pharm1234

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experience/exposure/learning opportunity - EMT, CNA, EKG, Phlebotomist and whatever else there is - with the minimal amount of training (~4 months or less)?

As a volunteer at a hospital it doesn't seem like one can do much. Typical duties: pass out and collect trays and water, stock supplies, staple papers together, make beds, put the laundry bag in the laundry room, make coffee, talk to patients (meaningful), etc. Has anyone been able to do more and get more out of your clinical volunteer position whether it is a hospital, free clinic, or elsewhere WITHOUT some kind of a certification?
 

DropkickMurphy

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Phleb is probably your best bet. Many places (outside of California and a couple of other states) do not require the certification and you can be OJT'ed. The upsides to phlebotomy are that it pays better than EMT-Basic in 99% of places (around here it's $7-8 an hour (or less) as an EMT or $10+ an hour as a phleb) and also if you choose to slack off in the training (as most premeds do in EMT courses once they realize the instructor frankly doesn't give a rats ass about how smart you think you are (speaking as a former EMS instructor)) you are not possibly going to risk harming someone in a grave manner through either omission or commission.
 

sistahnik

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Well for me, I tried the Medical Assisting program and have gained experience from just about every field in medicine there is. The EMT or medical assistant program may be your better options. With the MA program you learn phlebotomy, EKG's, injections, CPR, etc. and also how to assist with different exams, and when you go on extern for on the job training, most will train you how to do Xrays. The EMT program will give you alot more opportunity to do some things on another level, such as IV's intubation, passing certain meds to keep ppl alive, etc. In our ER we have both med assts(ER techs) and EMT's, but the EMT's must have their Paramedic level license. So you see you have a couple of options to maximize what you learn. Obviously with the EMT license you will see more criticals on the road than a med asst in a doctors office, but in the ER you can see the same thing with either job title. The most important skill you will gain from both is how to assess people and become aware of certain types of possible illnesses from the symptoms you will constantly see. My friend works for a major ambulance company and I swear the things that he tells me about sometimes freak me out but at the same time it is soooo cool to see them in person in the ER. When I first started working in the ER, I was so afraid and excited at the same time and don't even talk about my first morgue experience!!!! :eek: I really enjoy working the ER but it is quite taxing when it is really busy. So I guess either choice is good but it may depend on what you are looking to do. If you have anymore questions send me a PM and I will try to help as much as I can. :thumbup:

P.S. I chose not to do the certification for the MA program which is an option but for the EMT basic or paramedic you have to be licensed.
 
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DropkickMurphy

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The EMT program will give you alot more opportunity to do some things on another level, such as IV's intubation, passing certain meds to keep ppl alive, etc.
Just to keep things honest
You won't be starting IV's, intubating, or giving medications (other than assisting with previously prescribed NTG or Epi-Pens) in most places. The only places I know that allow IV's at a BLS level are Colorado and a few isolated local jurisdictions in other states. Intubation is not even taught in most EMT-Basic programs since it is so infrequently allowed by medical directors.

Also keep in mind that as a Basic EMT you will most likely be assigned either to work with a paramedic (read as: driving whenever the patient is critical or the case is interesting) or another EMT-B while doing non-emergent transfers. Neither is a good way to gain exposure to medicine.
 

sistahnik

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I guess it depends on where you work. I also think that working as an EMT does give you good exposure especially if you become paramedic level. As a basic you can still see the action and learn from who you work with. I agree, intubating is done be the medics not basics and passing meds are done by the medics also. I'm going to check on that and see how much basics can really do because I know they aren't just driving. ;)
 

DoctorPardi

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After taking an emt-basic class, I kind of wish I would have taken a phlebotomy class instead. Basics don't get to do to much. Vital signs, oxygen, epipen (if it was prescribed to the patient beforehand), oral glucose, and nitro. You can't draw blood or start IV's or intubate. So if you want to do some invasive procedures become a phlebotomist.
 

DropkickMurphy

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DoctorPardi said:
After taking an emt-basic class, I kind of wish I would have taken a phlebotomy class instead. Basics don't get to do to much. Vital signs, oxygen, epipen (if it was prescribed to the patient beforehand), oral glucose, and nitro. You can't draw blood or start IV's or intubate. So if you want to do some invasive procedures become a phlebotomist.
There's a joking rule: Never give a Basic EMT anything sharper than a tongue depressor.
 

sistahnik

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Dropkickmurphy that was funny!! :laugh: :laugh: I guess I'm glad I became a medical asst.
 

greytmedic

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I do have to agree with dropkick on this one, EMT-basics don't do much. Vital signs and if you are lucky assist with ntg, epi, or glucose. You may see more as a EMT-basic, but you won't do more.

