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Paramedic to Physician

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by Avid_306, Aug 17, 2015.

  1. Avid_306

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    Hey, just wondering how many of you guys were paramedics before moving on to medical school? What did you like about the transition? How long were you in EMS before transitioning? How did EMS and experience help you in medical school?
     
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  3. ROSC

    2+ Year Member

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    Currently in the process of applying, 8-1/2 years in as of now. I would say that I have had my fair share or pre-hospital experience. I couldn't tell you how much it has helped yet, beings I have not stepped foot into a Med school Classroom as of this point. I did go in for a pre-interview meeting with the Asst Dean of Admissions and he seemed pleased with NREMT-Paramedic being one of my ECs. Depends on where you worked and where you apply I suppose. I can see in no way where it would be an injustice to you, the greatest injustice would be the attitude that comes along with the position. The arrogance is shown more in some than others, greatest advice that I can contribute thus far is to be humble and have no evidence of self entitlement.
     
  4. Avid_306

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    Thank you for the insight! My plan was to finish the pre-reqs while I was a paramedic and stay a paramedic for 2/3 years and then apply where I was around the average age of a medical stud met which is mid 20's. My question to you is do you like the route you have taken to medical school by being a paramedic first?
     
  5. ROSC

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    Depending on where youre working and the hours scheduled on your unit will have a substantial affect on your ability to complete the required pre-reqs. I had the same initial outlook as you have. I worked a 2-2-3 schedule then a 5-5-2-2. All nights for 7 years while completing my Bachelors. What I'm getting at is that I ASSUMED it would take 3-4 years to finish the remainder of my Bachelors and here I am 8-1/2 years later.

    Things that I wish I would have done:
    Worked PRN as a medic while completing the Bachelors
    Not taken Light semesters
    Not Worked Nights for so long
    Finished the Bachelors and Pre reqs in the appropriate time frame
    Ultimately applied 2-3 years earlier.

    Things I'm glad that I did:
    Continued my education as a Paramedic
    Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support- Instructor
    Critcal Care
    ARREM- Suturing, TPA, Stapling, Surgical Airway, Foley Cath, so on and so forth
    FPC -Flight Paramedic Certified
    SAR-Search and Rescue
    Became a Preceptor
    ULTIMATELY - I tried my best to absorb with every allele in my possession, the best understanding of Medicine as a whole. To the best of my ability of course and to the point of my limited exposure. Comparatively.
     
  6. Avid_306

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    I see you're FP-C and Critical Care. That's something o was always curious about. Did you work as a Flight Medic?
     
  7. ROSC

    2+ Year Member

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    Yes, I have/ do. There's not much difference than working on the unit. Of course you get the title that's typically the best part. I've had many better calls and Pt encounters on the unit as opposed to the Aircraft.
     
  8. Avid_306

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    Is there anything different that a Flight Medic with critical care certifications can do at the scene of an accident that a ground paramedic is unable to do?
     
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  9. ROSC

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    That is going to be Agency Dependent, SOME agencies not all are municipal services, others are privately owned. They will all have a very similar main CORE protocol, but there are certain scenarios where bifurcations will be made. IE Intracranial bleed, closed head injury, ICP stroke, poor pt out come suspected, pt fails to maintain integrity of air way, pooling secretions, failure to oxygen and or ventilate, and is "Clinched" Some agencies allow the AirMED of Life Flight medic RSI (Rapid Sequence Intubation) Scope of Practice, other agencies may allow their ground medics RSI scope, Some allow Surgical Airways privileges to Flight medics, same as Thoracic needle Decompression. As far as the title of Critical Care Paramedic goes the vast majority of your advanced skills will be used during inter facility transports albiet ventilator, blood hanging, Cardiac meds hanging, >20 weeks gestation with or without complication, Isolate transports with team.

    These are very Tangible scenarios where Agency guidelines will rule them all.
     
  10. Avid_306

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    Thanks! Another question. What made you want to go back to school after your extensive EMS training? Have you always planned on medical school and EMS is something you had always wanted to do? Or was there something in EMS that pushed you towards doctor?
     
