Pharm Tech v.s. EMT

Docta "O"

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    At this point I have to make a choice between working towards becoming either a Pharmacy Technician or an Emergency Medical Technician. I really am stuck between the two. I need advice, pros and cons, anything to help me make a decision.
     

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      Docta "O" said:
      At this point I have to make a choice between working towards becoming either a Pharmacy Technician or an Emergency Medical Technician. I really am stuck between the two. I need advice, pros and cons, anything to help me make a decision.

      EMT = patient contact, medical procedures, autonomy of medical decision/diagnosis/treatment, interaction with physicians and other medical personnel, potential for volunteer or paid medical hours, participate in the saving of lives and life threatening injuries/illness

      Pharm Tech = put pills into bottles and ring it up to a customer
       

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        OSUdoc08 said:
        EMT = patient contact, medical procedures, autonomy of medical decision/diagnosis/treatment, interaction with physicians and other medical personnel, potential for volunteer or paid medical hours, participate in the saving of lives and life threatening injuries/illness

        Pharm Tech = put pills into bottles and ring it up to a customer


        He summed it up better than anybody else could. I second that.

        Additionally, the community you'll experience if you work in it enough is great. Fun people with great stories...and an excuse to drive fast and make lots of noise. Carefully, of course. The downside? Probably a little more work and dedication, but it's worth every minute you spend splinting your classmate's arms and doing BPs on each other.
         
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          Docta "O" said:
          At this point I have to make a choice between working towards becoming either a Pharmacy Technician or an Emergency Medical Technician. I really am stuck between the two. I need advice, pros and cons, anything to help me make a decision.

          EMT definitely .. because of what the others said. And it's fun, exciting...eh, can be boring at times, but definitely great experience. :thumbup:

          Ah yes, and starting IVs is fun... especially when they're, ok I won't go there...
           

          Shredder

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            Pharm Tech. You might learn a thing or two about drugs, which is most of what you do as a doctor anyway--prescribe them, and have the companies take you out to free, lavish dinners for doing so. There's a lot of money and potential to make a large-scale impact on medicine in pharmaceutics, even for doctors. EMT is on a person to person basis. More personal yeah, but not as much influence overall.

            Doctors make decisions on which drugs and treatments to give, not administer IVs or set up splints or such and such. That's for nurses. Why is the whole patient interaction deal touted so much--I've seen plenty of doctors in action, and they tend to be quite impersonal. Again, the nurses do much of the comforting and whatnot. I just think pharm would be more fascinating, and since you've listed it as an option I assume you have some interest in the field. EMT always seemed like a blue collar job to me. Just opinions, all.
             

            neoncandle

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              At most pharmacies around here, they will pay you while you train to be a pharm tech which really only requires passing a test which doesn't take too long to study for. Beconing an EMT takes a lot more time and money. If you have that, I would be an EMT. When you deliver patients to the ER and tell the doctors that you are pre-med, I think you'll get a major bonus of getting to see and (maybe do) really cool stuff.
               

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                neoncandle said:
                At most pharmacies around here, they will pay you while you train to be a pharm tech which really only requires passing a test which doesn't take too long to study for. Beconing an EMT takes a lot more time and money. If you have that, I would be an EMT. When you deliver patients to the ER and tell the doctors that you are pre-med, I think you'll get a major bonus of getting to see and (maybe do) really cool stuff.

                I became an EMT for free, since the volunteer service I agreed to work for paid for it.

                I completed the EMT course in only one month during the summer.
                 

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                  Shredder said:
                  Pharm Tech. You might learn a thing or two about drugs, which is most of what you do as a doctor anyway--prescribe them, and have the companies take you out to free, lavish dinners for doing so. There's a lot of money and potential to make a large-scale impact on medicine in pharmaceutics, even for doctors. EMT is on a person to person basis. More personal yeah, but not as much influence overall.

                  Doctors make decisions on which drugs and treatments to give, not administer IVs or set up splints or such and such. That's for nurses. Why is the whole patient interaction deal touted so much--I've seen plenty of doctors in action, and they tend to be quite impersonal. Again, the nurses do much of the comforting and whatnot. I just think pharm would be more fascinating, and since you've listed it as an option I assume you have some interest in the field. EMT always seemed like a blue collar job to me. Just opinions, all.

                  You learn about drugs in EMS as well, and it tends to look good on medical school application to have experience in treating patients. Every interviewer was interested in my EMS experience, and wanted me to tell stories. It is probably what gave me a boost to get into several schools. I doubt anyone wants to hear about me selling a bottle of prozac to someone. We all know what it does anyway.

