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EMT worth it?

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SmallyBells

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I'm currently a junior, considering if becoming and working/volunteering as an EMT would be beneficial for my application.

A little about me - cGPA 3.99, sGPA 4.0. Currently a scribe in an ED with about 300 clinical hours. About 100 volunteer hours at an animal shelter, and just became a volunteer for Big Brothers. About 400 hours of ecology research (1 paper published), 100 hours of physics research (eclipse, mostly data analysis), 100 hours of organic chemistry research. Tutor for my university, and NCAA athlete. I'm planning to continue being a scribe, volunteering for Big Brothers, and researching, so I will get a lot more hours that way before I apply.

My question is if I should apply for clinical research opportunities over the summer, or use this summer to take EMT classes. I suppose I could take the classes during fall of next year, and would definitely be able to do it along side undergrad work, but would becoming an EMT be worth it because I'm already a scribe? I don't have any clinical volunteering right now...would volunteering as an EMT be a good way to boost my application in that sense? I haven't even begun studying for the MCAT yet, and would probably take it during my senior year at some point, and then apply the spring of my senior year.

Thanks for the help!
 

gonnif

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You have no clinical volunteering??
you think scribe is sufficient??
You think EMT in non-hospital/non clinical setting will overcome this??

Working as An EMT in a volunteer setting would be good but you need hospital/clinic volunteering. I wrote about this just yesterday

How important is sGPA compared to overall GPA?
 
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SmallyBells

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You have no clinical volunteering??
you think scribe is sufficient??
You think EMT in non-hospital/non clinical setting will overcome this??

Working as An EMT in a volunteer setting would be good but you need hospital/clinic volunteering. I wrote about this just yesterday

How important is sGPA compared to overall GPA?

Is scribing really not sufficient? By the time I'll apply I'll probably have about 2000 clinical hours scribing, and 1000 non-clinical volunteering hours. I read your other post, but how is volunteering in a clinical setting more beneficial than getting paid for clinical experience? I'm definitely not scribing for the money lol...I make minimum wage.
 

gonnif

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Is scribing really not sufficient? By the time I'll apply I'll probably have about 2000 clinical hours scribing, and 1000 non-clinical volunteering hours. I read your other post, but how is volunteering in a clinical setting more beneficial than getting paid for clinical experience? I'm definitely not scribing for the money lol...I make minimum wage.
To quote the usually verbose @Goro "altrusim"

There was a thread discussing both sides today

Volunteering vs Work Experience as a Pre Med
 
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Goro

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I'm currently a junior, considering if becoming and working/volunteering as an EMT would be beneficial for my application.

A little about me - cGPA 3.99, sGPA 4.0. Currently a scribe in an ED with about 300 clinical hours. About 100 volunteer hours at an animal shelter, and just became a volunteer for Big Brothers. About 400 hours of ecology research (1 paper published), 100 hours of physics research (eclipse, mostly data analysis), 100 hours of organic chemistry research. Tutor for my university, and NCAA athlete. I'm planning to continue being a scribe, volunteering for Big Brothers, and researching, so I will get a lot more hours that way before I apply.

My question is if I should apply for clinical research opportunities over the summer, or use this summer to take EMT classes. I suppose I could take the classes during fall of next year, and would definitely be able to do it along side undergrad work, but would becoming an EMT be worth it because I'm already a scribe? I don't have any clinical volunteering right now...would volunteering as an EMT be a good way to boost my application in that sense? I haven't even begun studying for the MCAT yet, and would probably take it during my senior year at some point, and then apply the spring of my senior year.

Thanks for the help!
To me, EMT = glorified cab driver
 
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SmallyBells

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You'll garner far more respect as a paramedic.

Of course, but I'm not sure if it would be worth the time or money to invest into becoming a paramedic, especially if I would only be one for a year. Is clinical volunteering that important? Should I be investing more time into that even though I'm getting clinical experience being a scribe?
 

Goro

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Of course, but I'm not sure if it would be worth the time or money to invest into becoming a paramedic, especially if I would only be one for a year. Is clinical volunteering that important? Should I be investing more time into that even though I'm getting clinical experience being a scribe?