  11. ROSC

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    I think that for me, everything got rolled into one..... if that makes any sense. I always knew I wanted to be a physician, but with the financial situation that I was in graduating from high school, I needed to be able to have a job while attending school. Took the EMT-B course the summer after I graduated high school. I also knew that I would need something else on my App to help me stand out for assistance in matriculation. The longer I was a medic the more I learned, the more I would interact with Physicians, the deeper the desire to finish grew. Everything that I did in EMS continued to push me in the direction of medical school.
     
  12. Avid_306

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    Thanks for sharing your story. What was paramedic school like for you?
     
  13. ROSC

    2+ Year Member

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    I took an Accelerated 6 month course after being an EMT for 2 1/2 years. It was interesting to say the least. Traditional Paramedic school would not be challenging at all (for the level of intelligence that individuals on SDN posses). However, when you condense 30 months into 6 months it gets a little "cute":cool:. Don't be intimidated by P class its all smoke and mirrors. Many Instructors and Paramedics tell horror stories of classes and skills and registry to further credit their own accomplishments. I am here to tell you that its not "EASY" but its absolutely 100% obtainable for anyone that is willing to apply themselves.

    What is you current situation ?
    Where do you stand with course work?
    Are you certified in anything EMT-B, volunteer fire, Medic First Aid, CPR ect. ?
     
  14. Avid_306

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    Right now I'm 21 in my senior year of college. I have to take the medical school pre-reqs though. Despite any opinions I've always wanted to be a paramedic. I am an EMT-B but have no work experience because companies by me only hire paramedics or EMT/FF. When I graduate I'm going to get a job in the town close to me (I can't now because o went away to school and they won't hire someone who is gone 9 months out of the year). I am going to enroll in a paramedic program after I find an EMT job, which is highly recognized in my state and is an 11month program. It gives you you're NREMT-P at the end which is good. It's shorter than the traditional 2 year programs and as I'm a paramedic I can take the classes I need and be able to apply around the age of 25/26 which is the average age of a medical students for DO programs. It also gives me a chance to see if I like medicine and like being in charge before embarking on to a costly and large decision of medical school.
     
  15. ROSC

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    You're Def on the right track... what is your Major and GPA if you don't mind me asking?
    I would work PRN to make sure that science GPA stays high, and you don't take any light semesters because man its real easy for time to get away from you. It has happened to the best of us. Don't discount yourself from MD schools if you have a high Post bacc science GPA and do well on the MCAT you can always get into mid tier schools or even low tier schools. If that is your concern.
     
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  16. Avid_306

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    Thanks for the advice. Right now my major is Exercise Science and my cGPA is 3.91. I wanted to do what you said and work PRN so that I can take the necessary classes as so I can get a little experience before devoting a career of being in charge.
     
  17. ROSC

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    Look here, I WISH I had the opportunity that you've got right now man..... I busted my BUTT, and I'm scratching and clawing tooth and nail to try and get my positioning for my foot in the door. Take that P class if that's what your heart is set on, work PRN knock out those pre reqs and with a solid MCAT you'll have a very good chance at going to many different schools. I can understand your reservations about testing the waters before fully committing, that is very mature on your part.

    Another suggestion, is there any way you can go ride third and shadow on a unit for some time, or just get some substantial MD shadowing hours to relate to the field..... with your GPA and age I would just hate to see you practice as a Paramedic when Ultimately you're going to be a Doc. If you shadow and ride 3rd for a few hundred hours it would def justify your commitment and exposure to the field and will present a solid case to the adcoms. Instead of taking a year to take P class the waiting for registry that takes a few more months then you have to clear ... then you'll take 6-9 hours a semester instead of 12-15 and end up applying 2 years later possibly 3 if you miss a cycle or take a late MCAT.

    Not trying to be negative by ANY MEANS just giving you a well rounded picture.

