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Value EMT experience

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by darkosbunny, Dec 27, 2008.

  1. darkosbunny

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    I plan on getting my EMT certification this summer. If I get an EMT job, will that be viewed as the same has having X amount of volunteer hours at the local hospital/clinic/etc? Or will the various ADCOMs want volunteer hours ON TOP of the actual hours you're working as an EMT?

    I would like to get my EMT-B, and try to find work as an ER assistant. I figure I could acquire some valuable networking with physicians. Opinions?
     
  2. bipolardoc

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    EMT experience PAID is a PAID job, so that is not Volunteer experience, but it is CLINICAL experience. Now if you use that EMT for some type of volunteering work (unpaid) that is Volunteering. Doing both is the way to go. Even if it is doing volunteering once a week for a few hours.
     
  3. hector219

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    What bipolardoc is getting at is that your clinical experience and volunteer experience are two different things. Volunteer experience can be in any area, but is used to gauge your willingness to be in a service oriented job (at least that's my impression). Clinical experience is obviously to gain experience, but also largely to determine if you really want to do this. Someone who's worked in medicine for a while knows if they can happily do that as a career.

    A bit of advice. I'm an EMT as well. The ambulance is pretty neat, but I think that working in a teaching hospital will prepare you the most. It's great to get to see the crazy schedules the residents work, the role of the med students, and just the general structure of the hospital. Medical knowledge is great, but the things we "learn" as EMTs can be detriments if they get in the way of a formal medical education.
     
  4. yokurutu

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    Hi. ER tech here X 3 long years.

    Our hospital is not a teaching hospital, but respectable in town for cardiac/stroke patients...thus bringing lots of wanna-be MD volunteers and workers.

    Let me tell you how most EMT/paramedics are perceived here. I've trained many EMTs ...and many of them are unfortunately there for "resume building" and didn't really care about actual learning. Some were plainly dumb, and would be quite scary if they ended up becoming a doc. I know some paramedics who still can't distinguish cardiac death in EKG. But then I've seen medical students asking me if Big-O ST depression meant anything. (God help us) I've seen lots of EMTs/Paramedics/Firefighters who wanted to become a MD. They've came to ER personally to get a rec from MDs. Buying them a drink or two and asking with smile. I've asked that MD if he was going to write favorable rec. He said, "I don't know him that much. I don't know his clinical strength, so all I can say is good luck."

    so if you want a good rec from them...show them your strong clinical side.
    this is hard to do unless you've worked there for period of time.


    As far as your "some valuable networking with physicians," physicians usually see EMTs as "part time staffs," and don't really care to talk to you. ...unless you make some real effort to get to know them personally. I know volunteers who are university premed students, and all they do is transporting a patient to places...don't get to meet MDs this way....

    I've got to know some MDs and DOs over the years, and they will likely to write my recs but it took me awhile to be in their good side(hundreds of exams I had to assist).


    My recommendation would be to work as EMT for periods of time and get to know people. Or talk to clinical supervisor/ER sup about your volunteering. They can always use your help.
     
  5. bigDinLV

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    I was a paramedic for 7 years before med school. It is a great clinical experience and they will recognize that. Get your EMT license and get your feet wet as a volunteer somewhere. Now look at that.. You have have the community oriented volunteer experience and later you can get paid clinical experience all in one.

    I think it is kinda funny the way some ER tech is bashing the EMT/medics that come through the ER. Don't listen to that person.

    My medical director wrote me a great letter.
     
  6. yokurutu

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    Yes, I am only ER TECH.

    I don't know what you read from my post, but you have got my message completely wrong. I didn't try to bash EMTs and Paramedics. Read carefully.

    I have met very admirable EMTs, and paramedics. In fact, I love some of them who are the best in the city. Most worked for 10+years. They are my good friends. Most EMTs "in training" at my hospital are there for resume building, so that's why I recommended not to be working for resume. Like I said, some are plainly dumb. Don't take this personally and think I am thinking all EMTs and paramedics are stupid. You are committing logical fallacy. I've only advised not to become one of them.