What are you going to say when asked how you know you are suited for a life of caring for the sick and suffering? “That you just know”? Imagine how that will go over!

From the wise LizzyM”: I am always reminded of a certain frequent poster of a few years ago. He was adamant about not volunteering as he did not want to give his services for free and he was busy and helping others was inconvenient. He matriculated to a medical school and lasted less than one year. He's now in school to become an accountant.

Here's the deal: You need to show AdComs that you know what you're getting into, and show off your altruistic, humanistic side. We need to know that you're going to like being around sick or injured people for the next 40 years.

Here's another way of looking at it: would you buy a new car without test driving it? Buy a new suit or dress without trying it on??

We're also not looking for merely for good medical students, we're looking for people who will make good doctors, and 4.0 GPA robots are a dime-a-dozen.

I've seen plenty of posts here from high GPA/high MCAT candidates who were rejected because they had little patient contact experience.

Not all volunteering needs to be in a hospital. Think hospice, Planned Parenthood, nursing homes, rehab facilities, crisis hotlines, camps for sick children, or clinics.

Some types of volunteer activities are more appealing than others. Volunteering in a nice suburban hospital is all very well and good and all, but doesn't show that you're willing to dig in and get your hands dirty in the same way that working with the developmentally disabled (or homeless, the dying, or Alzheimers or mentally ill or elderly or ESL or domestic, rural impoverished) does. The uncomfortable situations are the ones that really demonstrate your altruism and get you 'brownie points'. Plus, they frankly teach you more -- they develop your compassion and humanity in ways comfortable situations can't.
 

Blanky

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To me, EMT = glorified cab driver

:(
Do you think the "glorified cab driver" is for those guys doing BLS inter-facility? I'm an EMT with 1 year 24 hr shifts/FT on a CC truck, 2 years in a 911 zone 24 hr shifts FT, and now two years in an ED as a tech (we do IVs, EKGs, etc.) I have to say that in the ER I have seen the most in regards to what doctors do daily.
 

SmallyBells

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What are you going to say when asked how you know you are suited for a life of caring for the sick and suffering? “That you just know”? Imagine how that will go over!

From the wise LizzyM”: I am always reminded of a certain frequent poster of a few years ago. He was adamant about not volunteering as he did not want to give his services for free and he was busy and helping others was inconvenient. He matriculated to a medical school and lasted less than one year. He's now in school to become an accountant.

Here's the deal: You need to show AdComs that you know what you're getting into, and show off your altruistic, humanistic side. We need to know that you're going to like being around sick or injured people for the next 40 years.

Here's another way of looking at it: would you buy a new car without test driving it? Buy a new suit or dress without trying it on??

We're also not looking for merely for good medical students, we're looking for people who will make good doctors, and 4.0 GPA robots are a dime-a-dozen.

I've seen plenty of posts here from high GPA/high MCAT candidates who were rejected because they had little patient contact experience.

Not all volunteering needs to be in a hospital. Think hospice, Planned Parenthood, nursing homes, rehab facilities, crisis hotlines, camps for sick children, or clinics.

Some types of volunteer activities are more appealing than others. Volunteering in a nice suburban hospital is all very well and good and all, but doesn't show that you're willing to dig in and get your hands dirty in the same way that working with the developmentally disabled (or homeless, the dying, or Alzheimers or mentally ill or elderly or ESL or domestic, rural impoverished) does. The uncomfortable situations are the ones that really demonstrate your altruism and get you 'brownie points'. Plus, they frankly teach you more -- they develop your compassion and humanity in ways comfortable situations can't.