    Been there have the Tshirt
     
  18. Avid_306

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    Thank you for all the advice you have given me this far. I can try and ask but most services around me aren't very accepting to students. If I was riding third wheel would I be able to use any of my EMT skills or just observing? Is this something that is common that companies you have been a part of have done?
     
  19. ROSC

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    We would have people Ride 3rd on a regular basis, as far as using the skills that will once again be agency specific. I can't really see where they would cause to much of a fuss, be honest with them tell them you're obtaining hours to apply to med school and you want some hands on experience but no one will hire you as a Basic. I would be surprised if you would still get shot down.
     
  20. Avid_306

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    Well it's worth a shot! Thanks for all the advice.
     
  21. ROSC

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    Anytime PM me if you have any more thoughts or questions
     
  22. Avid_306

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    Okay thanks! How did FP-C and Critical Care training differ from Paramedic school? What was it like?
     
  23. ROSC

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    FP-C and Critical Care were VERY similar the main differences came in with altitude pressures and Aviation parameters. They are very heavily Pharm based as far as Paramedic Pharmacology is concerned, Etiology of disease processes and possible complications en-route, Very Heavy on Respiratory system Diseases and complications along with Ventilator Pressures/ modes/ O2 %. The Critical care class is worth it as a Paramedic and so is the FP-C course. There is for certain much knowledge to be gained, and if retained and properly applied, you can be a very 10-8 medic. Its just like anything else in life, what you put into it is what you get out of it.
     
  24. Avid_306

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    Thanks for the information!
     
  25. alpinism

    alpinism Give Em' the Jet Fuel
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    There are a few of us out there. Mostly in emergency medicine and anesthesia (no surprise).

    EMT-B is far more common however, probably around 10-25% of all EM physicians were basics at some point before med school.

    EMT-B/EMT-I is fine and a great way to get clinical experience/make more extra money before med school. However, I'd highly caution against doing paramedic school if your ultimate goal is to become a physician. Becoming a paramedic is a generally a career path like nursing and for the most part is not worth the extra time and effort if you only plan on working part time for a few short years.

    (not to mention that most adcoms care very little for any clinical experience beyond working as a basic)

    To answer your questions:

    1. It made understanding the language of medicine easier (i.e. I already knew what Dilt, Amio, and CPAP meant before med school) and It also made learning anatomy/physiology/pharmacology a little easier (i.e. I already knew the basic anatomy of the airway, heart, lungs, and GI system).

    2. 4 years as an Air Force FF/medic and 3 years as a civilian FF/medic

    3. With the exception of EM and Anesthesia rotations, only a little. Being a medic and a physician are 2 different jobs with a few notable exceptions. Most of the preclinical classes in med school involve memorizing thousands of pages of information on in-depth physiology, biochemistry, microbiology, pathology, etc... Except for a good review of basic concepts now and then it was mostly new information for everyone including myself. For clinical rotations, most specialties only see stable non emergent patients and you spend your day rounding on the wards or in the OR. Then doing charting and paperwork and more charting and paperwork and more and more (seriously 70% of your day is on a computer).

    As for EM and Anesthesia, it does help with IVs, med dosages, airway management, reading ECGs, etc... But, most places don't let med students intubate or give meds until you're a 4th year (or intern) no matter how many times they've done it before as a medic.
     
  26. CajunMedic

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    Starting my 2nd year of med school.

    1. What I liked about the transition? Working during the day and sleeping at night! Always getting off on time (so to speak). But, seriously. It's exciting to be moving on to a new extension of my career, learning new things, and getting a deeper understanding of stuff I've done and seen on the truck.

    2. How long? 13 years in EMS- Started as a dispatcher and non-certified driver, worked all the way up to Paramedic supervisor.

    3. my EMS experience was a double-edged sword. Some places it helped immensely, like our Doctoring Skills course, where we learned how to take BP's and listen to lung sounds. but it hurt me some in cardiac physiology-I fell back on what I had been doing for years to read EKG's and got test questions wrong. I have to make myself study certain subjects more (i.e., like this years Pharmacology), so I don't fall back on experience or assume I know it already because "I studied it in medic school and have used it for years".


