thirdunity

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This is something I've been tossing around - whether or not to go to medic school. The thing is, in the end, I want to be a doctor and I am thinking (and everyone's agreeing) that it's not worth my time to spend the year to go medic if I'm only going to be working as a paramedic while I'm in school finishing my Bachelor's degree. Also, that year I'm in medic school is a year I'm not completing premed prerequisites or getting ahead in my math. Any second opinions here?

I'm a nontrad - age 31, in a community college - so this is a second career for me.
 

MedSchoolFool

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I'm a little older than you are and am also going the EMS route in order to gain some practical experience before applying to med school. In my opinion I would say that EMT-B certification would be enough. I'm taking an accelerated EMT-B course right now and it really is amazing the extent of front line medical skills that you learn. Medics are, of course, much more skilled, but I'm essentially doing the EMT-B thing in place of a boring emergency room volunteer experience.

However, I would guess that you are maybe thinking of training as a medic for a backup career in case med school doesn't work out. Again, I would say to get an EMT-B certificate first, and then if med school isn't happening, go back and do the Medic program, which will probably accept your EMT-B training as fulfilling some of the basic requirements of the program, meaning you'll just be that much further ahead when you start. Each school is different though, so you'll have to check that on a school by school basis.

Volunteer experience is a huge part of the road to medical school. I don't think you can get any better experience for less investment of your time and resources than you can as an EMT-B. It's frontline, it's hands on, and I think it will give you a lot to talk about when doing an interview with an ADCOM. Good luck.

Justin
 

niko327

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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.
 

carn311

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niko327 said:
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 is one of the most amazing posts I've ever read. Truely inisightful. Awesome job. :thumbup:
 
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nonlethal

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niko327 said:
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.
I agree.
I did have something constructive to say, but it's already been said.
I'll say it anyway: There is no real need to take the time to get your medic training, unless you're doing it because you really, really want to, and can take the time off from school, work, family, etc. to do that.
I'm happy with my little EMTB and will most likely get my EMT-I, but that's as far as I'll go in the prehospital realm of things. I just don't see the real need to get my medic certs.
In the event that I don't get into, or decide not to go to, medical school, then my plan B is to go nursing, and get my medic certs in conjunction with that. Do the cool medic stuff, get paid like a nurse. :cool: :idea:

good luck
 

MedSchoolFool

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nonlethal said:
In the event that I don't get into, or decide not to go to, medical school, then my plan B is to go nursing, and get my medic certs in conjunction with that. Do the cool medic stuff, get paid like a nurse. :cool: :idea:
This is interesting. Does this mean you would be a nurse with medic capabilities or a medic with nursing capabilities? Which would be your primary title? Could you actually work as a nurse and be allowed to do medic procedures? I guess I'm just wondering if a hospital would allow you to use your medic skills since there would likely be MD/DO or PA's that you would be working with who would most probably wrest control of the cool medic stuff from you. I don't know, but it would certainly be the best of both worlds kind of thing if one did work as a nurse/medic.

I'm awed everyday because it just seems that there are so many roles one can play in health care. That's one of the reasons I'm so interested in working in it. Lots of variety if you want to seek it out, whether you are a doctor, midlevel, nurse, or pre-hospital person.

JJ
 

carn311

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MedSchoolFool said:
This is interesting. Does this mean you would be a nurse with medic capabilities or a medic with nursing capabilities? Which would be your primary title? Could you actually work as a nurse and be allowed to do medic procedures? I guess I'm just wondering if a hospital would allow you to use your medic skills since there would likely be MD/DO or PA's that you would be working with who would most probably wrest control of the cool medic stuff from you. I don't know, but it would certainly be the best of both worlds kind of thing if one did work as a nurse/medic.

I'm awed everyday because it just seems that there are so many roles one can play in health care. That's one of the reasons I'm so interested in working in it. Lots of variety if you want to seek it out, whether you are a doctor, midlevel, nurse, or pre-hospital person.

JJ
I believe he was talking about practicing as both a medic and a nurse independently. In the ICU in the hospital where I work I know two nurses that do this. It seems to be quite common.
 

nonlethal

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carn311 said:
I believe he was talking about practicing as both a medic and a nurse independently. In the ICU in the hospital where I work I know two nurses that do this. It seems to be quite common.
yep.
 

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niko327 said:
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 is probably one of the best posts i've ever read on SDN! You NAILED it! I got caught up in the EMS thing too. LOved every minute of it too.

