You’re probably going to hear a lot about my EMT School Adventures over the next few months. Can’t help it. Other than seeing the Lego movie last week, I haven’t done a damn thing that wasn’t to do with school. So it’s what you get.
We covered my motivation a few posts ago, and so far, that’s carried me to where I am today. But what about tomorrow? Am I going to stay at the EMT level or should I go on to be a Paramedic. And then what?
I came across an article at one of my favorite EMS websites; written by an experienced practitioner, and talking about things no one will tell you about an EMS career– and specifically, “Prehospital medicine is not designed to be a long term career option”. I don’t find this to be particularly intimidating, but it’s something worth thinking about.
10 years ago, I was (ten years younger) just done with bringing forth new life. I wasn’t thinking about much else beyond getting through the day on 45 minutes of sleep and could I get away with one more day not showering (haha, career prep at it’s finest). Now, had I made some different decisions in the years previous to that, maybe I would already BE an EMT. Or maybe in all my youth and enthusiasm I would have broken on the rocks of Hard Truth and washed out of it already. It’s not a cushy job. I’ve already talked about the downsides, and the downsides on the other hand.
SO, looking at all the downsides to my particular choice of career, I’m left with how far to take it. I remember when I took my very first Red Cross Basic First Aid course. I was so excited and smug that I knew all the things. More than the Average Joe. And it suddenly occurred to me, that well, in comparison to the next level (in BC where I grew up that was the OFA), I knew nothing. They got to do way cooler stuff.
Fast forward to my EMR course. OMG SO EXCITING! I’m learning ALL THE THINGS! Ha Ha- stupid First Aiders! And I gloated for a while, then I looked around and saw that, no, EMR’s aren’t that much cooler than First Aiders… I was just a First Aider with a $400/year practice registration card, Oxygen and a SPO2 monitor. And in the job market, most companies hiring EMR’s didn’t even understand the difference between provinces for OFA-III and EMR (it’s a big one). So to cover their butts, they were slowly doing away with the EMR jobs and asking for EMT as a minimum. *sigh*
I anticipated that, and first chance I got, I was taking the entry exam for the EMT program. Here I am. And MORE COOL THINGS! Ooh ooh! All the things I can
do to you do to help people! But wait… two months into the program- most of our instructors are Paramedics, so we talk about the differences in scope on a regular basis… And I start to realize that EMT’s are still just First Aiders with expensive certification cards, Oxygen and a few cool airway tricks.
Alas, I had to change my point of view; The advantage to not knowing ALL THE THINGS and not having ALL THE SKILLS, is there’s a limit to the decisions you are faced with. At some point, you get on the phone with Medical Direction and they say STOP. Or “Do This”. Or “Advanced Life Support is on the way to save your sorry ass and your sorry patient- hang in there kiddo”. Now, there won’t always be ParaGods to come to the rescue, but you get the idea.
So, my dilemma, ultimately is where to get off the bus. At what point do I say I know enough Things, and be happy with where I am. And if I can’t do that, do I have what it takes to keep going. I’m not twentysomething anymore, and by the time I have my ducks in a row (they want at least 2 years in the field as an EMT before you apply for Paramedicine), I will be well into the thirtysomething game and looking at another 2 solid years of full time school.
I like to know All The Things. It’s what makes me tick. I suppose the only comfort I have at the moment is knowing I have time to decide.