Thread: EMT certification
09-20-2000, 12:15 AM #1Probie18Firehouse.com Guest
I was just wondering if someone (or someones) could give me some insights or tips for me regarding the EMT cert. process. I'm going to start EMT classes in late October, and I don't have a real concrete idea of what to expect. Am I going to be learning how to do tracheatomies (sp) for example? Anyway, I do appreciate anything you guys can give me. One thing I know that I need to learn (not necessarily about EMT) is that I can't be Kurt Russel from....ahh, shoot, I don't even need to say the name of the movie - you guys all know it! Thanks for responding to my first post HFDPOST321! God be with all of you.
09-21-2000, 12:40 AM #2wannabe-EMTFirehouse.com Guest
If you're going through EMT-Basic, unless your state has a VERY advanced curriculum, don't expect to be doing anything "invasive." No IVs, no crics... intubation depends on the state.
The most important things to remember, outside of having BSI on (gloves, etc.) and making sure the scene is safe: *Airway.* *Breathing.* *Circulation.* *Severe bleeding.* Those will be part of your initial assessment. If there's no airway, it won't matter if they're breathing or not because the air can't get through. If they're breathing but pulseless, it won't help because there's no way to circulate the oxygen the patient's taking in. And if they're bleeding out, circulating that oxygen-rich blood into a pool on the floor certainly won't help the patient. Take care of those problems FIRST, then worry about the other stuff.
Other stuff being things like taking a SAMPLE history (always a good starting point), C-spine protection (HIGH priority if it's indicated), stabalizing and splinting fractures, dressing smaller wounds, extricating a patient from a car, etc. Depending on what your state teaches, I'm sure it will vary slightly. But expect to learn about simple meds like oxygen, glucose, activated charcoal, and ipecac and how to administer them. Maybe learn about assisting a patient with nitroglycerin. Learn how to splint and pull traction on a femur fracture or splint a bent elbow...
I could go on and on. Right now, don't get caught up in what will happen later on down the road. Take it one session and one topic at a time. It works up to the harder stuff. Don't fret over what you don't have to.
Remember that everything starts with a good BASIC life support foundation. ADVANCED life support, with tons of meds and fancy equipment, would do little good if there was no BLS to keep the patient alive until ALS arrived. Do your job. Do it humbly. (Although certain calls warrant a high-five.) Know your limits. Know your strengths. Know your weaknesses. Know when you need help, and know when you need to talk to someone. There are bound to be some things at some point in your EMS career that will rattle you. Talk about them. No man is an island. Don't let things build up and up and up until it's impossible to cope. Don't be deterred from this field, either. It may seem daunting, you may run into difficulties. I didn't make it through my state final the first time around. I could have quit. I wanted to. But I got back up, did it again, and with PRIDE. Value the education and experiences you get out of the class. It's worth a heck of a lot more than any plastic card a state EMS agency can give you. Remember to practice, practice, practice. Remember to treat people like people. They're not a sack of potatos having chest pains. They're someone's relative. Mother, father, aunt, uncle, daughter, son, wife or husband. Treat them like one. Show compassion. They're often looking to YOU for support in trying times. But don't get too caught up. To quote my Firefighter I instructor, "It's your job, not your emergency." Know when you're getting too attached. Don't get drawn in too far. It's hard to tell where too far, is, though. And it's probably one of those things we'll all spend quite a while figuring out for ourselves. Which is the note I'll end on. There's a lot we have to figure out for ourselves in this field.
After 131 or so hours, we receive a little plastic card that says, essentially, "So-and-so knows what he's doing, in a basic sense." But to paraphrase my instructor, that card doesn't make you an EMT, it just lets you go learn how to be one. (And with everything associated with being an EMT - and being a person - I *know* that *I'm* far from figuring it out.)
So. Being thoroughly tired and having only the vaguest sense of what I just wrote, I will shut up (rejoice, people!) and leave you to ponder it all. Email me with any questions you may have, I'll be glad to answer them. (And I promise I'll limit my philosophical babbling.)
And remember... ALWAYS WEAR SUNSCREEN!
Or something like that.
- Greg, EMT-B
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