Thank you for the help, I'll definitely look into volunteering. It seems kind of off-putting that the clinical experiences as a scribe are written off just because they are paid though.
 

gonnif

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Of course, but I'm not sure if it would be worth the time or money to invest into becoming a paramedic, especially if I would only be one for a year. Is clinical volunteering that important? Should I be investing more time into that even though I'm getting clinical experience being a scribe?
I will take slight issue with my learned colleague from west of st. Louis, an EMT actively involved on a volunteer emergency squad in both patient runs and training, recruiting, management within the VAC, can show motivation, achievement and commitment. However, they are not s stand alone substitute for hospital/clinic volunteering
 
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•Syzygy•

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Thank you for the help, I'll definitely look into volunteering. It seems kind of off-putting that the clinical experiences as a scribe are written off just because they are paid though.

they aren't. scribe experience is VERY valuable but you should also have some clinical volunteering mixed in as well as other community service which you said you will have.

no one is saying that the scribe experience doesnt show adcoms that you know what the profession is like. it shows you better than most other things, including shadowing. but you need other experiences to demonstrate altruism.

i'd say scribe>EMT as well
 
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Medic741

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To me, EMT = glorified cab driver

Yup. 100% spot on. To add -- a low paying very very high risk job in a toxic environment.

CC/911 EMT is also a glorified taxi driver. It can be exciting, but you're not the one pushing meds or making decisions.

Scribe & don't look back


-- 6 yrs in EMS (paramedic)
 
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Blanky

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I'm confused by this because scribes don't push meds or make decisions. I get to interact and work with patients as well as see the doctors with the patients right along with the scribes. I'm not sure why EMT is worse, or what I may be missing out on other than lunch. It seems like scribe and EMT in the ED at least are right in the experience.
 

frosted2

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Yup. 100% spot on. To add -- a low paying very very high risk job in a toxic environment.

CC/911 EMT is also a glorified taxi driver. It can be exciting, but you're not the one pushing meds or making decisions.

Scribe & don't look back


-- 6 yrs in EMS (paramedic)
+1

EDIT: That is why I did not do the CC peds air bus.
 
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Goro

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I'm confused by this because scribes don't push meds or make decisions. I get to interact and work with patients as well as see the doctors with the patients right along with the scribes. I'm not sure why EMT is worse, or what I may be missing out on other than lunch. It seems like scribe and EMT in the ED at least are right in the experience.
Scribes= employed, extensive shadowing, and can very well interact with patients at times.
I'm biased against EMT, especially EMT-B, as they simply transport patients. In addition, many I've interviewed seem to be adrenaline junkies, and live only for EM.
 
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racerwad

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Scribes= employed, extensive shadowing, and can very well interact with patients at times.
I'm biased against EMT, especially EMT-B, as they simply transport patients. In addition, many I've interviewed seem to be adrenaline junkies, and live only for EM.

While the population you've met in interviews might come off as weirdos, EMT-Bs, depending upon the system in which they work, are essential to the provision of pre-hospital care. They are absolutely not just cab drivers. The literature suggests that EMT-Bs provide better outcomes than paramedics in many circumstances:
BLS vs ALS - no difference in urban settings
ALS associated w/ higher mortality than BLS

There are studies which also show the benefit of ALS in certain medical cases and transport times: ALS improves survival in MI, BLS better for penetrating trauma, but the point I'm making is that being able to provide skilled BLS care (and they are actual skills) is different than just documenting what a physician does.

To be fair, being an EMT in a system where you are partnered with a paramedic and most transports are handled by the paramedic is not the best experience. However, @Goro, it is important to understand that EMS systems vary widely across the country and your experience does not define the state of the job across the country.

Unlike scribes, EMT-Bs provide one-on-one patient care, whether it is from a rural accident scene or between healthcare facilities. Unlike scribes, they provide interventions, make independent decisions, and then document and report these interventions with other health care professionals. Unlike scribes, they are basic medical care and receive continuing education in same.

My personal barometer for whether you do "clinical" work is how much of someone else's DNA you will likely encounter on a given shift. I know this is a biased and incomplete metric. My personal experience with scribes is that they are super useful and provide a great service to patients, physicians, and the hospital as a whole, but they don't do anything without my direction, they aren't alone with the patient and responsible for their safety, and, most importantly, they are not a required member of the team in the same way an ED tech, nurse, RT, etc is.

