MrEbola

5+ Year Member
Feb 20, 2013
8
1
Status
Pre-Medical
Hey guys!

So before I begin, I wanted to mention that I have searched the site and was unable to find a thread that answered my specific question. Also, sorry for any errors as I am currently pushing work hour 14 with 0 sleep in the past 24 hours.

So I have always wanted to be a Doctor...for as long as I remember anyway. I am currently premed but I am currently having an internal debate over wasting time or not and wanted to hopefully get some info from you guys.

I have been an EMT-B for approximately 2 1/2 years. I have been working in a very busy ALS 911 system for about a year now. I love my job, and it has really reinforced my desire to go MD. I only have about 2 years left of undergrad as well, but have recently been debating whether or not I should waste the 16 months it takes to go paramedic. I wouldn't be able to continue on in undergrad for the didactic portion of the program, but could continue during clinical and internship.

I do not wish to stay paramedic for very long, but I cannot stop thinking about the experience I would gain. IV's, intubation, quick decision making in hectic situations, etc would be invaluable and wouldn't hurt to boost my chances eh?

I have spoken to a couple doctors at my local level 1 trauma center and have gotten mixed. One says it wouldn't be a waste of time, other says to just go and do what I want to end up with, and not to waste any time. I already have experience as an EMT in a very busy system (average 850 911 medical calls in a 24 hour period and we are the only provider here).
So confused.

Tl;dr : Anyway should I go paramedic for the experience and then go MD, or should I just go to med school to achieve my dreams? Thanks in advance!




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Gurby

5+ Year Member
Jul 28, 2014
1,933
5,187
Status
Medical Student
Source: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/should-a-pre-med-student-go-medic.238346/#post-3077481

This post is directed at the OP, but applies to traditional undergrads as well. Anyway,
I'm assuming you're an EMT-B already, since that is usually a mandatory pre-requisite to becoming a paramedic (though this might be different in other states). Great, you got a head start on your med school hopeful peers, you don't really know too much as an EMT-B so you still have a healthy appreciation that you don't know very much about medicine. Believe it or not this is a wonderful place to be. I strongly advise you to stop right there (at EMT-B) and devote yourself entirely to becoming a physician.

Here's why:
EMS is a bit of a trap, you can get all caught up in it, because you are enjoying what you are doing, helping others, taking care of emergencies, etc. It's a good high when things go really right. Then you meet a paramedic, and think to yourself: boy can this guy take care of business, I'd really love to be able to do all that great stuff too! But there is really not that much to being a paramedic. Unfortunately nobody really tells you this. IN your world, all these new skills are exciting and impressive, So then things start to take a turn in your life. Let me tell you a little about what I mean:

Paramedics are funny people, they are experts in a very, very, narrow slice of medicine. In fact, when it comes down to the business of prehospital emergency care, nobody does it like a medic. WOW, I think I want to do this medic thing, I'm going to go for it, atleast for now, until I go to med school next year. BUT, you can easily get all caught up in the ALS pre-hospital care scene. Because you are doing life saving interventions you may feel like you fast forwarded yourself to "doctor" or at least the preconceived notion you had of doctors before you ever got involved in medicine. So anyway, there you'll be doing all these great skills, and soon you'll start to think that gee-whiz look at all the great things that I can do as a medic (ha! nurses my ass, they can't do this stuff!). Heck, all that other stuff in medicine really is not as important as this stuff I'm doing right now (IVs, intubation and pacing oh my!), and that's when you start to make a very big mistake. All of a sudden you really stop caring about all the other things that medicine has to offer, so you stop learning about anything that doesn't have anything to do with the "important stuff". Now depending on how long this lasts you can piss away 4,5,6 years doing EMS work and be totally satisfied. But then something happens, it can be some job that went bad on you or you come across something you've never been prepared to deal with, or any other number of things that cause you to become reflective about yourself as a professional. So then you start to read again and you once again rediscover that there is a whole world of medical knowledge out there you weren't aware of as a medic. So now you're studying again and learning about the things you didn't know, but you are never able to do it in any coherent way. The sheer volume of the material is intimidating and you have no real way of knowing if you are making any progress. Plus you are surrounded by your peers, fellow paramedic professionals who tell you things like who the heck cares about temporal arteritis, that's not important and what the heck is so important about this pancreatic psuedocyst you speak of??? So now you start to get frustrated, and you look around at the people around you who are very content with being medics and knowing what medics know, and incorrectly equating their skill proficiency with medical knowledge. But not you. You start to remember that you wanted to be a doctor, and you look back and say, how the **** did I get here, this isn't what I wanted for myself professionally or personally. This whole medic thing was supposed to be a stepping stone to becoming a physician. You become, really frustrated, pissed off, burnt out and then to add insult to injury you start to realize that you are wildly underpaid for the work you are doing. Nurses don't have to put up with 1/2 the crap that I do and they get paid 3 times as much, plus I know a hell of alot more! That's the last straw, F-this you say, I'm going back to school. Only now you are well into your mid- late 20's, (in your case, mid-late 30's) maybe you got a mortgage, a big monthly car payment, who knows maybe a wife and kids in private school, your Golden Opportunity to become a physician is now well past you. You now must suffer in new and interesting ways to get to where you wanted to be in the first place. So sacrifices and painful choices are made and finally 7-8 years later you are back on track for the MD, older, a little more worn out, less enthusiastic, but hopefully a little wiser. Maybe.