First an innocent EMT-B class while doing pre-med..............Then before you know it.....drop out of college to be a paramedic because (i can defibrillate, intubate etc...).........7 years later.........I still want to be a doctor.....back to finishing pre-reqs and now graduating med school in 6 months going into EM. I loved it and wouldn't do it differently, but you NAILED the rest.

later
 

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Waste of a year. You're 31 now. 1-2 years until actually being accepted and starting med school. 4 years med school. 3-4 years residency. About 10 total years until being done. Why add another?
 

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I have been an EMT-B since I was 17 and am now 22. It is hard to get nearly as good a post as was posted early, but want to give you some advice. I am now in my first year of medical school and think I have an advantage over other students in SOME aspects due to my EMS experiences. We have "mock" patients where we go into a doctor's office and see the patient acting out a normal visit. We are critiqued on doing the appropriate exam, diagnosis, etc.... I have been given some of the best marks as far as being comfortable and having good technique with diagnostic skills(which by the way the extent of EMT-B diagnostics was surpassed within the first month of med school in terms of doing a PE). I think if nothing else having EMS experience will allow you to be more comfortable with patients, understand the reality of how some patients react, bitch, treat you, etc...

I am not completely sure if you want to do the medic program because you think it will give you an edge academically or not. To my understand most of the things you learn in medic school are algorythms, meaning if you have a pt. in V-Tach, you push this med, taking away from your autonomy. To my knowledge almost all EMS units have set protocols on how to react to certain conditions. This is not how medicine is practiced in most cases. Yes, if you are an ED Doc and someone is having a severe asthma attack you are going to treat it basically the same, but in general being a doctor involves a lot more skill diagnostically and allows for some room as far as how you will eventually treat the patient. So if your motive for going to medic school is to give you an edge in that aspect, it really won't do much for you. By all means you will have excellent ET, IV, etc... skills and know alot about how patients respond to certain emergency meds, but the first year of medical school is really just hardcore basic sciences.

I wish you luck in whatever decision you make, I know going to medic school is tempting, but you really have to look at the big picture. I know when I first started EMS, I looked up the EMTs, then the Paramedics, but once you get to med school, trust me it is a whole different ballgame. We are in our second trimester now and our class started with about 275 students. We have lost about a dozens students so far, but in our class to my knowledge we have 2 Physician Assistants, 2 Nurse Practioners, several RNs, a Physical Therapist, a Paramedic, and many EMT-Bs, hell we even have an Ex-Navy Figther Pilot, an Ex-Electrical Engineer, on and on. In the long run its alot easier if you do what you want sooner, then investing the extra time. Just try to figure out what you really want to do with your life, and then devote it totally to that, if you are just trying to impress admissions comittees, its not worth it, the EMT-B is good enough. If you want to do it because your not sure if you definitely want to be a doctor or not, then that is a different story. Just my 2 cents.
 

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thirdunity said:
This is something I've been tossing around - whether or not to go to medic school. The thing is, in the end, I want to be a doctor and I am thinking (and everyone's agreeing) that it's not worth my time to spend the year to go medic if I'm only going to be working as a paramedic while I'm in school finishing my Bachelor's degree. Also, that year I'm in medic school is a year I'm not completing premed prerequisites or getting ahead in my math. Any second opinions here?

I'm a nontrad - age 31, in a community college - so this is a second career for me.
Yes, become a medic. You will have an upper hand when you learn clinical skills and when you are doing clinicals.

I did.

You just don't get the skills by being a basic EMT.

You can even volunteer or work part-time during the first 2 years of medical school anyway.

I did exactly what you did (just worked part time during college.) Don't listen to the full-time medics that say it isn't a good idea. They've never been to medical school, and don't know how beneficial it will be to you. I was told myself that I shouldn't do it, but I've really impressed others when it comes to patient care.
 

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thirdunity said:
This is something I've been tossing around - whether or not to go to medic school. The thing is, in the end, I want to be a doctor and I am thinking (and everyone's agreeing) that it's not worth my time to spend the year to go medic if I'm only going to be working as a paramedic while I'm in school finishing my Bachelor's degree. Also, that year I'm in medic school is a year I'm not completing premed prerequisites or getting ahead in my math. Any second opinions here?

I'm a nontrad - age 31, in a community college - so this is a second career for me.

