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Paramedic School?

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glendine13


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I am currently a Pre-Med student working towards dual majors in Biochem and Physics, and I've been an EMT for more than 3 years. Recently I found a Paramedic class that meets in the evenings after the rest of my college classes are done (2 nights classes, 2 nights clinical per week, 3 hours a night each), and it goes on for 1 year. Being good academically, EMS classes have never been hard for me, so I don't think it would be that taxing on my time outside of class getting in the way of my undergrad studies. It would be great experience, I'de be able to learn a lot (starting IVs, having a good list of drugs at my disposal for patients, and being able to do some invasive procedures like intubate and put in chest tubes, etc) and it would be another level of exposure prior to medical school. It would also be a pretty good part-time job through the rest of undergrad and med school. Anyone have any thoughts? :)
 

stoleyerscrubz

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Will you be able to study for the MCAT considering undergrad and EMT school?

How long will you be able to use your EMT paramedic license before graduating?
 

Medicfletch

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You also have to take into account if you will have time to complete you internship to obtain your license. This alone is very time consuming depending on the system you work in. Yes is will give you an introduction to those skills, but the time to develop them and perfect them comes with years of patient encounters.

If you want to take it because you love EMS, than I would say go for it. But if you're taking it as an app. booster, then you might try something else.

I have loved the experience of being a paramedic, but now that school is approaching I am finding it bitter sweet because I face losing my certs. because I am moving to a new system that runs 24 hr shifts and will not have much time to attend the CME's while being a full time student again. So I guess what I am saying is, sooner or later you will have to choose between one or the other, MD/DO or Paramedic. Its hard to keep both.
 

mastamark

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I am currently a paramedic(4 years now). In Illinois, you must do clinical rotations(about 300+ hrs worth) in addition to classroom time. I am sure it is like this all over the country as well. One thing you must consider is the time needed to take the ALS course. It is not as easy as EMT-B, I promise you that. I am sure you can do it and pass, but why compromise your college work and MCAT prep for it. I was a paramedic before I decided to go back to college and pursue medicine. I would really evaluate my situation and then make a solid decision if I were you. Good luck.

You are right though you do learn alot of physician skills such as intubation, needle crich, surgical crich, interoseous infusions and ACLS, BHTLS, PALS, pharmocology(emergency only) etc. So when you get into the hospital your 3rd year of medical school, you will have an upper hand. again GOOD LUCK. :)
 

JT76

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I would just focus on being the best EMT you can be. By that I mean, take an ALS assistant class if one exists where you are and learn about the ALS skills. Performing intubations and starting IVs are great skills to have in your repertoire, but you will acquire them later. Find a paramedic you can work with who will teach you the finer points of the skills. Learn about auscultating lung sounds and how to differntiate between rales and wheezing and what causes them and do it. Be the best at performing physical exams and interpreting vital signs

As far as medication, you can learn all about it on your own. What's most important is to be able to perform a detailed physical exam on your patient and be able to call a paramedic when you need one; that is the real challenge... more than actually being a paramedic and that is what will set you apart form your peers in medical school who have never touched another human being..

Learn all you can as an EMT because the reality is, unless you are prepared to devote your time to becoming an excellent paramedic and work full time as a paramedic, you will not really be exposed to a wide variety of calls and will only use the very basic of ALS skills. Furthermore, be cautious about thinking that you will be able to work part time if at all during medical school.

These of course are just suggestions and if you are truly devoted to EMS and not to resume building then go for it. Just remember what your priorities are.
 

ShyRem

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When I went to paramedic school, I was working full-time. The class was structured similarly to yours - class 3x in evenings during the week and all day Saturday. Lasted 9 months. For the first 4 months, it was all classroom stuff... but then we started our clinicals. Hospital clinicals opened up first.. those were no big deal and I did most of them weekends and nights, going back to work with no sleep to knock them out of the way. Then in mid-January field clinicals started. We had something like 500+ field hours to do and had to be done by May 15. Literally I did not get home more than once a week. I lived out of my car (the upside was that most of the bases were in the worst parts of town - my car blended right in as it was filled with trash and dirty laundry and didn't get broken into). It was long and hard, and quite frankly I would not recommend it if you have classes to study for.

Another thought - most new paramedics get the worst shifts and the worst assignments. Most likely you won't be running the major codes/traumas/peds calls out of the fast and furious part of town.

All in all, if being a paramedic is what you want (NOT to pad your resume), and if you think you can handle it, go for it. But I agree with above posters and think you may be happier and more successful in the rest of your academic work if you find a paramedic mentor that will teach you. Also take the BTLS, audit the ACLS and the PALS, see if you can get into a 12-lead EKG class, and look for an AMLS class. See if you can audit parts of the paramedic curriculum like pharmacology, respiratory, and cardiology. There's a lot of learning to be done without going through the whole paramedic course.
 

OSUdoc08

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glendine13 said:
I am currently a Pre-Med student working towards dual majors in Biochem and Physics, and I've been an EMT for more than 3 years. Recently I found a Paramedic class that meets in the evenings after the rest of my college classes are done (2 nights classes, 2 nights clinical per week, 3 hours a night each), and it goes on for 1 year. Being good academically, EMS classes have never been hard for me, so I don't think it would be that taxing on my time outside of class getting in the way of my undergrad studies. It would be great experience, I'de be able to learn a lot (starting IVs, having a good list of drugs at my disposal for patients, and being able to do some invasive procedures like intubate and put in chest tubes, etc) and it would be another level of exposure prior to medical school. It would also be a pretty good part-time job through the rest of undergrad and med school. Anyone have any thoughts? :)

This is a good idea. I did the exact same thing, and had a better GPA during the semesters that I was in night paramedic school. Don't listen to these pre-meds telling you to spend all of your time studying. The paramedic experience put me over the top with my applications---not my GPA.
 

carn311

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OSUdoc08 said:
This is a good idea. I did the exact same thing, and had a better GPA during the semesters that I was in night paramedic school. Don't listen to these pre-meds telling you to spend all of your time studying. The paramedic experience put me over the top with my applications---not my GPA.