                  The limited amount of drug information you learn as a Pharm. Tech will be of very limited use. Pharmacology is not one of the more difficult courses in medical school, and you don't take it until the second year in most cases.

                  As an EMT, you learn anatomy, physiology, pathology, medical procedures, etc.
                   

                  texas1emt

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                    Docta "O" said:
                    At this point I have to make a choice between working towards becoming either a Pharmacy Technician or an Emergency Medical Technician. I really am stuck between the two. I need advice, pros and cons, anything to help me make a decision.

                    I'd recommend EMT for the hands-on experience. I've been an EMT since 2000 and it's very rewarding. My only gripes are:

                    1) Long hours
                    2) Low pay
                    3) 500lb people

                    As long as you stay away from private carriers, and no I wouldn't want to name names here (American Medical Response), you will be paid more and your experience will be better. I found that interviewers were very interested in my previous EMT experience and asked me a lot about where I worked, what type of patients I saw, and what types of skills I'd already used.

                    The one reason I wanted to be in medical school was what happens after a call. After the EMS call, we would always leave the hospital and wonder what happened to the patient afterwards. But, thanks to HIPAA, there's no way to find out even the most basic information about your patient's later status, even something as vague as whether they lived or not. This might not bother some people, but I want to know if my actions helped at all after the call.

                    Pharm Tech can't hurt though either, you might learn a bit of pharmacology, but not too much.
                     

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                      texas1emt said:
                      I'd recommend EMT for the hands-on experience. I've been an EMT since 2000 and it's very rewarding. My only gripes are:

                      1) Long hours
                      2) Low pay
                      3) 500lb people

                      As long as you stay away from private carriers, and no I wouldn't want to name names here (American Medical Response), you will be paid more and your experience will be better. I found that interviewers were very interested in my previous EMT experience and asked me a lot about where I worked, what type of patients I saw, and what types of skills I'd already used.

                      The one reason I wanted to be in medical school was what happens after a call. After the EMS call, we would always leave the hospital and wonder what happened to the patient afterwards. But, thanks to HIPAA, there's no way to find out even the most basic information about your patient's later status, even something as vague as whether they lived or not. This might not bother some people, but I want to know if my actions helped at all after the call.

                      Pharm Tech can't hurt though either, you might learn a bit of pharmacology, but not too much.

                      I'd be careful who you talk about. AMR is the most successful of all private ambulance companies in the U.S., and provides 911 and medical transport services to many areas in Texas, and other areas of the country (especially the southwest.)

                      I worked for them by the way, and they are a very well run company. They also pay very well and provide many good benefits.

                      Good luck on that Arkansas decision, by the way. Our school shares some rotations and programs over in Arkansas.
                       

                      texas1emt

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                        OSUdoc08 said:
                        I'd be careful who you talk about. AMR is the most successful of all private ambulance companies in the U.S., and provides 911 and medical transport services to many areas in Texas, and other areas of the country (especially the southwest.)

                        Well let me take back part of what I said. They do have some very good locations with great employees and great organization.

                        However, I worked in two Texas cities (and no I am not naming names here at all) and the organization was awful and some employees did not belong. I was paid $8.50 (FT) in the first city I worked in, then paid $6.75 (PT) in the 2nd city I worked in. In the first city, I had 6 different bosses (yes, it was like Office Space) and they all wanted something different from everyone. The office was horribly mis-managed and now AMR is having to pull out of the 1st city I worked in.

                        I don't like complaining about people, I really don't like to do it. But I worked with another AMR employee at my 1st city (mind you she'd been fired + rehired 3 times) that couldn't do it. We went on a call to a man who had major SOB, I asked her to set up a NRB mask for me while I tried to move stuff to get the stretcher in. I come back, and the NRB is on, but the cord is dangling... She hadn't connected the O2, and the regulator on the tank was still off - and she couldn't find out why I was a little upset about that. In addition, with other partners, she dropped a 750-lb isolette on a flight medic's foot.

                        Just a recommendation - find out a lot about the EXACT station/environment you'll be working in, no matter if it's a reputable national company like AMR or any other company. Just because one operation is nice, it doesn't mean another is guaranteed to run as efficiently. ;)
                         

                        amy2003uva

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                          EMT, definitely . I don't want to reiterate the reasons that everyone has given before me, because they really are true and I'd say the same things in favor of EMS.

                          I became an EMT while an undergrad and found it so fulfilling that I became an NREMT-P and starting working as a paramedic during my year off before medical school.