As a phlebotomist, you can draw blood and learn all the tests ordered from the lab, but basically you only draw blood. It is kind of like factory work. "The needle goes in, and the blood comes out," to quote my wife, who is a phlebotomist, paramedic, and currently in PA school. Basically, if you are an EMT-B with a paramedic, yes you will drive a lot, but you will see more. As a phlebotomist, you may get to draw blood and learn tests, but you will only draw blood. So, it's kind of six in one hand, half dozen in the other, heck, but what do I know I have been drinking margaritas all night.
 

sistahnik

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Well I guess they better either go to the paramedic level or prepare to go to a medical assisting program. I mean you can always just volunteer or shadow, but if you want to get hands on then Med Asst is the way to go. You can learn so much from the docs and get so much experience and I wouldn't trade it for the world. I'm just talking about something that doesn't even take a year because you specified short length of time for the programs. My program lasted about 6 months, then 160 hours of on site training which only took me 4 weeks to complete. I'm not sure if you want to do the CNA program?!?! ;) What time is it where you guys are? It's 2:30am where I am!! In the ER :eek:
Phlebotomists can only draw blood so I'm not sure if you would like to do that either, because you aren't really spending any time with the patient or the physician. Just look into it.
 

DropkickMurphy

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Actually you get to talk to a lot of very interesting people as a phleb. I actually looked forward to drawing certain patients because that meant I could talk to them and some of them were very fascinating to talk to. BTW, yes, I can draw blood and carry on a full conversation at the same time.
 

sistahnik

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I'm sorry dropkickmurphy, didn't mean to insult your position. ;) You are exactly right, phleb's can meet a lot of different ppl beause when I worked as a phleb., I met and talked to all types of people. It seems that when ppl are being cared for, they feel the need to expose themselves to no end. They will tell you all kinds of information about themselves and their families. It's actually a great profession!
 

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DropkickMurphy said:
Actually you get to talk to a lot of very interesting people as a phleb. I actually looked forward to drawing certain patients because that meant I could talk to them and some of them were very fascinating to talk to. BTW, yes, I can draw blood and carry on a full conversation at the same time.
hmm...as a repeat resident of various hospitals (read: patient), since the phlebs came at disgustingly early hours (always before 6 am), i pretty much wanted them to stfu, draw my blood, and get the f outta my room

...but i'm sure that you either came later or were interesting enough in conversation to stay awake for, lol
 
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sistahnik

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:laugh: :laugh: :laugh:
I can remember going into the nursing homes to get those early (3-4am) draws and getting punched and kicked by those nice ole residents. ;)
 

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sistahnik said:
:laugh: :laugh: :laugh:
I can remember going into the nursing homes to get those early (3-4am) draws and getting punched and kicked by those nice ole residents. ;)

wow! you gotta be pretty on top of your game to put up a fight at 3-4am! hats off to the old folks :p
 

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I'll say this again:

Got my EMT, work in an ED as a tech. They trained me in phlebotomy, and EKG. I'm open to go into whichever 12-lead interpretation classes I feel interested in, as well.
 

sistahnik

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That's right, we do hire EMT basics as techs. I guess I'm so used to the EMT paramedics working as paramedics in the ER. I think a couple of our techs used to be Basics. Yea, the ER is a great way to obtain clinical exposure and see some really cool stuff to talk about at interviews.
 
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pharm1234

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As a volunteer at a hospital it doesn't seem like one can do much. Typical duties: pass out and collect trays and water, stock supplies, staple papers together, make beds, put the laundry bag in the laundry room, make coffee, talk to patients (meaningful), etc. Has anyone been able to do more and get more out of your clinical volunteer position whether it is a hospital, free clinic, or elsewhere WITHOUT some kind of a certification?
 

DropkickMurphy

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It wasn't taken as an insult. I've got pretty thick skin.

...but i'm sure that you either came later or were interesting enough in conversation to stay awake for, lol
Yeah, I never worked the morning shift. I always worked 6p-12am.
 

Doctor~Detroit

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DropkickMurphy said:
Just to keep things honest
You won't be starting IV's, intubating, or giving medications (other than assisting with previously prescribed NTG or Epi-Pens) in most places. The only places I know that allow IV's at a BLS level are Colorado and a few isolated local jurisdictions in other states. Intubation is not even taught in most EMT-Basic programs since it is so infrequently allowed by medical directors.

Also keep in mind that as a Basic EMT you will most likely be assigned either to work with a paramedic (read as: driving whenever the patient is critical or the case is interesting) or another EMT-B while doing non-emergent transfers. Neither is a good way to gain exposure to medicine.
in my system, we're allowed to play with combi tubes for "blind" intubation. this doesn't require as much skill, but it is intubation.

when i work with paramedics the situation ranges from what you describe (medics that want to do everything themselves) to (usually more experienced) medics who appreciate my career goals and are interested in me learning als stuff (they let me start i.v.s; use the glucometer, monitor, pulse-ox; teach me how to read three-lead ekgs). i would never want them to let me push their meds or manually defibrillate, but they're happy to talk to me about this stuff too.

and i think i've disagree with you before on the non-emergent transfers: you can still learn about *hospital* patient care from reading medical charts, develop social skills in talking to patients, and learn about how patients handle sickness outside the hospital by entering their home environments and talking to their family members. not the most useful stuff if you want to do emergency medicine, but probably more useful for other longer-term-care areas of medicine.
 

