1. #1

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    Default Medic School While Working

    is it impossible to work full-time while going to medic school? the reason i ask is, well ill have to work while going to medic school and have heard varying opinions from different people who have gone through it....
    it really seems to be 50/50, but was wondering if you guys could help.
    i would be working 5 am to 130 pm every day by the way, with my 2 days off as the class days and i figure i could do clinicals w/ two of the day in the afternoon-night.

    p.s. i know about the time and dedication, etc. to go through medical school...just trying to find some opinions.....i already posted this in the ems forum, but got responses and and a couple pm's of what i was hoping what i wasn't going to get....a la you're just going to suffer and so are your patients, etc......
    just trying to get an answer, w/o the negative vibes in it.

  2. #2
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    Default Good Luck

    Well I guess it all depends on the amount of clinical hours that the school you're attending requires. I personally left my 5 day a week job right as our second semester was beginning because I knew that I would not have time to complete the clinicals if I had stayed. Fortunately I was able to work part time for a few different Fire/EMS services during my remaining time in school.
    I know a few folks that have been able to complete paramedic school while holding down a regular type job, but not without difficulty and an obviously very understanding employer. Again to me it basically comes down to your clinical requirements, when you are allowed to do them and great time management skills from you.
    Whatever you decide I wish you luck, as medic school is like a full-time job in itself.

  3. #3
    FLA1786
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    Quote Originally Posted by schang7 View Post
    is it impossible to work full-time while going to medic school? the reason i ask is, well ill have to work while going to medic school and have heard varying opinions from different people who have gone through it....
    it really seems to be 50/50, but was wondering if you guys could help.
    i would be working 5 am to 130 pm every day by the way, with my 2 days off as the class days and i figure i could do clinicals w/ two of the day in the afternoon-night.

    p.s. i know about the time and dedication, etc. to go through medical school...just trying to find some opinions.....i already posted this in the ems forum, but got responses and and a couple pm's of what i was hoping what i wasn't going to get....a la you're just going to suffer and so are your patients, etc......
    just trying to get an answer, w/o the negative vibes in it.
    I think 85% of my class were either fulltime firemen on 24/48s or working full time for an ambulance. So working 40 hours a week and going to medic school is normal. However working a 5 day a week job is different, the best thing you could do is ask your instructor what the options for clinicals are. I know at my school you would have had no problem with the hospital/ER rotations, but the ride times I don't think you could have done. Talk to the program director.

  4. #4
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    Default

    My medic school was 2 years. I did the entire thing while I was working as an instructor in our training division, and I was lucky that our training captain would allow me to attend class while on duty, but I had to do clinicals on my own time, which meant I had very few weekends off.

    Virtually everyone else in my class was on their normal 24-hour tours, which allowed them to do class and clinicals on their days off, or work days, depending on staffing.

    I was lucky that I didn't have kids to worry about, and my wife was an RN/EMS provider herself, so the time commitment wasn't as much of an issue for me as some others might have.

    Medic school takes a true commitment, and will have to be one of the main focuses of your life. I don't say this to discourage you, just to be a realist. As long as you're able to balance your life pretty well, you should be okay.
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  5. #5
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    On the plus side, your schedule is fixed, unlike individuals working a 24/48, or some variant where your days off vary. Doing switches to free up time for class can be challenging. I'm assuming that your employer is unwilling to condense your schedule into a 16/16/8, or a 16/8/8/8, to free up extra days. If you've saved up a significant vacation bank, you can use days to recover when you really need to. I hope that you've read both the Brady and Mosby texts cover to cover, as well as Dr. Dubin's rapid interpretation of ekg's prior to starting class. This will reduce the amount of study time needed. If you can do your rotations in the evenings, you can still get some sleep at night, even if for only four hours or so. Most importantly, and I can't stress this enough, is to not fall behind on your clinical hours. I completed the NY Methodist paramedic program in Brooklyn, which lasted about 15 months. Class was 8 hours Mon/Wed, with an average of 17.25 hrs/wk of clinicals necessary to be on schedule. I did this while working full time on 46 Eddie at night (1800-0600), an extremely busy BLS bus out of the Queens West area. I would sleep on the one hour train ride to class, and I would catch a power nap on the couch at class during the lunch hour. This was done while working occasional overtime shifts to support my wife and infant daughter. I knew which units were busy, so that I could get good jobs. I also learned which units were slow, so I could rack out for a few hours. The experience was both fun and miserable at the same time, if you know what I mean. It sucks having to work practilally every day, but you'll be able to sleep at roughly the same time each night, which will help. It was definitely worth it, as I'm on as a firemedic recruit at my dream dept. Working through medic class is definitely doable, and will open up many doors afterward. Good luck!