IMHO, the "best" EMT-B experience would be someplace rural, with long transport times, where help is far away and you will be counted on to make important decisions. For example, places like national parks employ EMT-Bs and EMT-Is in fairly advanced and sophisticated roles; this varies from park to park and does require a significant time investment, but that is the point. Alternatively, working in an EMS system that leans heavily on BLS to provide the majority of care (King County, Seattle Medic One, etc) would also provide a robust experience that involves more than "just driving."

The value of an EMT-B experience is highly variable and I don't think anyone should do it, "just because." Same holds true for paramedic. I have only made the suggestion only if someone else asked because of their own personal interest. As with most things, something is "worth it" only in retrospect.

As an EMT, paramedic, now EM resident, future EMS fellow, I do admit to being someone you'd describe as "only EM" since the beginning of med school, sorry ;)
 
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Turkishking

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I'm currently a junior, considering if becoming and working/volunteering as an EMT would be beneficial for my application.

A little about me - cGPA 3.99, sGPA 4.0. Currently a scribe in an ED with about 300 clinical hours. About 100 volunteer hours at an animal shelter, and just became a volunteer for Big Brothers. About 400 hours of ecology research (1 paper published), 100 hours of physics research (eclipse, mostly data analysis), 100 hours of organic chemistry research. Tutor for my university, and NCAA athlete. I'm planning to continue being a scribe, volunteering for Big Brothers, and researching, so I will get a lot more hours that way before I apply.

My question is if I should apply for clinical research opportunities over the summer, or use this summer to take EMT classes. I suppose I could take the classes during fall of next year, and would definitely be able to do it along side undergrad work, but would becoming an EMT be worth it because I'm already a scribe? I don't have any clinical volunteering right now...would volunteering as an EMT be a good way to boost my application in that sense? I haven't even begun studying for the MCAT yet, and would probably take it during my senior year at some point, and then apply the spring of my senior year.

Thanks for the help!
Scribing in my book does not count as volunteering. I have a lot of people tell me, "yeah I have 1000 hours of volunteering" I say "nice, where?" And they told me they worked as a scribe :smack::smack:

I would suggest actually volunteering at a hospital, and doing EMT in the future. And how will the animal shelter help you? You are going to be working with people one day.

Go ahead and be a glorified taxi cab driver, no one is stopping you! While you're at it, you can get some medical tourism out the way as well. Then you will be such a stellar candidate! - Just kidding :)
 

jm192

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Of course, but I'm not sure if it would be worth the time or money to invest into becoming a paramedic, especially if I would only be one for a year. Is clinical volunteering that important? Should I be investing more time into that even though I'm getting clinical experience being a scribe?

1. You have to have volunteering. I'd laugh in your face when you say "I want to help people" and you've done nothing in your first 22 years of life to back that up.

2. A paramedic is a bada$$. I'm much more impressed by someone who has done chest compressions than someone who hasn't. They wanna know you've touched patients and enjoy providing health care. I have no idea what the time commitment/cost is, but it's a good thing to have/will better prepare you than a lot of other things you can do.
 

racerwad

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1. You have to have volunteering. I'd laugh in your face when you say "I want to help people" and you've done nothing in your first 22 years of life to back that up.

2. A paramedic is a bada$$. I'm much more impressed by someone who has done chest compressions than someone who hasn't. They wanna know you've touched patients and enjoy providing health care. I have no idea what the time commitment/cost is, but it's a good thing to have/will better prepare you than a lot of other things you can do.

In fairness, paramedics are rarely doing CPR. They're usually doing all of the other advanced skills and managing everyone else, akin to the role of a physician in a hospital. EMT-Bs, first responders, etc are doing the compressions outside of a hospital.

Paramedic training at a minimum is 1 year at the junior college level; some states now require all paramedics to have at least a completed associate's degree to be licensed. Many training programs require 1-2 years of EMT-B experience prior to applying. Because of the time and money involved with becoming a paramedic, I would not recommend it as simply a stepping stone to medical school. People who do it should really want to be a paramedic and contribute something to their local EMS system rather than just using it to build their CV.
 