Again.....if your goal is to be a doctor (which you clearly state in your post) don't become a medic! Like the rest of us are saying here. If you WANT to be a medic and your heart is set on it because you think it is cool and you will love it then by all means do it, but don't use it as a stepping stone. EMT-B is plenty. Just go to medical school. I personally have never worked with an EM doc who was a paramedic and they're all rock stars. So just because you might have a slight edge in clinicals in medical school. 10 years from now it'll help very little.

later
 

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12R34Y said:
Again.....if your goal is to be a doctor (which you clearly state in your post) don't become a medic! Like the rest of us are saying here. If you WANT to be a medic and your heart is set on it because you think it is cool and you will love it then by all means do it, but don't use it as a stepping stone. EMT-B is plenty. Just go to medical school. I personally have never worked with an EM doc who was a paramedic and they're all rock stars. So just because you might have a slight edge in clinicals in medical school. 10 years from now it'll help very little.

later
I disagree with this advice.

There is no reason why you can't be a medic if you want to be a doc.

Who really cares what it will do for you in 10 years?


While there may be less benefits than some may imply, there are certainly no drawbacks to it either. I still haven't seen any valid reason to NOT become a medic. I was actually pretty successful in some of my 1st & 2nd year classes (cardiology, pharmacology, clinical skills, etc.) because of my background.
 

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My point is that if the goal is to become a doctor then why become a medic first. Just become a doctor. It would be analogous to someone saying that they wanted to be a lawyer all of there life, but first felt the need to become a paralegal before hand. Its just delaying the goal. Being a paramedic for me was about instant satisfaction and my impatience. i loved being a paramedic, but i look around and see classmates of mine that graduated behind me in high school attendings already. Sure wish i was an attending.

Just go be a doctor. Unless you've got a huge EMS itch that you can't itch.......just be a doctor.

later
 

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12R34Y said:
My point is that if the goal is to become a doctor then why become a medic first. Just become a doctor. It would be analogous to someone saying that they wanted to be a lawyer all of there life, but first felt the need to become a paralegal before hand. Its just delaying the goal. Being a paramedic for me was about instant satisfaction and my impatience. i loved being a paramedic, but i look around and see classmates of mine that graduated behind me in high school attendings already. Sure wish i was an attending.

Just go be a doctor. Unless you've got a huge EMS itch that you can't itch.......just be a doctor.

later
Becoming a paramedic didn't delay my entry into medical school, and I'm excelling above my classmates as a result in both academic and clinical settings.
 

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It will delay the poster who asked the question originally from getting into medical school He's already in his 30's. he WILL be delayed. that's my point.

He will be spending a year getting into and through paramedic school and that is time he could be doing his pre-reqs to get into medschool. he mentioned this in his first post that it WILL delay him.

so, the fact that it didn't delay you is moot. It DID delay me and it would delay the original poster.


later
 

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OSUdoc08 said:
Becoming a paramedic didn't delay my entry into medical school, and I'm excelling above my classmates as a result in both academic and clinical settings.
The same was true of me, especially during the clinical years. I can start IV's better than any of the other residents and better than most nurses.

Paramedic experience is invaluable, and if you want to be a medical director, it's always a little extra to have the "MD NREMT-P" title behind your name. Your guys will respect your medical oversight more because they'll know you've walked the walk before.

I still maintain my NREMT-P certification and will continue to renew it until the day I die. I'm a die hard EMS fan.

Having said that, do NOT delay medical school to attend paramedic school. If you plan to take a year or two off anyhow, then by all means, go to paramedic school. I wouldn't delay medical school to go to paramedic school.
 

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12R34Y said:
It will delay the poster who asked the question originally from getting into medical school He's already in his 30's. he WILL be delayed. that's my point.

He will be spending a year getting into and through paramedic school and that is time he could be doing his pre-reqs to get into medschool. he mentioned this in his first post that it WILL delay him.

so, the fact that it didn't delay you is moot. It DID delay me and it would delay the original poster.


later
I did paramedic in night school while I was full-time in undergrad. My GPA was actually HIGHER during the semesters I was in night medic school.

The OP could do this and avoid the delay.
 

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I'm CCEMT-P and MSI at Texas Tech MD program.

For me, doing paramedic first then was right thing, because I didn't know I wanted to make a career out of medicine before I was a paramedic.

Wow, what a powerful post earlier. How easy it is to get lost being a paramedic, living from paycheck to paycheck and shift to shift with nothing to show but red tired eyes, a belly that hurts from too much coffee, an aching back, and the knowledge you have to get up and do it again tomorrow night just to pay the rent. EMS is addicting in a sad and depressing way. You take on the suffering of the world with little or no awknowledgment, little to no appreciation.