                          Besides being incredibly challenging, I have seen and done some pretty incredible things. As an EMT/medic for the past four years (EMT for three, paramedic for one), I have earned a huge appreciation for medicine as a profession and it has helped me solidify my desire to become a physician.

                          EMTs and medics are able to hone their patient assessment/diagnostic skills in the field, as they are the front-line care providers and treat the patients first. In addition to "IVs and splints", we are able to endotracheally intubate, perform surgical cricothyrotomies, needle decompress tension pneumothoracies, perform RSI, and work extensively with cardiac ECG monitors.

                          We have drugs such as amiodarone, lidocaine, D-50, labetolol, atropine, adenosine, epi, dopamine, morphine, versed, succinylcholine, etomidate, valium, demerol, lasix, nitroglycerin, benadryl, brethine, xopenex, and many others.

                          I list these drugs to illustrate how EMTs/medics are required to have a solid pharmacological background. We have a huge amount of autonomy in the 911 ambulances, and that has helped me tremendously. We also see a ton of trauma, handling critical car accidents, shootings, stabbings, etc.

                          Perhaps my most important point stems from the fact that being a medic was impressive to adcoms while applying to med school. i was able to clearly demonstrate clinical experience in medicine, and i have also been able to network and become familiar with nurses, physicians, and others in the emergency departments.

                          Being an EMT has been very rewarding for me, and I have heard from several current med students that I (and other EMTs) will have a leg up on the clinical years in school.

                          Anyway, that is just my two cents. I am sure that you will make the decision that is right for you, and I wish you the best of luck!!!

                          Amy
                           

                          Preet

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                            Now listen up. Both can be helpful to an extent. What you should do is go backwards. There is not point in getting training in either one if later you are sitting idle without a job. So check the job listings, web etc in your area and see what types of jobs are plentiful. Then embark on a training program.

                            EMT is only going to be helpful if you get an ER tech position at a local hospital. On the ambulance, EMTs are not doing much but transporting patients from convalescent homes to the hospital. Paramedics do much more. ER Tech positions will give you more exposure to patient issues.

                            Pharmacy tech is not bad either. When you get to med school, pharmacology would be very easy to grasp for you while your fellow students are soiling their pants.
                             
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                              Preet said:
                              Now listen up. Both can be helpful to an extent. What you should do is go backwards. There is not point in getting training in either one if later you are sitting idle without a job. So check the job listings, web etc in your area and see what types of jobs are plentiful. Then embark on a training program.

                              EMT is only going to be helpful if you get an ER tech position at a local hospital. On the ambulance, EMTs are not doing much but transporting patients from convalescent homes to the hospital. Paramedics do much more. ER Tech positions will give you more exposure to patient issues.

                              Pharmacy tech is not bad either. When you get to med school, pharmacology would be very easy to grasp for you while your fellow students are soiling their pants.

                              EMT's assist patient care on the scene, and with a volunteer service, they can be in the back with the medic. To say that EMT's only drive would be erroneous.
                               

                              texas1emt

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                                OSUdoc08 said:
                                EMT's assist patient care on the scene, and with a volunteer service, they can be in the back with the medic. To say that EMT's only drive would be erroneous.

                                I agree. I'm an EMT and I've done plenty of advanced care. It depends a lot on how much your paramedic trusts you and what your SOP's or SOC's allow. Yes there are many paramedics who consider EMT's as "Equipment Management Technicians" (GRRRR :mad: ) but the vast majority give EMT's a chance to do a lot.

                                Plus, chicks dig the uniform. :) They didn't dig me, but they liked other guys in the uniform, ha ha ha. :cool:
                                 

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                                  texas1emt said:
                                  I agree. I'm an EMT and I've done plenty of advanced care. It depends a lot on how much your paramedic trusts you and what your SOP's or SOC's allow. Yes there are many paramedics who consider EMT's as "Equipment Management Technicians" (GRRRR :mad: ) but the vast majority give EMT's a chance to do a lot.

                                  Plus, chicks dig the uniform. :) They didn't dig me, but they liked other guys in the uniform, ha ha ha. :cool:

                                  Nah,

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                                    OSUdoc08 said:
                                    EMT's assist patient care on the scene, and with a volunteer service, they can be in the back with the medic. To say that EMT's only drive would be erroneous.