Don't you think that being an EMT-B would have had the same effect through? Looking at things from the standpoint of the ADCOMS paramedics do know much more about medicine than EMT's but this knowledge is taught in medschool as well. The only benefit of being a paramedic then would be the clinical experience which can be had as an EMT-B.

Is there something I'm missing? I would love to be able to justify becoming a paramedic. :D
 

OSUdoc08

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carn311 said:
Don't you think that being an EMT-B would have had the same effect through? Looking at things from the standpoint of the ADCOMS paramedics do know much more about medicine than EMT's but this knowledge is taught in medschool as well. The only benefit of being a paramedic then would be the clinical experience which can be had as an EMT-B.

Is there something I'm missing? I would love to be able to justify becoming a paramedic. :D

Having the advanced experience of a paramedic (i.e. IV's, intubation, ACLS, ekg interpretation, etc.) will help a medical student excel and impress in clinicals. The experience working with patients in an emergency setting will be particularly impressive in your ER rotations. It is funny seeing the stark contrast between former paramedics and students with no experience doing clinicals in the ER. Being an EMT is really nothing more than splinting, O2 and driving the ambulance.
 

ShyRem

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OSUdoc, you must have had some pretty crappy paramedic partners when you were an EMT if all you did was O2, splinting and driving. Personally, I try to let (sometimes MAKE) my EMTs do as much as they can. I help them through histories and relevant information, I quiz them after interesting calls, I ask them why I did certain things, or why I didn't do certain things. I stay up late and teach them drugs, equipment, cardiology... all these things make them a better partner (not to mention they had an easy time when they went to paramedic school).

Given a good paramedic partner, EMT experience can also be very good preparation for medical school.
 

izibo

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It depends on your system. In Arizona, EMS is combined with fire service 95% of the time. As a result, most medics really don't like patient care or medicine for that matter, some (admittedly) just got their medic for the extra $7-8,000 a year. That being said, I really didn't learn squat as an EMT (in the class, or over the last 2 years on the street).

I am enrolling in medic school this year, its something like 1,350 total hours including hospital and vehicular clinicals. Class runs from 8:00 - 5:00 in the evening three days a week.

Regards to the OP, I would do it, especially considering how little time it will take out of your day... at least opposed to my schedule!
 

carn311

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OSUdoc08 said:
Having the advanced experience of a paramedic (i.e. IV's, intubation, ACLS, ekg interpretation, etc.) will help a medical student excel and impress in clinicals. The experience working with patients in an emergency setting will be particularly impressive in your ER rotations. It is funny seeing the stark contrast between former paramedics and students with no experience doing clinicals in the ER. Being an EMT is really nothing more than splinting, O2 and driving the ambulance.

I certainly understand the proceedural advantages an applicant would have during clinicals if they carried an EMT-P but as far as experience goes I get A LOT on my volunteer squad. I don't even have my card yet and I do full patient assesments. Maybe NY or just my situation is unique however.
 

carn311

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ShyRem said:
Personally, I try to let (sometimes MAKE) my EMTs do as much as they can.
I help them through histories and relevant information, I quiz them after interesting calls, I ask them why I did certain things, or why I didn't do certain things. I stay up late and teach them drugs, equipment, cardiology... all these things make them a better partner (not to mention they had an easy time when they went to paramedic school).

Given a good paramedic partner, EMT experience can also be very good preparation for medical school.

KEEP THAT UP! I am lucky enough to work with a paramedic on my squad who treats us all the same way. The best thing he ever said to me was "attack the assesment, just dive right in, if you do something wrong or miss something I'll correct you...its not a big deal". The only way to truely learn in EMS is the "sink or swim mentality".
 

OSUdoc08

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ShyRem said:
OSUdoc, you must have had some pretty crappy paramedic partners when you were an EMT if all you did was O2, splinting and driving. Personally, I try to let (sometimes MAKE) my EMTs do as much as they can. I help them through histories and relevant information, I quiz them after interesting calls, I ask them why I did certain things, or why I didn't do certain things. I stay up late and teach them drugs, equipment, cardiology... all these things make them a better partner (not to mention they had an easy time when they went to paramedic school).

Given a good paramedic partner, EMT experience can also be very good preparation for medical school.

I'm talking about practice doing procedures on real patients. You can chat with your EMT partners all you want. The ability to do your skills without thinking requires actual use of them.
 

FieldDoc

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This is completely a biased decision from an admitted whacker, but I would evaluate what you want to do and do that. This is how I faced this decision in my own life.

My first year of graduate school I drove for two hours to reach my medic class 2-3 times a week (mind you the class was only 4 hours long, so I was driving as long as I was in class). The thing that made me do it was when I thought about what I would be upset about in my life if I died that very day. I had always wanted to be a paramedic, so I did it. You get to do things that most medical students don't get to do or see until their 2nd or 3rd year. That is priceless in my opinion.

Plus, it gave me a heck of a lot to write about in all those essays in secondaries when I was asked about my medical experience ;)
 
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