The people in this online forum have been here a while, and carefully consider their advice.

As far as the advantages to being a paramedic, my opinion is there are little to no advantage. The clinical stuff is not really that tough compared with anatomy/biochem/path and doesn't effect your grade like doing better in the academic stuff. 3rd year is a whole different ball game but there are students who were never paramedics that end up doing well and getting good residencies.

My opinion: At 31 not probably going to school until 32+ years old its time to decide what you want to do with your life. Being a paramedic is a career move, not a hobby. The continuing education and administrative stuff is tough to keep your cert let alone keep your skills in order to do the job well.

If you know you want to be a doctor, go be a doctor. You can always go back and test for paramedic once you have your MD. I know two ER physicians at UVA who did this.

Motivational quotes always help me:

"eyes on the prize"

Getting into medical school is tough enough, unless you are a sure thing then you have plenty of work to do without being a paramedic on the side.

As far as helping you get in, it depends. Paramedics are "blue collar workers" and many physicians don't know what they do. When we were learning vital signs for my clinical experience class the instructor was like: "oh you were a paramedic, so did you take vital signs?" then later he was like "now have any of you done a blood pressure before?." My interviewer even asked me "have you done any volunteer health care work?" I was like "I was a career paramedic" and he responded "so you didn't volunteer?" I was like ... so you are giving the candystriper who escorts people to their rooms more credit for commitment to medical field then a career medic!!! From House MD last week when the paramedic tried to tell him about the patient: "Maybe you should have buckled down in high school a little more if you wanted to be the doctor."

If you want to be a doctor, are talented enough to be a doctor, are motivated enough to be a doctor then go be a doctor and don't let anything distract you from that goal. There are plenty of obstacles, late nights, trauma patients, intubations and codes in your future ... I promise.
 

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I agree with the conclusion that getting your medic will be a bad idea if it delays your application to med school. I dont think the certification will really help you as far as applications, and the minimal experience you'd have as a medic probably wouldnt push your skills THAT much farther ahead of other med students.

That said, if you have the time to do it while you're completing other pre-med stuff, why not? This is what I am doing. ...Working on my post-bacc classes which will take 2 years, I figure spend a year taking medic class and a year working as a medic while I take the pre-med stuff. The extra skills can only help and hell, its double the pay! ...I'm only 23 years old though, with no huge bills except student loan payments- so maybe its different for you.

I disagree with the conclusion that pre-meds should avoid the medic cert because it can become a trap. If you are that easially distracted and willing to lay dormant in the status-quo, it doesnt seem to follow that you would be strong enough to force yourself through med school anyways.
 

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fiznat said:
I disagree with the conclusion that pre-meds should avoid the medic cert because it can become a trap. If you are that easially distracted and willing to lay dormant in the status-quo, it doesnt seem to follow that you would be strong enough to force yourself through med school anyways.
To a certain extent I agree, but for many, EMS sings a powerful siren song. You can tell someone who is bit by "the bug," because they look outside when an ambulance or fire truck goes by ... thinking ... I wonder where they are going. I think you can't discount that many people do get lured into EMS and end up never completing the pre-reqs. After a two years of undergrad, my old partner got into EMS, and now in her mid-20's is going back to gen chem 101.

I think age plays a huge factor in your desire to lay dormant, I was highly motivated in my 20's ... all I wanted to do was work, run EMS/fire calls, now I'm 30 and I can appreciate a quiet day with my fiance and dogs. Life is more balanced, which is a good thing. It is not that I shy away from hard work, now I treasure those times I do not have to. I think that is what the previous poster was trying to say when he said "a little more worn out, less enthusiastic, but hopefully a little wiser"

My *mentor* in med school is cardiothoracic surgeon, in his mid 50's. When my group shows up for meetings he has routinely been up for 36 hours, looks like hell, and I think ... do I want that to be my life 25 years from now? When I was 20 I would have been like "hell yeah!" ... now I'm not so sure.

How does that relate to the OP? I think you do have to be aware that there are people who were probably talented enough to go to med school, had the desire to go, but for whatever reason never ended up finishing the process because they became a paramedic. You can't deny that it is alluring at times! Sure I'll work that shift before the test, I'll probably sleep! Did these people just not have the desire and so they would never have made it anyway? Who knows ....

Really enjoyed this thread ... best of luck to all of you guys out there working through the application process.
 

