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  1. #1
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    Default EMT-B to Paramedic (no experience)

    I tried searching the forums for some opinions but couldn't really find any. There is a paramedic program starting at my local community college this fall (2010). I am planning on taking anatomy and physiology 1 this summer and enrolling in A&P 2 concurrently with the first semester of paramedic school. I have two questions which I know don't have right or wrong answers, but want some opinions from people who have been through medic school.

    1. Is being in A&P 2 during the first semester of medic school a good idea or could it be too much of a work load?

    2. I am a EMT-B but have not worked in the field. Ideally I would get some experience as a basic before medic school, but if I don't start medic school this fall it wont be offered at my community college for at least 2 years. So my question is is it a good idea to enter paramedic school with no EMT-B experience? Are the clinical and ride time for medic school enough for an inexperienced person to be competent after medic school? There is one other CC that has a medic program that will probably be offered fall 2011, so I was considering just getting my A&P out of the way and trying to find a volunteer service to get experience and start fall 2011. Part of me just wants to get medic school done so I can continue looking for FF and/or EMS jobs, but I don't want to set myself up for failure.

    Thanks


  2. #2
    Forum Member FirstDue52's Avatar
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    I had one year of EMT experience on a slow engine before I started my medic school (couple years of first responder). My final is coming up and I am ranked higher than guys that have worked on boxes before. It would help if you had experience so you can relate to what your learning. Start doing some ride-a-longs with the local ambulance/fire company. I wouldn't advise taking your A&P during school. Not sure how your program is set up, but we had a A&P section of our class. It will help alot that you have already taken a A&P class.

  3. #3
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    A&P alone is usually a lot of work for most people. Add in the Medic classes and it will be a tough load. Are you working? Do you have a family? Are you a good student? What I'm trying to illustrate is that it is a HUGE commitment and will require a lot of studying. Remember that all these things require a portion of your day so make sure you're not setting yourself up for failure.

    I would strongly advise getting some EMT experience before medic school. Although some have gone to medic school with little EMT experience and gone on to become good medics, it usually helps to have a solid background as an EMT. As an EMT, you'll often assist medics and learn a lot about what goes into their job. Imagine being a new medic and in charge of a traumatic cardiac arrest and YOU must provide/direct the ALS care. Might be a little overwhelming. After working a few of these as an EMT, you'll get a feel for what needs to be done and it will make your life easier as a medic.

    My suggestions in summary: 1. Take your A&P 1 and 2 now. 2. Work or volunteer as an EMT-B to get experience. 3. Go to medic school in a year or two.

    Keep looking for FF jobs. Most depts in the Midwest will send you through their own academy and train you as a FF/EMT regardless of your background. Get out now and start applying. Plus, if you get hired now, hopefully the dept will pay for medic school (and pay you while you're in school too).

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    I agree with zzyyzx, you should get experience in the field. But, I would also include is trying to work at a hospital's Emergency Dept. This is what I do. I've been working in the ER for 5 years and switch to per dium (part time) and work at a volunteer ambulance company. I do this to get on the field training and skills. The ER gives you lots of experience; I.V's, blood draws, splinting, EKG, patient care, triage, etc. and on the ambulance I get to do PCR's (patient care reports) and vital signs while the truck is moving, handling stretchers (eventhough its not really difficult, but there's lots of people who don't know how to properly use the stretcher), patient contact, etc.
    Medic school is difficult so I've been told. Expensive and time consuming. Don't get me wrong if I had the money I would go, but I'm broke. My pre-requist is Survey of the Human Body, or A&P 1, 2 but A&P is if you want to get an EMS degree. Its up to you if you want to do that, but check your college and find out what is the pre-req to get in.
    Again, do some ride time, get hired on an ambulance company or ER get your hands on using your skills. Good Luck

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    I would also look into the paramedic program. I know for the one that I am in right now, you needed at least 50 pt. contacts before you would be considered into the program. I would check out what is a prerequisite for hours/pt's/experience. I came into medic school as a fresh emt-b. I know that my college offered a BLS internship and ambulance operation class to get those 50 pt contacts before the start of medic school. As for A&P2.... it can be done. If the college thought it was too hard to do both at the same time they would have made it a prerequisite. It will require a lot of hard work, but if you’re willing to do the work you’ll be just fine. Best of luck to you.

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    Default two cents

    Well from a paramedic preceptors point of view here's my two cents. First I'd say take A&P before you start medic school, it's pretty intense but it'll make medic school much easier. Second of all, I'm not sure how much medic school costs out there but out here it generally ends up being about 10k after books, uniforms etc. As far as skipping any field experience I would highly recommend against it. You may be the top of the class as far as classroom time goes but it really doesn't matter if you can't apply it to the field. Your internship will be a minimum of 20 and up to 30 (24hr) shifts. That's a relatively short time to be able to apply all that you have just learned and without EMT experience you now not only have to learn how to be a medic but you pretty much are just now learning BLS EMT stuff too. Trust me, your preceptors won't be happy if THEY have to show YOU how to correctly apply a Hare traction splint when you're the one that is supposed to be in charge of your scene. In short, I always tell EMT students that without field experience they are really setting themselves up for failure. So instead, take your A&P course, get some field experience, ask the medics all you can and try to learn from them. Then go to medic school, and do it right the first time. You'll be much less stressed out and about 8k richer from not having to go through more than once. Best of luck!

