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Failed EMT

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by nick_carraway, Apr 10, 2007.

  1. nick_carraway

    nick_carraway 10+ Year Member

    Mar 7, 2007
    I'm probably the only person in the history of SDN to fail his EMT practical exam. I probably didn't put in as much time in it as I should have.

    It was given at my school under the auspices of an outdoor club, though, so it didn't cost very much at all. Phew.

    My question is this:

    I think I learned a lot in my time as an EMT but see it as a different job as being a physician. I feel that I could mention it during interviews as a difficulty I've faced or mention my experiences as an observer in the ER during training.

    Would it ever be smart or safe to mention that I trained to be an EMT? Or should I try to put those ER experiences in the context of other clinical experiences that I've had at the medical center instead? Thereby never bringing up EMT and the potentially thorny question of "so why isn't the cert listed in your app?"

    Thanks in advance.
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  3. Kuba

    Kuba Physician 10+ Year Member

    Mar 19, 2006
    No biggie, my lil bro who is very intelligent also failed. That test is not easy. Just study and retake it! Why would you quite now after doing all that work. That just seems silly.
  4. AnEyeLikeMars

    AnEyeLikeMars Member 7+ Year Member

    Dec 2, 2005
    Carrboro, NC
    When were you an EMT? It seems you never finished your training. I would be very careful about claiming that you "learned a lot" from an EMT course. Adcomms will see right through it.

    You can mention your training, but then you might be questioned as to why you didn't follow through and volunteer or get a job somewhere. I wouldn't emphasize this in your app.
  5. Crazy4F1

    Crazy4F1 10+ Year Member

    Oct 4, 2006
    ...if you mention being an EMT, you probably will want to have more concrete and meaningful experiences than just being in the class. the ER observation time, as i remember, is only about 10 hours long. could it really have made that much of an impact in only one day?

    when my interviewers saw "emt" on my application, they immediately wanted to talk very specifically about specific cases, incidences, etc. and even with 4 years of experience now, i still dont feel very "experienced" as an emt. so be careful how you try to use it in your interviews!
  6. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California Moderator 10+ Year Member

    Jul 23, 2004
    Agreed. An EMT class will not impress any adcom. EMT working experience may, but not the class itself.

    Sorry the course didn't go well for you. But EMT training is conducted at a high school level, so I'd be very careful about using EMT training as an example of a hurdle you had to overcome. I agree with the previous poster about trying again to pass it. If you don't want to, I wouldn't make any mention of taking (and failing) the training.
  7. winthug

    winthug Member 7+ Year Member

    Apr 21, 2006
    Don't mention it at all. I don't know about you guys, but the national EMT exam is NOT hard. If you think it's hard, maybe you shouldn't go into the medical field because it will be the EASIEST test you'll see. Also, ER observation doesn't mean much as opposed to working as an ERT. Training and failing as a pre-EMT isn't something to flaunt and is almost impossible to put any twist on it to make it sound good.
  8. cubbbie

    cubbbie Member 5+ Year Member

    Aug 5, 2004
    Yes, put the ER experience in a different context, probably in a paragraph discussing all your other clinical/shadowing experiences. This experience, unfortunately, does not stand alone.

    I managed to pass my EMT test, but I never used the certification, though I intended to when I was going through the program. I agree that you learn a lot in the process of getting trained, but in your case, you're going to have a hard time talking about this while eluding the fact that you failed the test. Honestly, saying you had a meaningful EMT experience but you failed the test sounds really pathetic (I'm not saying that you're dumb, but still ... you just never want to shine that kind of light on yourself).

    Even in my case, the fact that I did the EMT and never used it led to a few uncomfortable moments in interviews.
  9. Cirrus83

    Cirrus83 Too old for this 10+ Year Member

    May 31, 2006
    Retake the damn thing and don't flunk it, then go get some real EMT experience if you want to talk about it.