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viostorm said:
As far as the advantages to being a paramedic, my opinion is there are little to no advantage. The clinical stuff is not really that tough compared with anatomy/biochem/path and doesn't effect your grade like doing better in the academic stuff. 3rd year is a whole different ball game but there are students who were never paramedics that end up doing well and getting good residencies.
I think you're right that there is no advantage in the preclinical years. There is some advantage in terms of dealing with patients in the clinical years, but the above is correct: most med students do just fine without the experience. That could be because people expect so little of med students. Show up and have a good attitude and don't molest the patient, and you are well on your way to honors.

Where paramedic experience is a HUGE advantage is when you are the intern on call and are called to the floor or the ICU to deal with a patient who is crashing. There are about 100 things going wrong and you need to sort out what do deal with and how and in what order. Paramedic experience will teach you to take charge of the room, address the most important stuff in order of its importance, and deal with the sickest of folks on your own. There is a reason that ICU and ER nurses have ZERO faith in the average intern to deal with this sort of thing. Even a lot of senior residents don't do it that well. Med school doesn't really teach you this aspect of care very well. How many codes have we been to where the medicine team stands there and watches and discusses the patient while the nurses run the code?

I would argue that those who get caught in the "trap" of EMS may not have really had their heart in being a doctor anyway. If you really want it, nothing will stand in your way.

I agree with the others here in that paramedic school will not really get you anywhere. The field experience, when you are on your own and dealing with sick patients without backup and making the decisions that make the difference, will be very valuable in the long run. if you're doing the training just for the training, don't bother. If you plan on running and getting a few months or years under your belt, it's worth it.

'zilla
 

emedpa

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" when you are on your own and dealing with sick patients without backup and making the decisions that make the difference,( medic training) will be very valuable in the long run. if you're doing the training just for the training, don't bother. If you plan on running and getting a few months or years under your belt, it's worth it."

AGREE- my experience as a medic In l.a. and philadelphia comes rushing back when I am doing a solo night shift in the er and someone just crashes at 3 am and needs intubation right now or needs an EJ or IO because they have no peripheral veins and a blood pressure less than 60.....
 

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thirdunity said:
This is something I've been tossing around - whether or not to go to medic school. The thing is, in the end, I want to be a doctor and I am thinking (and everyone's agreeing) that it's not worth my time to spend the year to go medic if I'm only going to be working as a paramedic while I'm in school finishing my Bachelor's degree. Also, that year I'm in medic school is a year I'm not completing premed prerequisites or getting ahead in my math. Any second opinions here?

I'm a nontrad - age 31, in a community college - so this is a second career for me.
NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!

It is a huge distration from what the schools would rather see: High MCAT and GPA.

I know from experience. I let my EMT-P dissillusion me into thinking my training will really help me over my MCAT and GPA, plus it is more fun than studying.
 

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trauma_junky said:
NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!

It is a huge distration from what the schools would rather see: High MCAT and GPA.

I know from experience. I let my EMT-P dissillusion me into thinking my training will really help me over my MCAT and GPA, plus it is more fun than studying.
My paramedic experience was brought up at ALL of my interviews. My MCAT and GPA was below the standards at most of the schools I applied to.
 

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Here is something to chew on. How often does non-EMP's know the difference between a paramedic and a basic?
 

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I would venture to say that most of the population doesn't know the difference. How often are we still called ambulance drivers? I wish that was all I had to do.
 

12R34Y

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my point exactly! Most non EM people have no clue what a paramedic is. I still get the ambulance driver thing from medicine and peds attendings! Sometimes from EM resident interns even. there is a huge misunderstanding.

My paramedic was NOT brought up on my interviews much. I got into medical school because of my GPA and MCAT.

Again..........EMS is a true passion for me and always will be. I just don't think you should do it if you want to ultimately go to medical school. JUst GOT TO MEDICAL SCHOOL!

later
 

OSUdoc08

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12R34Y said:
my point exactly! Most non EM people have no clue what a paramedic is. I still get the ambulance driver thing from medicine and peds attendings! Sometimes from EM resident interns even. there is a huge misunderstanding.

My paramedic was NOT brought up on my interviews much. I got into medical school because of my GPA and MCAT.

Again..........EMS is a true passion for me and always will be. I just don't think you should do it if you want to ultimately go to medical school. JUst GOT TO MEDICAL SCHOOL!

later
It provides a good experience for those going into medicine---especially those going to emergency medicine.

I know that career EMS people are somtimes bitter that we are just passing through on the way to medical school, but I feel the experience was essential for me. I'm sorry if you don't feel that way.

