urgent Care Facilities and some ICU's performing many of the same tasks as CNA's do (in addition some EMT's in Colorado also are taught to cast and do additional wound care).

    EMT's can also take additional training (at least in Colorado) and get IV certified which allows them to start IV's and push D-50 (50% Dextrose). EMT's with approval and orders from a Physician Advisor can also administer Nitroglycerin, Albuterol (for asthmatics), Activated Charcoal, Epi-Pens (Epinephrine for a severe allergic reaction/anaphylaxis), oral glucose, Oxygen, and baby aspirin for heart attacks. EMT's also can take an EKG class (at least in Colorado) which really does not allow you to do much more but is good training. As far as I know CNA's are not authorized to give any medication (except probably O2) without the nurse being present so in this way EMT's have more autonomy.

    They both will provide a rewarding experience. CNA's probably get exposed to a more accurate view of modern healthcare and in particular hospital medicine since they spend more time there. EMT's probably gain more experience with decision making in medicine and form closer relationships with Physicians since they rely on a Physician Advisor for protocols and orders (at least I got to know one of my Physician Advisors very well) whereas CNA's work with nurses (and may be under the nurses license although they may have their own). Either one will be impressive to adcomm's although you will not enjoy either one if you are not doing it for the right reasons.
     
  13. Jonathanamine

    Jonathanamine Senior Member
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    i agree with the previous posts---become an EMT because you want to, not to polish your application. because when it comes down to it, you will be miserable...why do something you don't like?

    I'm a graduating senior, starting med school (hopefully) in the fall. I became an EMT my sophomore year...fortunately i was hired on at a level 1 trauma center (our state only has 2). we average around 300 patients a day, ranging from medical to trauma, with all types of cultures and socioeconomic status. i think the only reason i was hired on (without any experience after EMT school) was because i showed interest and engaged myself. Last summer, I had the opportunity to ride along with our flight progam (one of the top ones in the country). our emergency residency program is outstanding, and part of the training for the residents is in the helicopter. (i think there's only a few that do this in the US).

    so all-in-all, my EMT experience has been positive. it has exposed me to many aspects of medicine i never would have found. i'm also better prepared in my communication, "ethical decisions", and patient care...most importantly, it has confirmed my desire to become a physician and serve God through medicine. i'm one of those people that has to test the waters first....this was how i did it. hope that helps.
     

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