    Otherwise...just don't mention it lol.
  10. el aye

    el aye O_o 5+ Year Member

    Feb 18, 2007

    I have to agree. I'm currently taking the EMT-B course in NY. Were you not allowed to retake the stations that you failed in the practical?
  11. Disinence2

    Disinence2 Emergency Medicine Physician 7+ Year Member

    Aug 11, 2006
    Just pass it
  12. Captain Fantastic

    Captain Fantastic Physician 10+ Year Member

    Mar 28, 2005
    Mizzou Med
    Don't feel too badly. I had to take the NREMT practical test twice. (I swear I did everything by the book; I'm not sure what happened.)

    Get your skill sheets out, throw a pillow on the floor as a patient, and practice until you've got it cold. Say everything you're doing and thinking aloud. No shame in retesting.
  13. aliendancer84

    aliendancer84 Junior Member 5+ Year Member

    Jul 6, 2006
    At my interviews they definitely asked a lot of questions about specific cases and challenges I faced in the field as an EMT. I work both for the city's ambulance system and my college EMS organization, so they wanted to know about the differences in those two experiences. I don't think it would be wise to mention your EMT class (whether you pass or fail) unless you're actually using your certification.
  14. greytmedic

    greytmedic Faster than you 10+ Year Member

    Dec 17, 2005
    Yeah, the EMT class and written test are easy. The practical can be difficult if you have never taken that type of practical test. Even if you are doing a rapid trauma exam and put you hands all over the pt's body, you will still fail if you do not verbalize what you are palpating for. Same goes for things like taking a pulse or respirations. If you physically put your fingers on the pt's wrist and take a pulse you will still fail if you do not verbalize your feeling for rate, rhythm, quality, etc. The best thing to do is to get someone you know who has taken the test and passed and practice with them. It takes a little bit of getting used to verbalizing everything you are actually doing at the same time.

    As for mentioning your experience for an application I would hold off unless you retake the exam, pass it, and then get actual experience using your license. The class is easy and the clinicals aren't really long enough to expose you to the wide-world of medicine. Just taking the class and passing it isn't really all that amazing. If you want to re-take the test go for it, otherwise I would hold off on mentioning it.
  15. blackadder

    blackadder my old office view 10+ Year Member

    Oct 27, 2006
    i have taken the practical tests three times in the midwest and the east coast (initial and a few recerts) and i gotta say the degree of difficulty (aka tester analness) has GREATLY differed each time (though I never failed a station). at one location only 6 of us (out of 20) didn't need to redo a station and I knew the people testing with me to be really competent. at another location--where the other peeps didn't seem nearly as competent--everybody was basically passed for showing up. while this is only my experience, I don't think it's a big deal if you failed your practical...maybe it just wasn't your day (or the testers were in a bad mood for whatever reason). just retake the damn thing.

    as far as listing this on an app goes...I agree with the above posters to be careful. i'm starting a post bac this summer and listed my emt experience at both places I applied. it was basically all i was questioned about during the interviews.

    good luck and don't listen to people trying to keep you down.

    oh, and when you do pass your tests and get your card, don't start putting emt stickers all over your car or wear your ems pants around when you're not actually working...totally lame.

    wow this post got long.
  16. nick_carraway

    nick_carraway 10+ Year Member

    Mar 7, 2007
    Thanks for all the replies.

    I was already leaning toward not mentioning anything about EMT and to rely on my other clinical experiences on the app.

    For everyone saying that I should retest, can you retake the EMT practical exam without retaking the course? I thought that you had to retake the entire course unless you failed the National Registry written exam.

    FYI, I'm in California.

    Even if I did pass the course, though, I probably wouldn't use the cert. and therefore I still wouldn't mention in during the app process. It'd just be a personal accomplishment since it's a bummer when I can't even pass EMT as an aspiring physician.
  17. Captain Fantastic

    Captain Fantastic Physician 10+ Year Member

    Mar 28, 2005
    Mizzou Med
    When I tested for NREMT-B we were told you had three attempts at the practical before you had to retake the course. Like I said, I failed my first practical and retested the next month.

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