    You know, being cocky paramedic is one, but being respectful is another. It is hard to find those with respect towards lowly ER techs. Just my experience working with them. Most will ignore me and what I have to say just because who I am. You see why I don't have good impression of general EMTs and Paramedics.

    What am I doing defending myself? I have better things to do.
     
    #6 yokurutu, Jan 8, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2009
  7. Valvool

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    I was an EMT for less than a year on an island in rural Alaska. My squad captain wrote me an amazing LOR. The EMT experience--and mine was on a volunteer basis, I was not paid--plus the great LOR impacted the quality of my application tremendously.
     
  8. bigDinLV

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    I guess I missed all the positive things you have to say about the medics. Just kinda funny that an ER tech is bashing them. The original poster should still ignore you. Nothing positive to say in the beginning for sure!!

    And those stupid medical students too!!! Might not have had much experience reading EKGs so as you put it.. God help us!!
     
  9. yokurutu

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    perhaps I should have said positive things first.



    well... I'm married to a paramedic. :)
     
  10. COMedic2Doc

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    Here's what I would have to chime in on this. First, whether you work in the ER or you work in the field as an EMT you will need to work on professional relationships with those docs that you want to get a good LOR from. Throughout my career, I have spent eight years between the ER/Critical Care Units and the field. I am a Paramedic, and do realize that there are weak Medics out there, but there are also very strong Paramedics as well. Through my experiences I have strong letters coming from my Team Commander for some Federal Response teams that I serve on (a Family Practice/EM DO whom I have shadowed in the past and will probably spend more time shadowing in the future) and from one of my Physician Advisors (we worked together in the ER and now he oversees me as a Medic). There are a few other docs that I may end up approaching for LORs, but I will also admit that I've lost touch with them over the years. So, what it boils down to is how much time you feel you can devote to working/volunteering and still mantaining academic excellence. Then hopefully, you will be able to find Physicians or Supervisors that can help set you apart as a great candidate for Medical School through your LOR from them. Good luck! :thumbup::thumbup:
     
  11. tkim

    tkim 10 cc's cordrazine
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    What's 'Big-O ST depression'?
     
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  12. mimi2kul

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    i think the "Big-O" was just an expression to say the ST segment depression was pretty obvious but the student still could not relate the significance.
     
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  13. PharMed2016

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    I would have thought that the medical students going on rotations would have had a healthy dose of patho. I still have nightmares about EKGs, PV loops, and all that good stuff.

    As for big-O... your referring to a STEMI?
     
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  14. notdeadyet

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    I think the "Big-O ST depression" term was to wow people who had no idea what he's talking about. I just finished cardiology and had no clue what he's referring to.

    Suggestion on the EMT issue: the experience is nice to have but PLEASE refrain from relying on it too heavily in your personal statement. If you're not careful, personal statements can start to look like all the rest. About 15% of personal statements fall into the "Sirens Screaming in the Night" category. They start out with a scenario designed to wow the reader with the amazing medical emergency they were a part of ("No $hit, there I was..."), then cut to the resume buildup since high school, then end with how the medical emergency turned out and why you will make a great physician.

    It's been done so often that as soon as you peg it for what it is as a reader, your eyes glaze over and you've lost a great tool to set you apart from your competitors. Don't do it. If the most original thing about you is the fact that you worked as an EMT, you're probably not looking hard enough. Loads of EMTs apply every year. Dig deeper into what makes you tick.

    Not slamming EMT experience. But it's pretty common and you'll find that it isn't as helpful in med school for as long as you think. Be sure you really get across who you are in your essay and not just a cert you have or a job you've held.
     
  15. tkim

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    STEMI stand for ST 'elevation' MI, so unless the poster was talking about reciprocal changes, it would not be a Big O ST depression STEMI. Which, again, I've never heard of.
     
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  16. Nasrudin

    Nasrudin Apropos of Nothing
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    Yep. You wanna do something.
    Go do it.




    If I get a license to shoot Elk cause I want to hunt and kill and eat them, what do I suppose any small, random collection of people would have to say about that. ?.

