Compass

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I am really confused at EMT. I have read most of the threads documenting how EMT pre-reqs are good and aren't good, but I'm confused about the basics, which most threads don't cover because they're either starting off and asking, or they're already deep into EMT.

First off, what are all the different licenses? My local hospital offers a 3-week course that certifies me to be something related to first responder work, first aid and CPR I believe, but I'm pretty sure that's not the right course I may be looking for, as EMT courses seem to take up 6 credits, have their own majors, and etc. I'm looking for general field/clinical/applicable experience, as I don't know exactly what I'm doing in the future, yet concerning an medical occupation. I'm also applying for a doctor shadowing program for next summer, so that field's already covered at my local hospital, but that is the only pre-med oriented program offered at my local hospital besides the classes that are offered.

No, I'm not going to be a dork and go "OMG I'm EMT cert, now on to the next task, studying for MCATs." I just don't know how far I should go if I'm not planning on a full career in EMT work as of yet? Help is appreciated, as always. TY for reading.
 

45408

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first responders take a super short course. EMT-Basic is 144 hours, and Paramedic is a 1000 more after EMT-B.
 
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Compass

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First responders are... people who just happen to be at an accident place, right?
 
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Aurora013

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Compass said:
First off, what are all the different licenses? My local hospital offers a 3-week course that certifies me to be something related to first responder work, first aid and CPR I believe, but I'm pretty sure that's not the right course I may be looking for, as EMT courses seem to take up 6 credits, have their own majors, and etc.
The two primary levels of being an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) are EMT-B (basic) and EMT-P (paramedic). Basics can do "basic" life support- provide oxygen, control bleeding, splint injuries, give basic meds (epi/albuterol, glucose, assist with nitro, activated charcoal/ipecac- this varies based on where you practice), backboard patients, and transport to the hospital, and must be certified in CPR and AED use. Most EMT classes last betwen 4-8 mos, depending on how much time is required, and how often you meet. Classes are not always offered through schools, but through your regional EMS office as well, though depending on your school you can get class credit for "biology electives" for taking an EMT class.

Paramedics are "advanced" life support providers- they can start IVs, do intubations, read EKGs and push a variety of meds on standing orders. This course is a lot longer, as in 1-2 years plus a few hundred hours of ride time and hospital observations, and to take you must be proficient in all your basic skills (most classes that I know of make you retake your basic practical, and if you fail any of the skills you can't take that class).

In addition, different states have different levels of training in between, with the most common being EMT-I (intermediate). Intermediates (at least in NYS) can start IVs, do intubations, but can only push a few meds (epi, albuteral, glucose, dextrose, and there are two more that they can push in this area that I don't remember). Again, that's something that varies state by state. NY also has EMT-CC (critical care technicians). They're effectively paramedics, except they only have a handful on meds they can push on standing orders, and need to call a doctor in order to use the others.

From what little you mentioned about the class the hospitals offers, it sounds like it's a CFR (certified first responder) course. As you said, it teaches basic first aid, CPR, and most teach basic patient evaluation, including backboarding and splinting. You can't ride on an ambulance by yourself as only a CFR, but for most firedepartments in my area, it's the mimimum requirement to be able to ride with them.

As far as being their own major, the only place in the area that I know that do it are one of the local CCs and SUNY-Cobleskill (~1 hr away), where you can get an associates degree as a paramedic, but in addition to taking the medic class, you have to take a bunch of other classes as well (or you can just get the EMT-P degree without the major).



Compass said:
I'm looking for general field/clinical/applicable experience, as I don't know exactly what I'm doing in the future, yet concerning an medical occupation.
The best thing about being an EMT in the is that you actually get to do the hands on patient care, get used to seeing the trauma and gore first hand, learn how to do patient assessments, and learn to think "outside the box." Granted, as a basic you do a lot less of the above, since for the more serious calls there's a medic on scene who will provide the advanced care. The solution is simple- get to know your medics very well, especially if they're a part of the agency you belong to, and you'll be able to help them out. I'm a basic, and can set up the Lifepak (cardiac monitor), am learning how to read EKGs, can do all the set up of an IV line, know how to stick a patient (even though I've never actually done it), and know a good deal about the drugs the medics use. Granted, most of the latter you can learn doing shadowing in an ER, but you lack the patient interaction you would gain in the field.