                                    What EMT's can and cannot do really depends on where you work and what sort of regulations the EMS in your particular county/state has. In certain states, EMT's respond to 911 emergency/trauma calls. In other states, the fire department takes the 911 calls and EMT's are simply taxi drivers (take patients from hospital to nursing home). So the quality of your EMT experience will really vary depending on where you live.
                                     

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                                      tic112 said:
                                      What EMT's can and cannot do really depends on where you work and what sort of regulations the EMS in your particular county/state has. In certain states, EMT's respond to 911 emergency/trauma calls. In other states, the fire department takes the 911 calls and EMT's are simply taxi drivers (take patients from hospital to nursing home). So the quality of your EMT experience will really vary depending on where you live.

                                      In this case, the fire department personnel are certified EMT's and paramedics. There aren't just a bunch of firefighters running around taking care of EMS calls without certifications.
                                       
                                      Around me, the paramedics and EMTs run on separate rigs. There are interesting moments and slow moments, but if you remember that you're only pre-med, and you need a job anyways, it's definitely one of the better ones I can think of. Sometimes you transfer people who need no care from one facility to another, and other times, there are serious, life-threatening instances.

                                      I would like to be an ER tech though, but nobody's hiring. I like my job with an ambulance company though. The firefighters get called in first a lot of the time, but they never like to do any of the work here.
                                       

                                      texas1emt

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                                        I worked plenty of 911 calls for AMR when I worked for them in San Antonio. Honestly, I wasn't able to do as much as I was trained to do (because of strict SOP's) but the experience was valuable. IMO, EMT's are there to free paramedics from basic things, like trauma management, vital signs, bandaging/splinting. That gives paramedics time to work on the more in-depth aspects, like cardiac or medical care.
                                         

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                                          OSUdoc08 said:
                                          I doubt anyone wants to hear about me selling a bottle of prozac to someone. We all know what it does anyway.
                                          :rolleyes:

                                          Do we? I'm sure adcoms want to sit through another person talk about "saving someone's life" as they drove around at 3 AM in search of something to do.

                                          Put pills into a bottle and ring up a customer? Hardly.

                                          Have you guys ever heard of insurance companies? Yeah, I think you have. And I think we all know how much doctors have to deal with them nowadays. You think EMT's learn anything about the bureaucratic aspects of being a physician? Formularies, prior authorizations, etc. etc.

                                          Not to mention that you get first hand contact with hundreds of medications and their uses.

                                          Now, obviously EMT has procedures and excitement(sometimes), but being an rx tech is a little bit more involved than counting pills and ringing up the patient. Especially when their drug isn't covered and they're going on vacation and it's Saturday morning and blah blah blah.

                                          I think that my experience as a tech has helped me develop excellent skills in learning how to deal with patients who don't really have a clue as to how the healthcare system works.

                                          Sorry to sound defensive, but having a bunch of people dismiss it with such carelessnes touched a nerve. To be perfectly honest, I think either choice would be good, just for different reasons. EMT is the much more common and probably more "fun" way though.
                                           

                                          amy2003uva

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                                            meister said:
                                            :rolleyes:

                                            Do we? I'm sure adcoms want to sit through another person talk about "saving someone's life" as they drove around at 3 AM in search of something to do.

                                            Put pills into a bottle and ring up a customer? Hardly.

                                            Have you guys ever heard of insurance companies? Yeah, I think you have. And I think we all know how much doctors have to deal with them nowadays. You think EMT's learn anything about the bureaucratic aspects of being a physician? Formularies, prior authorizations, etc. etc.

                                            Not to mention that you get first hand contact with hundreds of medications and their uses.

                                            Now, obviously EMT has procedures and excitement(sometimes), but being an rx tech is a little bit more involved than counting pills and ringing up the patient. Especially when their drug isn't covered and they're going on vacation and it's Saturday morning and blah blah blah.

                                            I think that my experience as a tech has helped me develop excellent skills in learning how to deal with patients who don't really have a clue as to how the healthcare system works.

                                            Sorry to sound defensive, but having a bunch of people dismiss it with such carelessnes touched a nerve. To be perfectly honest, I think either choice would be good, just for different reasons. EMT is the much more common and probably more "fun" way though.

                                            Good points, meister. I think that you could choose either of the two areas to pursue and enjoy each equally. The important thing to remember is that you can succeed in either field. To top it all off, both would look great on your med school apps. Just do it for the right reasons - because you are interested in EMS or pharmacology - not just because it would benefit your apps. Good luck! :luck: :D

                                            Amy
                                             
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                                              meister said:
                                              :rolleyes:

                                              Do we? I'm sure adcoms want to sit through another person talk about "saving someone's life" as they drove around at 3 AM in search of something to do.

                                              Put pills into a bottle and ring up a customer? Hardly.