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    I am currently in Medic school right now and I can straight from being in EMT-Basic school. No experience but I would recommend taking an A&P class before. I went straight into medic school from EMT because the opportunity came up and I could not pass it up. As for the experience, experience would help, but with all the clinical hours you have during medic school, it is def. a lot of experience you will get. Plus, stations and hospitals help you out a lot if you do the little things for them. My advice is if you can get into medic school, do it because who knows when you will get the chance to get into it again. Good Luck.

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    If the opportunity presents itself, and youre comfortable with the material, then jump on it. If youre unsure, nab a job doing BLS and spend 6 months in the field while you wait for the next semester to start.

    Either way, youll be in a medic program in no time- 6 months is nothing, and on your way. It depends on what youre ready for and what works best for you.
    To Persist is to Conquer.

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    I have learned of plenty of people going from zero to hero (EMT-B to Paramedic) without any field experience. I have also worked with paramedics who did not have any field experience before going to paramedic school. Overall, I would say they are the weakest medics out there. It has nothing to do with their didactic knowledge, they can recite drug dosages and even have a good understanding of pathophysiology. The problem is they have no idea what sick people look like. The only way you get to learn this skill is by having experience and actually seeing and recognizing sick people. I would say most of these medics also lack the essential skills like being able to relate to people and being able to get a good solid patient history. They seem to be so caught up in trying to understand the paramedic job of things and lose focus that the majority of calls are BLS and supportive care. By the time you go to medic school BLS should be second nature and an after thought.

    As far as going to A&P class and trying to go to medic class I would argue against. I am in the last 2 months of class now, (My program was 6 months) I can't imagine doing the both at the same time. You should have a good working fundamental knowledge of A&P before going to medic school. This will make medic school a whole lot easier. Just my 2 cents, best of luck to you. If you are wondering I was an EMT for 7 years before going to P-School.

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    Thanks for the responses. I plan to do as much ride time as I can before the program starts this fall and during the program. I just enrolled in A&P 1 for the summer. The A&P 2 will be during the first semester of the paramedic program and after that I will only have paramedic classes. I would prefer to take A&P 1 and 2 before doing any paramedic but its really hard to pass up the opportunity to start the paramedic program knowing another one at my local community college wont be for a couple years. I will have a whole summer off of school between the 2nd and 3rd semester of medic school so I could get volunteer EMS hours then so that helps a little. I have some thinking to do I guess. I don't want to pass up the medic school opportunity but I also want to be a strong medic. I did get a 4 year degree so I know what its like to be in school and have to study. However, I was a forestry major so I am thinking paramedic school will be more difficult especially having A&P 2 during that 1st semester, but I think I should be able to manage it.

  11. #11
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    So take the course, get the card, work BLS until you and your agency are comfortable with the idea of you doing ALS, and when its time to assume the responsibilities involved, youve got the medic card in your pocket for immediate use.
    To Persist is to Conquer.

  12. #12
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    I just finished up year 1 of a 2 year program. I had my EMT-B and 1 summer of experience. I did not have A&P but am currently enrolled in it this summer - its actually a 4 month class (4 hours a week) called A&P for Prehospital Care Providers which focuses on only the pertinent A&P for which we will encounter.

    Having A&P will absolutely help you out, especially on pulmonary/cardiac functioning and pharmacology. I passed pharmacology with an A, but i did a crap ton of studying and latched on to my preceptors *** like there was no tomorrow. I lucked out and had tons of great people helping me out.

    I would have to disagree with saying that you need experience prior to going to medic school (assuming you're talking about a 2 year program - any shorter than this and it may in fact be too overwhelming). Our program actually has EMT-B as a 1st year course. Dont get me wrong, experience doesnt hurt and can only make you more comfortable in making the jump to paramedic, but i do not believe it essential. In my program, we have to complete not only 7 hours of class per week, but also 135 hours per semester of clinical time which is divided up between riding with preceptors in the field, intubating in the operating room, tailing a Nurse in the ER, tailing a Doctor in the ER, going to the catheter lab, tailing a respiratory therapist, etc. You get SLAMMED with experience for 2 years straight. Someone in a previous post said that when you dont have previous experience, you "dont know what sick people look like". Well, when you're tailing an ER nurse for 40 hours a semester you see a LOT of VERY SICK people. In one 8 hour shift in the ER, you will see 10x more patients than you would in the same time on an ambulance so you start understaning sick/not yet sick/ not sick very quickly.

    I would also say that even with previous EMT experience, you're still going to graduate the program being book smart and street dumb in regards to paramedicine. Ride as an EMT for 2-3 years and you're still gonna be green under the gills at starting IVs, intubating, chest decompressions, calculating drugs, etc. Most EMT-B training teaches you WHAT to do, while EMT-P training teaches you WHY you're doing it - completely different mindset.

    It will become very evident very quickly as to whether you have what it takes to make it. We started with 19 in our class and after the 1st year, we are down to 7. Out of those 7, there are only 3 that had more than 1 year of experience before they started. The drop-outs/fail-outs were 50/50 people with and without previous experience. I personally believe that it comes down to your motivation level. If you really want it, you can do it. I have a full-time job and 3 kids and I am still doing excellent. Dont put it off any longer out of fear of screwing up. Get the P card and if you're not comfortable by the time you get it, THEN get your experience as an EMT or as a volunteer medic. Ride with another more experienced medic and practice your skills. Plus, most jurisdictions arent going to cut you loose to be the lead unless they're 100% comfortable with your skills. Life's short - dont fear failure.
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