Compass said:
I just don't know how far I should go if I'm not planning on a full career in EMT work as of yet?
I got into EMS by joining the squad on campus because I thought it would be a great way to get a hands on look at medicine. From there I got a job at a local commercial agency, and work a 24 hour shift a week during the semester, which is enough to pay the bills. Since I gave up lab work (I hated it with a passion), I now work full time during the summer (as in 50-60+ hours a week), but if you have another job it's not that hard to stay part time. In addition, I recently joined another volunteer agency in the area so I can have some more variety in the calls I take. For most volunteer agencies, you just have to pledge one twelve hour shift a week with (possible) rotating weekends (where I joined, it's one saturday every 6 weeks), and usually monthly (if that often) training drills.

I know I'm not the best example of not doing full time with EMS, but it's something I stopped doing long ago just to look good for med school. It's gotten under my skin, and is something I truly enjoy doing. If you do it just for med school purposes, you'll never have the true passion for it, and would be better off just doing shadowing in the ER. On the same token, you can be completely dedicated to EMS and not plan to make a career out of it. Case in point, my best friend, who wants to go for her PhD in neuroscience, has absolutely no desire to get an MD whatsoever, but loves doing EMS, and rides twice a week just for fun. How much you get out of it us completely up to you, and how far you go depends on how much you enjoy it.

And now that I've gone on forever...I think I'm done. :p If you have any more questions though, feel free to PM me.
 

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exactly who first responders are depends on the 911 system of the county/city/town or whatever. Typically first responders are firefighters. I doubt a first responder cert. will allow you to join any kind of organization where you'll actually get to use it, unless you're already a firefighter. I'd go for the EMT, it takes a semester, and i'll open up opportunities to actually get to use it. You're right not to just want to get the cert. b/c i doubt it means anything if you don't do something with it. Before you spend time in a class it would be good to find out how your ems system works, is it a private company? run by the county? It'll be harder to get hired in a paid EMS organization, so if you have a local rescue squad, or campus based ems that uses volunteers that's a great place to get some experience.
Hope this helps
 
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Compass

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TY. I guess I'll just do First Responder first then, to just get a taste, as it is a short course, an then see where I go from there.
 

45408

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CTtarheel said:
exactly who first responders are depends on the 911 system of the county/city/town or whatever. Typically first responders are firefighters. I doubt a first responder cert. will allow you to join any kind of organization where you'll actually get to use it, unless you're already a firefighter. I'd go for the EMT, it takes a semester, and i'll open up opportunities to actually get to use it. You're right not to just want to get the cert. b/c i doubt it means anything if you don't do something with it. Before you spend time in a class it would be good to find out how your ems system works, is it a private company? run by the county? It'll be harder to get hired in a paid EMS organization, so if you have a local rescue squad, or campus based ems that uses volunteers that's a great place to get some experience.
Hope this helps
all our firefighters are EMT-Bs, and only the cops are first responders
 

45408

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Compass said:
TY. I guess I'll just do First Responder first then, to just get a taste, as it is a short course, an then see where I go from there.
I wouldn't bother
 

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TheProwler said:
I wouldn't bother
I agree . . . you can't do anything with it, and no med school is going to care that you spent a couple weeks in a first responder class.
 

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I agree. Go the EMT-B route. It is an amazing experience. If you want your certification in first aid, CPR and AED, go to the red cross. You can even take the course that let's you teach CPR etc.
 

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Compass said:
I am really confused at EMT. I have read most of the threads documenting how EMT pre-reqs are good and aren't good, but I'm confused about the basics, which most threads don't cover because they're either starting off and asking, or they're already deep into EMT.