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    I almost forgot this tip for drug math. If you mix dopamine 200mg/250cc NS, and run it at 10 mcg/kg/min, the drip rate will be EXACTLY 3/4 of the pt's weight in kilograms. This is not an approximation. For example, if the pt weighs 220 lbs(100 kgs), the drip rate will be 75 gtts/min. For 5 or 20 mcg, just adjust the drip accordingly. Also, ask for the "box method" for boluses. Learn the proper method for dopa, however, in case there is a different conc. on the test. This quick method will help you look sharp in front of your preceptors. Also, check your meds prior to admin, and verbalize the drug, dose, and exp. date. You'll look sharp, believe me. I would occasionally hand my ride along bicarb instead of dextrose, and adenosine instead of thiamine, just to keep them honest. Remember to check a quick pulse while greeting your pt, and get lung sounds/pressure prior to ALS interventions. Hope this helps.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by schang7 View Post
    is it impossible to work full-time while going to medic school?
    Anything is possible once you put your mind to it. I'm currently in my final semester (2 year course) and I'm still going strong. I have a family, work 24/48 at the Fire Station, attend my kids activities when I can, field rotations on the ambulance, etc. Several days i feel like not going but that isn't an option. I'm looking at the big picture down the road. If you want it you have to go get it.

    I wouldn't worry about each individuals negative feedback. Everyone is different! They may not have the same motivation, dedication, and drive as you do. You'll have to be the judge. Personally, I'm Loving It! I didn't know I was going to like it as much as I have. The human body is amazing! Especially the several different compensatory mechanisms.

    Good Luck! Remember you research the school and apply it to your life and see if it's possible. Don't let anyone tell you that you can't!

    Stay Safe!
    "Once You Find Something You Enjoy Doing, Then It's No Longer Work!"

    "Uncommon Valor Was A Common Virtue"-Adm. Nimitz about Marines in the Battle of Iwo Jima


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    Hey edpmedic,

    What's the box method for boluses? I may pick your brain here and there via PM's if you don't mind.

    Stay Safe!
    "Once You Find Something You Enjoy Doing, Then It's No Longer Work!"

    "Uncommon Valor Was A Common Virtue"-Adm. Nimitz about Marines in the Battle of Iwo Jima


  9. #9

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    thanks for all the kind words of encouragement....i really can't use any more vacation because i'm using 1 day a week along w/ my days off to use so i can go to the lecture days....i might be able to use my sick pay though....but i just got off the phone w/ the program coordinator and she told me that there is around 140 hours of clinicals a semester....so that doesn't sound too crazy....so i think my work schedule will work!
    thanks again.

  10. #10
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    Default Don"t Do It!

    I am currently 11 months into a 16 month program, and I work from 6a to 2:15 in a factory job 5 days a week, M - F. My program requires me to have 20 BLS patients, 20 ALS patients that I assist with, and 30 ALS patients that I team lead with. In addition for 150 hours in the ER, and sporadic hours in the CCU, CCL, Psych, Peds, OB etc.

    All I can say is, if you can help it, for the love of god DO NOT WORK FULL TIME WHILE IN MEDIC! Life sucks. Hard.

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