Dr.Acula

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OP,
are there any other hopsitals around you? I currently volunteer at two. In one of them i don't do crap. I stand there and change sheets and basically get ignored by bitchy nurses. The other hospitals awesome. I take EKGs, get vitals the nurses are super cool and so are the docs. I guess my point was to check up on other local hospitals and see if you can get a better experience somewhere else
 
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DropkickMurphy

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Doctor~Detroit said:
in my system, we're allowed to play with combi tubes for "blind" intubation. this doesn't require as much skill, but it is intubation.

when i work with paramedics the situation ranges from what you describe (medics that want to do everything themselves) to (usually more experienced) medics who appreciate my career goals and are interested in me learning als stuff (they let me start i.v.s; use the glucometer, monitor, pulse-ox; teach me how to read three-lead ekgs). i would never want them to let me push their meds or manually defibrillate, but they're happy to talk to me about this stuff too.

and i think i've disagree with you before on the non-emergent transfers: you can still learn about *hospital* patient care from reading medical charts, develop social skills in talking to patients, and learn about how patients handle sickness outside the hospital by entering their home environments and talking to their family members. not the most useful stuff if you want to do emergency medicine, but probably more useful for other longer-term-care areas of medicine.
:rolleyes:
 
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pharm1234

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Dr.Acula said:
OP,
I take EKGs, get vitals the nurses are super cool and so are the docs.
Any certification required to do that?
 

Dr.Acula

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pharm1234 said:
Any certification required to do that?
nope, just had a nurse and a ER tech show me a few times then i was on my own.
 

DrPhysician

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i say you go with EMT-B. I've been an EMT for a couple of years and i've had the opportunity to work several codes, gunshots, stabbings, respiratory arrests, deliver a baby, and the list goes on. In my opinion, Emergency Medical Services was the best decision i ever made regarding exposure to the healthcare field.

and its a 4month course as well

just my two cents :)
 

DropkickMurphy

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Doctor~Detroit said:
ok, i think i get which of the two paramedic categories you fall into.

pardon me, o paragod.
As for my attitude, just simply because I disagree with your assessment of certain aspects of EMS does not imply I'm a paragod. It would seem that if I were such an dingus in person (and we are all aware that forums are horrible at communicating actual personalities), I would not have been selected to precept and instruct and have been cited for excellence in both activities.

It's just the instructor and former EMS supervisor in me that dislikes persons who tend to play up the positives of our field while disregarding the likelihood that a EMT-B will wind up as a driver and see precious little of most critical patients (since most interventions should be done en route with these patients with a few notable exceptions).

BTW today has been a rather crappy day for me on a personal level, so I apologize for being short with you earlier.

Just out of curiosity BuckerPark, what have I ever done to make you think that of me? Other than being a staunch and very blunt advocate of professionalism in EMS and not supporting further diluting the field with people who have no loyalty to it and are simply using it for a bullet on their list of EC's, I don't believe I have said anything to come across as a paragod.
 

sistahnik

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Pharm1234and neom3x11,I went to medical assisting school before I started back on the college path. I was a med asst for about 4 years before I started on the premed track and that's how the passoin for medicine got stirred up in me otherwise I would never have known I was interested in medicine so deeply. In order to get a job as a med asst. you must do the program which is 6-9mos depending on which program you take. The program is also offered in community colleges as an associate degree program. Now back in the day clinics used to just hire people who came in inquiring about the position of med asst. but now they pretty much require the necessary training, although a few places may still bring you in without formal training and just teach you everything you need to know. This would not happen with the hospital based positions though, just mainly private practices. Now as far as volunteering goes, I guess if you end up at a pretty cool place they will let you perform those prcedures like EKG's, vitals and some basic charting but I'm doubting the phlebotomy stuff.
Just check into a couple things that interest you. My program costs were like 4400 but I didn't have to pay anything thank God!! :)
 

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How much you'll get to do in EMS is HEAVILY dependant on the system you work in. You might want to find out a little bit about how the system you'll go to works before putting in 4-6 months for the certification. In some systems the medics do all the medicine and the basics all the driving, and in other systems BLS crews run the show and call in ALS support when they need it.
 

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DropkickMurphy said:
Also keep in mind that as a Basic EMT you will most likely be assigned either to work with a paramedic (read as: driving whenever the patient is critical or the case is interesting) or another EMT-B while doing non-emergent transfers. Neither is a good way to gain exposure to medicine.

That's not entirely true. I'm a basic, and work for an ALS agency. However
a) the medics aren't always available
b) if it really is a critical patient the medic will want more than just his/her hands on board and if you show you're competent they let you stay in back with them
c) join a voluteer agency that's not an ALS agency at least 20 mins from the nearest hospital, and you get to play with everything
d) volunteer as an EMT for a fire department and get in the good graces of the medic on duty- they'll let you help

Granted, as a basic you don't get to do all that much in the way of fun treatments (IVs, intubations, etc), but the whole experience of dealing with a critical patient by yourself, even if it's for a matter of five minutes at a time is more "real" medicine than stapling papers together at a doctor's office. The whole aspect of remembering what you're supposed to do, and thinking one step ahead of what might be happening and reacting before it does is definitely a good measure of how much stress you can handle in life-or-death situations.
 
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