                                              Have you guys ever heard of insurance companies? Yeah, I think you have. And I think we all know how much doctors have to deal with them nowadays. You think EMT's learn anything about the bureaucratic aspects of being a physician? Formularies, prior authorizations, etc. etc.

                                              Not to mention that you get first hand contact with hundreds of medications and their uses.

                                              Now, obviously EMT has procedures and excitement(sometimes), but being an rx tech is a little bit more involved than counting pills and ringing up the patient. Especially when their drug isn't covered and they're going on vacation and it's Saturday morning and blah blah blah.

                                              I think that my experience as a tech has helped me develop excellent skills in learning how to deal with patients who don't really have a clue as to how the healthcare system works.

                                              Sorry to sound defensive, but having a bunch of people dismiss it with such carelessnes touched a nerve. To be perfectly honest, I think either choice would be good, just for different reasons. EMT is the much more common and probably more "fun" way though.

                                              Actually, all 5 of my interviews requested to hear those things. They loved my EMS stories, and we spent half of the interview time discussing them.

                                              Pharmacy tech is good for if you want to be a pharmacist, not a physician.

                                              By the way, as a paramedic, I was required to take pharmacology, so no "extra benefit" would have come from being a pharmacy tech.
                                               

                                              OSURxgirl

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                                                Pharmacy tech positons can prepare you for more than being a pharmacist. I am in pharmacy school, and work as a pharmacy intern at a hospital. One of our techs is applying to medical school. His experiences have given him lots to talk about on interviews. Technician positions, especially in the hospital give you lots of opportunities. You get to learn about drugs (which is lacking in the medical curriculum), help compound medications, mix IVs, etc. etc. It's helpful for educating future doctors what all goes into pharmacy. It's not just "count, lick, stick, and pour". We have to advocate for our patients with insurance companies and doctors. We check dosing and for drug-drug interactions. We counsel patients on how to use their medications (because usually they have not been told how by their MDs). I think having a pharmacy background would make someone a better doctor. Instead of just writing a prescription and sending someone on their way and thinking nothing of it, you'd actually know what goes into it. Instead of prescribing the new expensive med a drug rep just pimped to you, you might prescribe a less expensive alternative to help save your patient money. I'm not dogging doctors, I just think a pharmacy background can only make someone a better doctor. All the EMT stuff...you'll learn it in med school.
                                                 

                                                meister

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                                                  OSUdoc08 said:
                                                  Actually, all 5 of my interviews requested to hear those things. They loved my EMS stories, and we spent half of the interview time discussing them.

                                                  Pharmacy tech is good for if you want to be a pharmacist, not a physician.

                                                  By the way, as a paramedic, I was required to take pharmacology, so no "extra benefit" would have come from being a pharmacy tech.
                                                  So you get zero benefit from working as a tech? Please, who are you kidding? Don't be so narrow minded.

                                                  And by the way, this guy isn't going to be a paramedic. He's going to be an EMT. Plus, just taking a class on something isn't nearly as informative as actually working and having direct contact with drugs. Obviously anyone in the healthcare industry is going to have access to drugs, but trying to pretend that working in a pharmacy doesn't give you good exposure to drugs is insane.
                                                   

                                                  texas1emt

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                                                    Holy crap. I fear this has turned into a my-certification-is-better-than-yours flame fest.

                                                    I think the basic idea is - do what you want, and do what you enjoy. ANYTHING and ANY experience will look good to an interviewer, just back it up and talk about it. If you cut lawns during college, tell them why you did it, and what you learned from it. That's the big picture.

                                                    I became an EMT because I like the thrill of it. My good friend is a pharm tech and she loves it because she likes learning about the medications and talking to people. That's the big picture.

                                                    Do what you love and love what you do. :) (Wow I sound like a college counselor... scary)
                                                     
                                                    I've got both sides covered: my girlfriend is a pharmacy tech (actually has her RN now, but can't start work until she can cram in a lengthy job training), and I'm an EMT-B.

                                                    She pushes pills and rings up the cash register, and I put Band-Aids on fingers. There are more glorious moments, yes, but it is just a job too. ;)
                                                     

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                                                      texas1emt said:
                                                      I think the basic idea is - do what you want, and do what you enjoy. ANYTHING and ANY experience will look good to an interviewer, just back it up and talk about it. If you cut lawns during college, tell them why you did it, and what you learned from it. That's the big picture.
                                                      Bingo.
                                                       

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                                                        meister said:
                                                        So you get zero benefit from working as a tech? Please, who are you kidding? Don't be so narrow minded.