Do you think working at McDonald's through college would have been more beneficial for me?
 

12R34Y

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OSUdoc08 said:
It provides a good experience for those going into medicine---especially those going to emergency medicine.

I know that career EMS people are somtimes bitter that we are just passing through on the way to medical school, but I feel the experience was essential for me. I'm sorry if you don't feel that way.

Do you think working at McDonald's through college would have been more beneficial for me?

20 years from now when you are an EM attending. Your colleague may have worked at mcdonald's during undergrad/medical school and after you've both finished an accredited EM residency program and been practicing for years it will probably matter little if at all whether you were a paramedic or burger flipper for a few years prior to medical school. don't you think?

do you honestly think your care will be different at that point?

later
 

OSUdoc08

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12R34Y said:
20 years from now when you are an EM attending. Your colleague may have worked at mcdonald's during undergrad/medical school and after you've both finished an accredited EM residency program and been practicing for years it will probably matter little if at all whether you were a paramedic or burger flipper for a few years prior to medical school. don't you think?

do you honestly think your care will be different at that point?

later
It won't make a difference, but you would have to agree that I had a better experience. I'm not saying It will affect my work, but I can guarantee you that I spend very little time studying for some courses in medical school that I otherwise would have to if I wasn't a paramedic first.

If it doesn't matter either way, then why not have fun being a medic in college. Why are you so against that? The $13.50 an hour was helpful, since I didn't even have to pay for the medic school.

If you don't think that my experience will be helpful early on in clinicals, then I'll ask you to reevaulate your thinking.

It may not make a difference 20 years from now, but who really cares? It's not like I'm going to retain my paramedic licensure just "impress" all of the EMS personnel into thinking I am "just like them." Mine expires next year and I'm going to move on.
 

12R34Y

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OSUdoc08 said:
It won't make a difference, but you would have to agree that I had a better experience. I'm not saying It will affect my work, but I can guarantee you that I spend very little time studying for some courses in medical school that I otherwise would have to if I wasn't a paramedic first.

If it doesn't matter either way, then why not have fun being a medic in college. Why are you so against that? The $13.50 an hour was helpful, since I didn't even have to pay for the medic school.

If you don't think that my experience will be helpful early on in clinicals, then I'll ask you to reevaulate your thinking.

It may not make a difference 20 years from now, but who really cares? It's not like I'm going to retain my paramedic licensure just "impress" all of the EMS personnel into thinking I am "just like them." Mine expires next year and I'm going to move on.

I think your paramedic skills do come into play and give you a slight edge in clinicals. They've helped me quite a bit, but the playing field gets more and more level the higher the ladder you go. You'll see soon enough.

Yes, I agree it is fun and being a medic was a great experience. I"m NOT against doing it, but I AM against doing it as a stepping stone for medical school. You don't need that as a stepping stone. It's just not necessary as evidence by the 172 people in my class who aren't paramedics who will be graduating in 6 months as MD's.

I will never let my paramedic cert expire. It does give you credence with field crews and I will never let it go. too much a part of my life. nostalgia I suppose.

Many on this board have also agreed ( who are now residents) that keep their certs to gain the respect from field crews. this discussion has been done in the past.

later
 

OSUdoc08

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12R34Y said:
I think your paramedic skills do come into play and give you a slight edge in clinicals. They've helped me quite a bit, but the playing field gets more and more level the higher the ladder you go. You'll see soon enough.

Yes, I agree it is fun and being a medic was a great experience. I"m NOT against doing it, but I AM against doing it as a stepping stone for medical school. You don't need that as a stepping stone. It's just not necessary as evidence by the 172 people in my class who aren't paramedics who will be graduating in 6 months as MD's.

I will never let my paramedic cert expire. It does give you credence with field crews and I will never let it go. too much a part of my life. nostalgia I suppose.

Many on this board have also agreed ( who are now residents) that keep their certs to gain the respect from field crews. this discussion has been done in the past.

later
Then we will just agree to disagree. I feel that it was very helpful to me, and wouldn't have done it any other way.
 

12R34Y

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OSUdoc08 said:
Then we will just agree to disagree. I feel that it was very helpful to me, and wouldn't have done it any other way.

I feel it was incredibly helpful to me AND I wouldn't have done it any other way as well...........

having said that....I became a paramedic with the intention of doing it as a career NOT a stepping stone to medical school. There is a difference.

I agree......we shall agree to disagree and keep it nice.

later