So the question is, are you absolutely, positively sure that being a medic is what you want? Think long and hard about this, this is your life afterall. That being said, you gotta do what you gotta do, if you are supporting your whole family or you are on your own out there I can understand. But think about this seriously think about this. This is a long post, but I did not make all of this stuff up, I speak to you from my experience. There are alot of other things I can go into, all sorts of crazy stuff that you'll be banging your head against, but I think I'd be writing for days and days. Anyway best of luck, you can always drop me a PM if you have any specific questions.
 

LizzyM

the evil queen of numbers
10+ Year Member
Mar 7, 2005
23,198
32,942
Status
Academic Administration
It will not impress the adcoms. All your mad skills will give you a leg up on the other medical students for about 5 minutes. There is plenty of time in medical school and residency to learn these skills.
 
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Catalystik

The Gimlet Eye
10+ Year Member
Sep 4, 2006
32,837
12,602
The Other Side of the Portal
Source: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/should-a-pre-med-student-go-medic.238346/#post-3077481

This post is directed at the OP, but applies to traditional undergrads as well. Anyway,
I'm assuming you're an EMT-B already, since that is usually a mandatory pre-requisite to becoming a paramedic (though this might be different in other states). Great, you got a head start on your med school hopeful peers, you don't really know too much as an EMT-B so you still have a healthy appreciation that you don't know very much about medicine. Believe it or not this is a wonderful place to be. I strongly advise you to stop right there (at EMT-B) and devote yourself entirely to becoming a physician.

Here's why:
EMS is a bit of a trap, you can get all caught up in it, because you are enjoying what you are doing, helping others, taking care of emergencies, etc. It's a good high when things go really right. Then you meet a paramedic, and think to yourself: boy can this guy take care of business, I'd really love to be able to do all that great stuff too! But there is really not that much to being a paramedic. Unfortunately nobody really tells you this. IN your world, all these new skills are exciting and impressive, So then things start to take a turn in your life. Let me tell you a little about what I mean:

Paramedics are funny people, they are experts in a very, very, narrow slice of medicine. In fact, when it comes down to the business of prehospital emergency care, nobody does it like a medic. WOW, I think I want to do this medic thing, I'm going to go for it, atleast for now, until I go to med school next year. BUT, you can easily get all caught up in the ALS pre-hospital care scene. Because you are doing life saving interventions you may feel like you fast forwarded yourself to "doctor" or at least the preconceived notion you had of doctors before you ever got involved in medicine. So anyway, there you'll be doing all these great skills, and soon you'll start to think that gee-whiz look at all the great things that I can do as a medic (ha! nurses my ass, they can't do this stuff!). Heck, all that other stuff in medicine really is not as important as this stuff I'm doing right now (IVs, intubation and pacing oh my!), and that's when you start to make a very big mistake. All of a sudden you really stop caring about all the other things that medicine has to offer, so you stop learning about anything that doesn't have anything to do with the "important stuff". Now depending on how long this lasts you can piss away 4,5,6 years doing EMS work and be totally satisfied. But then something happens, it can be some job that went bad on you or you come across something you've never been prepared to deal with, or any other number of things that cause you to become reflective about yourself as a professional. So then you start to read again and you once again rediscover that there is a whole world of medical knowledge out there you weren't aware of as a medic. So now you're studying again and learning about the things you didn't know, but you are never able to do it in any coherent way. The sheer volume of the material is intimidating and you have no real way of knowing if you are making any progress. Plus you are surrounded by your peers, fellow paramedic professionals who tell you things like who the heck cares about temporal arteritis, that's not important and what the heck is so important about this pancreatic psuedocyst you speak of??? So now you start to get frustrated, and you look around at the people around you who are very content with being medics and knowing what medics know, and incorrectly equating their skill proficiency with medical knowledge. But not you. You start to remember that you wanted to be a doctor, and you look back and say, how the **** did I get here, this isn't what I wanted for myself professionally or personally. This whole medic thing was supposed to be a stepping stone to becoming a physician. You become, really frustrated, pissed off, burnt out and then to add insult to injury you start to realize that you are wildly underpaid for the work you are doing. Nurses don't have to put up with 1/2 the crap that I do and they get paid 3 times as much, plus I know a hell of alot more! That's the last straw, F-this you say, I'm going back to school. Only now you are well into your mid- late 20's, (in your case, mid-late 30's) maybe you got a mortgage, a big monthly car payment, who knows maybe a wife and kids in private school, your Golden Opportunity to become a physician is now well past you. You now must suffer in new and interesting ways to get to where you wanted to be in the first place. So sacrifices and painful choices are made and finally 7-8 years later you are back on track for the MD, older, a little more worn out, less enthusiastic, but hopefully a little wiser. Maybe.

So the question is, are you absolutely, positively sure that being a medic is what you want? Think long and hard about this, this is your life afterall. That being said, you gotta do what you gotta do, if you are supporting your whole family or you are on your own out there I can understand. But think about this seriously think about this. This is a long post, but I did not make all of this stuff up, I speak to you from my experience. There are alot of other things I can go into, all sorts of crazy stuff that you'll be banging your head against, but I think I'd be writing for days and days. Anyway best of luck, you can always drop me a PM if you have any specific questions.
This essay from niko327 is a thing of beauty, despite the minimal paragraphing.
 
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OP
M

MrEbola

5+ Year Member
Feb 20, 2013
8
1
Status
Pre-Medical
@Gurby Thank you very much for posting that. I did not see that thread. It was very informative and gave me a lot to think about.


@LizzyM Darn. I guess the skills part makes sense. Also, as one of my partners pointed out, when it comes to pt care and getting a hx, finding out the problem TODAY, and just talking to pts, I already am comfortable doing that...in fact I do it every day all day haha.



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Cawolf

Medical Student
5+ Year Member
Feb 27, 2013
3,395
2,150
Status
Medical Student
If you want to be a doctor, don't bother getting your paramedic license first. It will only delay your ultimate goal.

Source: I worked as an EMT for 1 year and a paramedic for 6 years before matriculating to medical school.
 
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Goro

7+ Year Member
Jun 10, 2010
53,726
79,136
Somewhere west of St. Louis
Status
Non-Student
I have Adcom colleagues who consider EMT-B to be a glorified taxi driver.



Hey guys!

So before I begin, I wanted to mention that I have searched the site and was unable to find a thread that answered my specific question. Also, sorry for any errors as I am currently pushing work hour 14 with 0 sleep in the past 24 hours.

So I have always wanted to be a Doctor...for as long as I remember anyway. I am currently premed but I am currently having an internal debate over wasting time or not and wanted to hopefully get some info from you guys.

I have been an EMT-B for approximately 2 1/2 years. I have been working in a very busy ALS 911 system for about a year now. I love my job, and it has really reinforced my desire to go MD. I only have about 2 years left of undergrad as well, but have recently been debating whether or not I should waste the 16 months it takes to go paramedic. I wouldn't be able to continue on in undergrad for the didactic portion of the program, but could continue during clinical and internship.

I do not wish to stay paramedic for very long, but I cannot stop thinking about the experience I would gain. IV's, intubation, quick decision making in hectic situations, etc would be invaluable and wouldn't hurt to boost my chances eh?

I have spoken to a couple doctors at my local level 1 trauma center and have gotten mixed. One says it wouldn't be a waste of time, other says to just go and do what I want to end up with, and not to waste any time. I already have experience as an EMT in a very busy system (average 850 911 medical calls in a 24 hour period and we are the only provider here).
So confused.

Tl;dr : Anyway should I go paramedic for the experience and then go MD, or should I just go to med school to achieve my dreams? Thanks in advance!




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