                                                        And by the way, this guy isn't going to be a paramedic. He's going to be an EMT. Plus, just taking a class on something isn't nearly as informative as actually working and having direct contact with drugs. Obviously anyone in the healthcare industry is going to have access to drugs, but trying to pretend that working in a pharmacy doesn't give you good exposure to drugs is insane.

                                                        Of course a pharmacy tech is better than no experience as all. But in this discussion, we are determining which of the 2 careers would be more beneficial to medical school.

                                                        The answer is of course EMS. Just think about all of the clinical skills you learn the first year that EMT's already know.
                                                         

                                                        NEATOMD

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                                                          I think everyone should do what they enjoy doing. I did construction for a while and it was a good job that probably had good benefits (besides good pay) as far as preparing me for being physician. If I can prepare for being a physician by doing construction, then I'm sure that working in a Pharmacy would have definate benefits, too. But, as for me, I have to say that I really enjoy being an EMT-basic. I usually work on an ALS rig with a paremedic (by the way, paramedics are EMT's too), though I've worked on ILS and BLS rigs too. While our service does quite a few granny shuffles, I think its important to learn to deal with them as much as it is the 911 emergencies we go on. Somehow, I don't think that most people realize that the majority of patients that doctors see are either babies or that they are elderly people with chronic or age related illnesses. So, surprisingly, these transports are actually pretty good preparation for being a medical doctor as they reflect the patient base of many physicians. On the other hand, I enjoy responding to 911 emergencies too (ok, so it isn't always fun at 3AM) But, as someone mentioned earlier, there is alot that Basics can do to help Paramedics (such as spiking bags, putting together and prepping locks, aside from basic certified skills). If you are fast enough and know your stuff well enough, you can help do the majority of the treatment on scene with a paramedic as a basic (or intermediate) if you work for a 911 service. I've also worked on basic rigs for 911 emergencies. I enjoy them as much as the ALS rigs because, it requires me to use my skills more. You may be wondering where I am going with this...I guess, it doesn't really matter what you do as long as you can find a way to learn from it and apply that to whatever you end up doing with your life.
                                                           
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                                                          NEATOMD said:
                                                          I (ok, so it isn't always fun at 3AM)
                                                          I dunno, man, it was kinda fun parking on the middle of the interstate this morning while everyone else was :sleep:. Unfortunately, our MVA wasn't too exciting. There was a much more exciting one just a ways down the freeway. Got to see them BVMing him on their way into the trauma room.
                                                           
                                                          sknott said:
                                                          I'm not knocking being an EMT, but all I have to say is that the things you learn as an EMT are many basic procedures that any medical student will master and soon never perform again because that is what nurses are for.
                                                          That's not really the point though, IMO. It's for the exposure, not the fine-tuning of your skills.
                                                           

                                                          RJSpaulding

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                                                            I have a question for those who are EMTs and prospective medical students....How well have you been able to balance such a stressful occupation and going to school taking those lovely med school pre reqs? I know that it will be intense, but I have also heard that the hours are long.
                                                             
                                                            RJSpaulding said:
                                                            I have a question for those who are EMTs and prospective medical students....How well have you been able to balance such a stressful occupation and going to school taking those lovely med school pre reqs? I know that it will be intense, but I have also heard that the hours are long.
                                                            Don't work full-time all the time. I'm taking 16 credits at school, volunteer occasionally, work in a student organization extensively, work in a research lab, and I work as an EMT. This semester, I've been doing one 24-hour shift a week, but I did two last week and I have two this week, but that's because I'm saving up for something.
                                                             

                                                            carn311

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                                                              Shredder said:
                                                              Pharm Tech. You might learn a thing or two about drugs, which is most of what you do as a doctor anyway--prescribe them, and have the companies take you out to free, lavish dinners for doing so. There's a lot of money and potential to make a large-scale impact on medicine in pharmaceutics, even for doctors. EMT is on a person to person basis. More personal yeah, but not as much influence overall.

                                                              Doctors make decisions on which drugs and treatments to give, not administer IVs or set up splints or such and such. That's for nurses. Why is the whole patient interaction deal touted so much--I've seen plenty of doctors in action, and they tend to be quite impersonal. Again, the nurses do much of the comforting and whatnot. I just think pharm would be more fascinating, and since you've listed it as an option I assume you have some interest in the field. EMT always seemed like a blue collar job to me. Just opinions, all.