First off, what are all the different licenses? My local hospital offers a 3-week course that certifies me to be something related to first responder work, first aid and CPR I believe, but I'm pretty sure that's not the right course I may be looking for, as EMT courses seem to take up 6 credits, have their own majors, and etc. I'm looking for general field/clinical/applicable experience, as I don't know exactly what I'm doing in the future, yet concerning an medical occupation. I'm also applying for a doctor shadowing program for next summer, so that field's already covered at my local hospital, but that is the only pre-med oriented program offered at my local hospital besides the classes that are offered.

No, I'm not going to be a dork and go "OMG I'm EMT cert, now on to the next task, studying for MCATs." I just don't know how far I should go if I'm not planning on a full career in EMT work as of yet? Help is appreciated, as always. TY for reading.

Get in touch with your local EMS service. Sometimes they'll let people do ride-outs. You do nothing, are not allowed to touch anything, but you can see what all goes on.
 

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CTtarheel said:
I agree . . . you can't do anything with it, and no med school is going to care that you spent a couple weeks in a first responder class.
I agree. Med schools aren't going to care that you spent 50 hours on a First Responder class.

Med schools also aren't going to care that you spent 140 hours on an EMT class.

If you take a first responder class, then volunteer with the VFD, that's great. If you take an EMT class and volunteer/work with an EMS unit, that's great too.

Just the fact of having an EMT? Nada. You're saying, "I was able to pass an 8 unit class taught at a basic introductory science level." It's what you make of it that counts.
 

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notdeadyet said:
I agree. Med schools aren't going to care that you spent 50 hours on a First Responder class.

Med schools also aren't going to care that you spent 140 hours on an EMT class.

If you take a first responder class, then volunteer with the VFD, that's great. If you take an EMT class and volunteer/work with an EMS unit, that's great too.

Just the fact of having an EMT? Nada. You're saying, "I was able to pass an 8 unit class taught at a basic introductory science level." It's what you make of it that counts.
This is very true. EMT-basic is just that, a basic course. Afterwards you aren't really able to give any drugs nor can you start IV's, or do many procedures. Really if you want to work/volunteer on an ambulance or in an ER, it might be helpful in getting a position. Otherwise, it isn't going to make you stand out any, for taking the class.
 

45408

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your last name really is Pardi? seriously? Haha.
 
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For me (SF bay area) the first responder class is a pre req for the EMT-B classes. First Responder class met Saturday mornings for a quarter, and the EMT-B classes met two nights a week for two quarters. The classes are a lot of fun.

If you've taken (and applied yourself to) any basic Anatomy & Phys courses, it takes very little study time to do well.

It's good training for anyone, regardless of occupation or educational goals. For pre-meds, it is particularly helpfull. You learn basic life support and (near the end of your training) get the honor of riding with an ambulance crew and working in an ER.

You will get patient contact. For myself and a few of my classmates, It was an incredible experience to be able to assist patients during their time of need.

Before clinical experiences, I was beginning to stress over the weaknesses in my med school app.s, but after actually helping people who were having emergencies, I had an epiphany.

I want to be an MD. But after helping sick and injured ppl who really needed it, I realized that I would be absolutely content and wholly fulfilled being an MD, DO, RN, CNA, ER volunteer, or whatever; as long as I can continue to help sick or traumatized individuals.

It sounds corny, I know, but it has been a mind-blowing experience to step away from the books and actually help someone.
 

Rachael07

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Becoming an EMT is a great way to get clinical experience, obtain leadership skills, and prove to medical schools your devotion to medicine. I've been on 2 different ambulance squads for 3 years now, have held positions in various offices, and am currently a crew chief. My hours on these ambulance core well exceed 4000 hours, so its impressive to med schools to show that devotion.
Being an EMT, you can have "real" patient interactions, and make a difference in someones day. Most of my personal statement was about my experience of being an EMT and a time that I had to help someone during an emergency on a plane.
I would defintely say it is worth becoming an EMT, not only for the clinical experience, but for the ability to really help someone and make their day better.
 

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ghostfoot said:
For me (SF bay area) the first responder class is a pre req for the EMT-B classes. First Responder class met Saturday mornings for a quarter, and the EMT-B classes met two nights a week for two quarters. The classes are a lot of fun.
Interesting. Must be a CCSF or Skyline requirement. You can get an EMT in NorCal without a first responder.
 
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