    I agree with what alpinism said above. If your ultimate goal is to become a physician, Working as an EMT while in undergrad is OK. Paramedic school is a pretty intense academic endeavor itself. I was already a medic when I started undergrad, it was difficult to keep up with schoolwork, MCAT prep, supervisor responsibilities, etc. It did play into the strength of one of my recommendation letters. As far as working while in undergrad, I started on the truck-working straight nights on the 2-2-3 schedule, then transferred to straight days in communications and went to evening classes, then found a service where I could work a straight 48 on Saturday/Sunday and go to class full time (sucked, but it got me through Organic Chem). That lasted a year before the paychecks started bouncing and accusations of Medicare fraud and bankruptcy ensued. Finally, I pieced together 3 part-time jobs to be able to pay the bills and finish school. Be careful piecing everything together, make sure when you schedule your pre-req courses, you don't overload yourself and can keep your GPA high. I made that mistake and triple-stacked Physics, Biology and MCAT prep while working and didn't do as good as I should have in any of them. Good Luck, It pays off in the end! PM me if you have any questions.
     
  27. austintr

    austintr 5000 candles in the wind
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    Excellent advice thus far, but I will chime in as well for good measure.

    I've been a medic for four years and it's been great experience. I won't apply until next year, but I've spent quite a bit of time reflecting on how I'll convey my experiences in applications/interviews.

    Being a paramedic, for me at least, has really just helped open some doors and get me better prepared to be a stronger applicant. It has allowed me to interact with patients (fairly) autonomously, taught me critical thinking and how to react in various weird situations. Being a paramedic has allowed me to teach classes and get a pretty sweet research gig that pays well. Most of all, being a medic just helped enforce how much I want to move on to the highest level of providing care.

    It can be rewarding, taxing, and downright exhausting, but I wouldn't trade my years as a medic for a "straight to med school" route for anything, because I strived to learn from nearly each and every interaction with patients/physicians/other providers.

    TLDR: if you're set on going to medic school, go for it. And if you decide to stick with EMT-B, just try and learn and absord as much as you can. Also, don't let work interfere with your classes. Take it from someone who should have applied this cycle, but is now a year late because he let work keep him from doing as well academically! Good luck, and just like ROSC, I'm always willing to answer questions via PM!
     
  28. Gurby

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    I'm still just a pre-med, but I think one of the most valuable things being a medic has taught me is how to work with people. There are a lot of huge egos in EMS (and I assume the same is true all throughout medicine), and you need to know when to just nod and agree even though someone is wrong, when/how to ask questions, when to assert yourself, when to be a fly on the wall, how to pick your battles, etc.

    I've made gaffes when interacting with coworkers or other healthcare people and thought to myself, "man, I'm glad I did that now as a medic and not as a med student/resident... I'll be careful to avoid doing that in the future." Hopefully my MS3/4 rotations will go more smoothly as a result.
     
    #27 Gurby, Aug 30, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2015
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  29. Avid_306

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    Sorry for the late reply, but thank you so much for all the helpful information! I appreciate all of your guys insight! I really want to work in trauma and I don't think surgeon is the right path for me, but I wanted a job that could give me some autonomy on the scene to see if I like being in charge of medical emergencies. I would gladly take a few years or so to figure out if I like being in charge of a scene before I devote all that time and money just to realize I can't work well calling the shots. A lot of the companies by me don't hire EMTs and the paramedic program is well-known in my state and only lasts for 11 months and you graduate with your NREMT-P so that's a plus. I have looked into PA's in Trauma/CC and if I realize that Medical school isn't for me I atleast have a head start on experience hours. I am extremely curious and very inquisitive about medicine. A lot physicians told me I should go to medical school, but I am still testing the waters a bit. I love reading about paramedicine just in my free time to get my mind off those science courses; I was wondering if any of you would be willing to answer some medical questions I have accumulated over the past couple months? Thanks so much guys!
     

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