                                                              I disagree. I'm volunteering as an EMT now at a rescue squad where they only run to EMT-Basic (the lowest EMT certification) and these people know much more about medicine than you give them credit for. And they also can teach you more about patient contact then being behind a pharmacy counter every could. These people will be in the most dire circumstances of life and you will have the opportunity as a PREMED to console them. This is a skill that cannot be taught in the classroom and will prove an invaluble asset in both your career in medicine and your medical school application.
                                                               

                                                              texas1emt

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                                                                carn311 said:
                                                                I disagree. I'm volunteering as an EMT now at a rescue squad where they only run to EMT-Basic (the lowest EMT certification) and these people know much more about medicine than you give them credit for. And they also can teach you more about patient contact then being behind a pharmacy counter every could. These people will be in the most dire circumstances of life and you will have the opportunity as a PREMED to console them. This is a skill that cannot be taught in the classroom and will prove an invaluble asset in both your career in medicine and your medical school application.

                                                                Agreed.

                                                                After working as an EMT for a few years now, my only gripe is I can never find out how my patients have ended up after I dropped them off. I want to know just for a little peace of mind, and so I know if what I did actually helped the person. With HIPAA floating around, forget it. :thumbdown:
                                                                 

                                                                OSUdoc08

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                                                                  RJSpaulding said:
                                                                  I have a question for those who are EMTs and prospective medical students....How well have you been able to balance such a stressful occupation and going to school taking those lovely med school pre reqs? I know that it will be intense, but I have also heard that the hours are long.

                                                                  As an EMT, you can sit at the station and hang out all day, while doing homework. You only work when you get a call. As a pharm tech, you are actually supposed to be doing something most of the time.

                                                                  Also, on another note, my GPA was much higher during the semesters that I was concurrently in medical school, because the coursework correlated.
                                                                   

                                                                  voulpaix

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                                                                    Hey, I am having the greatest time as an EMT in the ER at my local hospital. I do EKGs, help nurses with everything from IVS, CPR, monitoring, vitaling, getting blood, testing blood glucose, bandaging, splinting, transport, etc. You get the point. I feel like a mini-doc because I get to talk, fill out papers, and wear scrubs. The doctors are the best and it's just great to get experience medically and on an interpersonal level with staff and patients. I just graduated UCLA and this is what I'm doing on my year off before school next year. If you go the EMT route try your best to put in an application with a local ER. My pay is 14.35/hr with overtime that takes me to about 22/hr. This is grave yard shift of course (7p to 7a). Anyways, I played around with the ambulance thing, and after doing my ride alongs I realized that there is so much down time and the pay is so low (around 8.5/hr in CA), so I went for the hospital experience. I have a lot of respect for PharmTechs but I don't think that it will be as fulfilling for a student bound for medical school. There is definitely the patient factor missing in that one. So try to get through a one month EMT program, put in an ER application, and you are on your way. Good luck!
                                                                     

                                                                    RJSpaulding

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                                                                      voulpaix said:
                                                                      Hey, I am having the greatest time as an EMT in the ER at my local hospital. I do EKGs, help nurses with everything from IVS, CPR, monitoring, vitaling, getting blood, testing blood glucose, bandaging, splinting, transport, etc. You get the point. I feel like a mini-doc because I get to talk, fill out papers, and wear scrubs. The doctors are the best and it's just great to get experience medically and on an interpersonal level with staff and patients. I just graduated UCLA and this is what I'm doing on my year off before school next year. If you go the EMT route try your best to put in an application with a local ER. My pay is 14.35/hr with overtime that takes me to about 22/hr. This is grave yard shift of course (7p to 7a). Anyways, I played around with the ambulance thing, and after doing my ride alongs I realized that there is so much down time and the pay is so low (around 8.5/hr in CA), so I went for the hospital experience. I have a lot of respect for PharmTechs but I don't think that it will be as fulfilling for a student bound for medical school. There is definitely the patient factor missing in that one. So try to get through a one month EMT program, put in an ER application, and you are on your way. Good luck!

                                                                      Thanks for sharing your experience....