    But who among us would not sit in the cold of night around a fire under the stars, and not salivate at the greasy acrid smell of Elk meat for dinner.

    Or as notdeadyet says--what story will it be for you to tell it.

    Good god and if there is some fool some where sitting around tallying hours of this and that for the betterment of cutting nerd wheat from chaffe....

    Well then I pity the poor son of a b!tch.
     
  17. PharMed2016

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    Hmmm, I guess I'm just getting confused with the terminology used. My pathophysiology professor said that a STEMI is actually a ST 'depression' but was labeled an ST 'elevation' because that what it looks like.

    Anyway, thank you for the correction. After looking over it, I guess it should be more correctly labeled an NSTEMI, which has a characteristic dip in the ST-segment area which might be what the big-O is which we will never no without looking at the EKG.
     
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  18. PharMed2016

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    Oh noes, prion disease.
     
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  19. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    A STEMI has an elevated ST wave. It is symptomatic of a total occlusion by a thrombus.

    A non-STEMI has a depressed ST wave. It is symptomatic of a partial occlusion by a thrombus.
     
  20. teacherman84

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    I am applying this spring and considering enrolling in an EMT course partially because it will look good for the application, but mostly for the experience working in a hospital. its not too long and if nothing else it will be a way to make some extra cash during medical school...thoughts?
     
  21. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    An EMT course won't add anything to your application. They're dime a dozen and folks are aware that the course is taught at the high school level.
    This looks nice, but keep in mind that at most places, it's hard to get a job as an ER Tech directly out of your EMT course. Most places require a few years experience.

    As for doing the ambulance thing, if you're doing 911 calls, it can be good training and give you interesting experiences, but if you're just shuttling the elderly around for your shifts, it won't really enrich you much.
    Bad idea. Very few people work in medical school because they don't have the time and for the little time they do have, it's not time well spent.

    Working as an EMT in med school can help chip away at your loans and if you are a natural genius and find med school a breeze, it's not a bad idea. But for most of us, it would make much more financial sense to spend that time studying and working hard to get into a better specialty or residency. That will pay off a lifetime. A few odd shifts at $10/hour can wind up being penny-wise but pound-foolish.
     
  22. PharMed2016

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    An ST-segment shift (elevation/depression) is produced from a current of injury, which is produced when the gap junctions next to the area of injury becomes dissociated (not a PVC anymore). This can be caused in part by a thrombus as stated above. How it is shifted depends oftentimes on whether it is a STEMI or an NSTEMI.

    NSTEMI ~ originates from the subendocardial tissue (indicative of non-transmural infarct)

    STEMI ~ originates from an injury to the myocardium (indicative of a transmural infarct)

    ***Because of the way the vectors are added, you will see either a depression or elevation. However, the term elevation is actually a depression because if you go through the whole EKG process, (cells in phase 2,4) you will realize its not that ST is elevated but rather everything has been shifted downwards.
    -gist of what my professor stated in his lecture. He has a Ph.D in Physiology (specializing in cardio) From AMC.
     
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  23. PharMed2016

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    Eh, wish I was one.
     
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  24. tkim

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    That's great and everything, but in medicine, ST elevation and depression are just that. Elevation = injury, depression = ischemia. Simpler, and you don't need a Phd to figure it out.
     
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  25. Mr FES

    Mr FES MS-0
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    In my opinion one of the most rewarding aspects of being involved in EMS prior to medical school is being able to help patients clinically. Like I said in another post, your willingness to improve yourself in order to serve your patients better says a lot about your commitment to them. Being a paid EMT however is not volunteer work and the distinction has been well pointed in the posts above. Neither should your being an EMT or Paramedic be the focus of your application unless that is the focus of your life.
    However, an often overlooked advantage of becoming an EMT or Paramedic is that it will truly test your will and commitment to becoming to helping others: If at the end of a long shift after a couple of years in EMS you are still able to feel genuinely happy for helping the previous night's patients, then you are the kind of doctor I would like to have treating me.
    _____________________________
    Paramedic '05
    BS Baylor '05
    MS UNTHSC '09
    MD Texas A&M COM '13
     
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