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Gurby

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As an EMT, paramedic, now EM resident, future EMS fellow, I do admit to being someone you'd describe as "only EM" since the beginning of med school, sorry ;)

Are you going to be Racerwad MD, NRP?
 

jm192

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In fairness, paramedics are rarely doing CPR. They're usually doing all of the other advanced skills and managing everyone else, akin to the role of a physician in a hospital. EMT-Bs, first responders, etc are doing the compressions outside of a hospital.

Paramedic training at a minimum is 1 year at the junior college level; some states now require all paramedics to have at least a completed associate's degree to be licensed. Many training programs require 1-2 years of EMT-B experience prior to applying. Because of the time and money involved with becoming a paramedic, I would not recommend it as simply a stepping stone to medical school. People who do it should really want to be a paramedic and contribute something to their local EMS system rather than just using it to build their CV.

Please save me the holier than thou thing.

Everything you should do to help people/because you enjoy it--but you have to build your CV.
 

racerwad

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Are you going to be Racerwad MD, NRP?

Well, technically, it would be Racerwad, DO, NRP... ;)

But honestly, most people probably would think I'm really proud of my Neonatal Resuscitation certificate, so I'll probably leave that off.
 
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racerwad

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Please save me the holier than thou thing.

Everything you should do to help people/because you enjoy it--but you have to build your CV.

Take it easy, sport. I'm just saying that it is a lot of work for limited return; if someone is going to pursue it, it should be because they are passionate about and not just because of the impact on the CV. Most med school admissions committees won't know or care. As for residency, the only ones that will care are the ones that will know the difference between resume padding and real interest.
 

Princeton Medical Student

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Take anyone who says "emts are glorified bus drivers" advice with a grain of salt.
Is EMS perfect? Nope, but name me another pre-med job where you can:
  • Be the sole care provider for the patient.
  • Communicate with physicians, nurses, paramedics about patient care.
  • Assist with ACLS.
  • Often provide assistance to extremely vulnerable patient populations. (I have been the first clinician to talk to patients who have attempted suicide on many occasions, and it has been an incredibly eye-opening experience).
  • Provide patient care including assessment, and treatment. (Inhalers, IO/IM naloxone, epi autoinjectors, nitro, aspirin for MI, oral glucose, activated charcoal)
  • Learn a LOT about healthcare in United States.
  • Complete patient records.
IMO, CNA comes close to this, but despite what some may think being an EMT is a great bang for your time spent in training. Do you make a lot of critical life saving decisions? No, but that isn't the point of pre-med clinical experience, and you do make a difference for your patients, even if it is small.
 
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infectiousdisease101

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Based on this discussion, it sounds like I should have a meaningful experience detailing my interaction with a very specific patient. Can I please have thoughts on this?
 

Medic741

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Based on this discussion, it sounds like I should have a meaningful experience detailing my interaction with a very specific patient. Can I please have thoughts on this?

As long as you’re following HIPAA guidelines you’ll be ok, crucial that the patient is ***not identifiable by the statements you give***

Many app essays I’ve reviewed on SDN have included aspects of pt care, some focusing on a single ***de-identied*** patient encounter.

Would be happy to review an essay if you want an extra set of eyes
 
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infectiousdisease101

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As long as you’re following HIPAA guidelines you’ll be ok, crucial that the patient is ***not identifiable by the statements you give***

Many app essays I’ve reviewed on SDN have included aspects of pt care, some focusing on a single ***de-identied*** patient encounter.

Would be happy to review an es, say if you want an extra set of eyes

Appreciate it but I know where the line is for HIPAA. I wouldn't use name, birthday, or identiable personal information. Just the information that's relevant to health care. I also have a premed advisor at my school too. :) Thanks a ton tho!
 

Princeton Medical Student

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Appreciate it but I know where the line is for HIPAA. I wouldn't use name, birthday, or identiable personal information. Just the information that's relevant to health care and how it affected me.
Casual reminder to not mention anyone older then iirc 88, or to say "older then 88"
 

infectiousdisease101

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Casual reminder to not mention anyone older then iirc 88, or to say "older then 88"

I would not even mention age. I would just mention the circumstances they had that affected me and limit the description of their circumstances to a sentence, two tops. The rest is how it affected me.
 
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