                                                                      I may be transferring to UCLA soon...are you working at UCLAMC? Do you know if they are pretty flexible with UCLA students who work there?
                                                                       
                                                                      An addendum to what voulpaix said - make sure that the jobs you're looking for are actually available. I wanted an ER tech job, but I couldn't get it (they wanted a lot of experience). Meanwhile, jobs running 911 calls are much more easily had.
                                                                       

                                                                      blessed1

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                                                                        voulpaix said:
                                                                        Hey, I am having the greatest time as an EMT in the ER at my local hospital. I do EKGs, help nurses with everything from IVS, CPR, monitoring, vitaling, getting blood, testing blood glucose, bandaging, splinting, transport, etc. You get the point. I feel like a mini-doc because I get to talk, fill out papers, and wear scrubs. The doctors are the best and it's just great to get experience medically and on an interpersonal level with staff and patients. I just graduated UCLA and this is what I'm doing on my year off before school next year. If you go the EMT route try your best to put in an application with a local ER. My pay is 14.35/hr with overtime that takes me to about 22/hr. This is grave yard shift of course (7p to 7a). Anyways, I played around with the ambulance thing, and after doing my ride alongs I realized that there is so much down time and the pay is so low (around 8.5/hr in CA), so I went for the hospital experience. I have a lot of respect for PharmTechs but I don't think that it will be as fulfilling for a student bound for medical school. There is definitely the patient factor missing in that one. So try to get through a one month EMT program, put in an ER application, and you are on your way. Good luck!



                                                                        Voulpaix,

                                                                        Where/how did you find a one-month training program for EMT-B? I live in the state of Maryland and have not been able to find one shorter than a regular college semester. Any help is greatly appreciated. :)

                                                                        Thank you!

                                                                        Blessed1
                                                                         

                                                                        OSUdoc08

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                                                                          blessed1 said:
                                                                          Voulpaix,

                                                                          Where/how did you find a one-month training program for EMT-B? I live in the state of Maryland and have not been able to find one shorter than a regular college semester. Any help is greatly appreciated. :)

                                                                          Thank you!

                                                                          Blessed1

                                                                          I did mine at a fire department, and the EMT-I at a volunteer ambulance service.

                                                                          The reason the ones at colleges take so long is because you pay tuition and get actual college credit.

                                                                          You will need to take a course for non-credit if you want to do it in a shorter amount of time. Find a place other than a college to take the course.
                                                                           

                                                                          tupac_don

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                                                                            Shredder said:
                                                                            Pharm Tech. You might learn a thing or two about drugs, which is most of what you do as a doctor anyway--prescribe them, and have the companies take you out to free, lavish dinners for doing so. There's a lot of money and potential to make a large-scale impact on medicine in pharmaceutics, even for doctors. EMT is on a person to person basis. More personal yeah, but not as much influence overall.

                                                                            Doctors make decisions on which drugs and treatments to give, not administer IVs or set up splints or such and such. That's for nurses. Why is the whole patient interaction deal touted so much--I've seen plenty of doctors in action, and they tend to be quite impersonal. Again, the nurses do much of the comforting and whatnot. I just think pharm would be more fascinating, and since you've listed it as an option I assume you have some interest in the field. EMT always seemed like a blue collar job to me. Just opinions, all.

                                                                            Now what you are saying Donald is you are really comparing here is pharmacist vs. EMT. As a pharm tech you are really not gonna learn much about drugs, b/c most of your day will be spent doing mechanical things, like filing, or making IV's or answering phones. You don't look at drugs, to see if there are drug interactions, a pharmacist does that. yea you can pick up some drug names from working as a pharm tech but it wont be all that useful to you. An EMT is actually a better deal if you want some real clinical exposure. You actually get to do some interesting stuff, like set up IV access, do CPR, and you get to interact with doctors on a daily basis. I mean as a pharmacy tech you don't interact with doctors, you see them walking around that's about it. Although pharm tech is probably more laid back and less responsible job compared to an EMT. However as an EMT you will build up some skill and ability and will give you a taste of dealing with real pts. As a pharm tech you don't have any pt contact, particularly in hospital. Well that' s about it. Go be an EMT. Eazy choice.

                                                                            Also EMT is a lot more responsible job and you actually might have some liability, whereas a pharm tech pretty much has no liability. They can get fired that;s about it.
                                                                             

                                                                            tupac_don

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                                                                              OSUdoc08 said:
                                                                              Actually, all 5 of my interviews requested to hear those things. They loved my EMS stories, and we spent half of the interview time discussing them.

                                                                              Pharmacy tech is good for if you want to be a pharmacist, not a physician.

                                                                              By the way, as a paramedic, I was required to take pharmacology, so no "extra benefit" would have come from being a pharmacy tech.

                                                                              Pharmacy techs don't really know about pharmacology. yea there are some that might b/c they want to or b/c they seen something agazilion times so it sticks with them, but they don't get any formal training in pharmacology. Their job is technical, they are the arms and the muscles of a pharmacist. The pharmacist makes the decisions and they carry them out. Now in Canada pharmacy techs have to have 2 years of college to become pharmacy techs, being a pharmacy tech in canada,that would apply, but defiently not in states.
                                                                               
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