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EMT training

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FluffyFluffers

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I'm planning on takeing emt training classes this year and next.(Getting certified as a basic or intermediate EMT)

I was wondering if anyone on this forum was an EMT or has taken those classes?
What's it like?
How hard is?
Is the job's difficulties worth the pay?
What have you had to do on the job?
 

closet dl

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I'm planning on takeing emt training classes this year and next.(Getting certified as a basic or intermediate EMT)

I was wondering if anyone on this forum was an EMT or has taken those classes?
What's it like?
How hard is?
Is the job's difficulties worth the pay?
What have you had to do on the job?
I was a volunteer EMT in West Texas, and am now a nurse. Being an EMT can be fun, frustrating, exciting, and a whole lot of other things. The type of things you do depends on where you work and the type of squad to which you are assigned.

The job can be both physically and mentally difficult. Much of it gets better with practice. The hours can be very long, though.

Pay is low. This is due to many factors, including the fact that many cities would rather depend on volunteers (which are free, or at least cheaper) than paid EMS services.

The other difficulty is that many others in the health care field do not view EMT's as "professionals", though many EMT's have as much, if not more, education as others in health care. Be prepared for this perception.

As far as the things I did as an EMT, there were many memorable experiences, and I would be remiss if I listed only a few. Let's just say my experiences drove me to pursue my Master's in Nursing.

I would recommend getting a few copies of the Journal of Emergency Medical Services (JEMS) and looking them over to get a feel for the profession. These should be available at large libraries, particularly academic libraries, or perhaps at your local fire station/EMS facility. You may also subscribe, which you should certainly do if you pursue this career.

Good luck, and let me know if you need anything!
 

briefboy

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I'm an EMT-B student right now. So far it's not too difficult as we've only gone through assessment (basic, rapid trauma, etc.), basic airway management, CPR, basic human anatomy and a whole lot of legal stuff. I really love going to class everyday and from what I've heard from some paramedics I've talked to, it's one of the best jobs in the world; I can almost guarantee that you'll love it once you start. Just remember, you'll be dealing with people when they're at their worst and you'll see a lot of things that most people don't want to see, so be prepared for that.

The pay isn't great, even as an EMT-P unless you're lucky enough to get on with a hospital based service (at least here), if you really want to be the best of the best, shoot for being a flight medic on the helicopters, those guys really know their stuff and make pretty good money.

I don't know how it is in Louisiana, but here in Oregon you've got to have at least 24 hours of ride-a-longs with an ambulance, and 32 clinical hours in the ER. I have my first ER shift this Friday 2200-800, I'm so excited.:D
 

Martin

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I am not an EMT myself but I've worked with EMTs and on the beach we're a first response (even before the EMTs). One thing you have to keep in mind is can you mentally handle it? You won't truly know until you face it but you're putting yourself in a position where you'll be seeing some very awful stuff which can be very hard to deal with for some people. Take a moment to think about that before you sign up for this. One very positive thing is that every day is different and it's challenging (at least that's what I've been told and know from my side of the story)

It can be a dreamjob or pure hell depending on how you can deal with it and you love the changes and challenges. Either way it'll be a job that asks a lot from you, physically and mentally.

Good luck whatever you chose.
 
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Butterfly Mage

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My sister was an EMT before she became a meth junkie.
 

closet dl

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My sister was an EMT before she became a meth junkie.
Reminds me of a conversation I overheard recently in a patient's room:

Social worker - "Do you have a brother that lives in (unnamed town)?"

Patient - "Yes, I do."

Social worker - "Oh, I think I know him. Does he do antiques there?"

Patient (quite seriously)- "No, he does drugs."

BTW, the patient was there for an overdose. Butterfly, sorry to hear about your sister.
 

Charlie

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This may be purely a British problem, but when I think 'paramedic' (assuming EMT are paramedics? I've never heard of it before) I think 'dealing with pissed idiots at 3:00 am on a Saturday'.
If you live somewhere where people drink at bars/clubs and then smash each other up, consider if you'd comfortable dealing with drunk or drugged-up people. I image that's the harder part of the job, and the most depressing.
 

dprdinky

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I would say EMT's are an honorable profession that doesn't get the credit or pay they deserve. It can be very fulfilling and possibly lead to other long term career opportunities if EMT is not what you want to do with the rest of your life.
 
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I think Martin said it accurately, in that you've got to be prepared for whatever you may face. Not an EMT myself, but I've done some first-aid training (incl. CPR). My training was about 30 minute practical and about 6 hours of sitting around watching a slide-show, and even that was enough to make me hope I didn't have to put my skills into action.

Good luck with it though! It's certainly an admirable profession.
 

briefboy

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Charlie, I don't know if it's the same there but here there's basically 4 levels of pre-hospital care: first responder, EMT-Basic, EMT-Intermediate, and EMT-Paramedic; so Paramedics are EMT's.

Not to deter you or anything, and I'm sure you already know this but, it's not like you see on TV. You're not always out there saving lives and a lot of the time (depending on where you word) you're doing transport calls; but know this, it doesn't matter what kind of call it is, you're still making a difference in somebody's life, that's the reason I got into it.
 

thedlguy

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Well I'm and EMT and been one for almost 12 years. I love it, but there are times when the stress of the job and get to you. Its hard sometimes balancing your life to meet the needs of the service and your full time job. I work for a service that is paid-on-call so the pay in minimal.

I'm glad I became an EMT and never want to give it up. Just remember that being an EMT is a HUGE time commitment (not just the inital training but maintaining your license). I know there are times the stress of the job gets to me but I have my own ways of dealing with it. This is not something for everyone but if you really want to do it go for it and have fun...
 

Charlie

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Good luck with it though! It's certainly an admirable profession.
I'll second that!

It's definitely a job I respect, given the amount of stress there is, as well as the fact that it's saving lives. :worshippy:
 

Martin

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I think Martin said it accurately, in that you've got to be prepared for whatever you may face. Not an EMT myself, but I've done some first-aid training (incl. CPR). My training was about 30 minute practical and about 6 hours of sitting around watching a slide-show, and even that was enough to make me hope I didn't have to put my skills into action.

Good luck with it though! It's certainly an admirable profession.
If that already got to you you really don't want to be doing such kind of stuff. Even though they show bad stuff, there is worse and seeing it in real life rather then on a picture makes a hell of a difference.
 

bdb2004

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Kinda dragging this topic up again, but it has only been a week..
Anyways, just wanted to mention that in a lot of hospitals EMT's also work tech shifts in the Emergency Department, so there are options to pick up extra hours outside of ambulance work.

While I have never been an EMT, I have done a number of ride-alongs as a med student and I always enjoyed it, and EMT's are a vital part of patient care, without them we will not have nearly as good emergency care as we do today. As far as the training goes, the paramedics I have ridden with have said that there are substantial differences the training, levels of accreditation and scope of care that EMT's or Paramedics can provide depending on the state and even the medical director of the system you are working in, so it is probably best to check that out on a case by case basis.

And with the legal stuff... you will learn to LOVE HIPPA and EMTALA... and there is just a tiny bit of sarcasm there...;)
I have my first ER shift this Friday 2200-800, I'm so excited.
And off topic, I hope you enjoyed your first ED shift... always a fun place to work (then again I am biased) and overnights always have the best nurses/secretaries/techs/etc, and some of the more... interesting... patients...
 
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I was an EMT for awhile and loved the work. It's always new on the ambulance or in the ED, but the pay just isn't there for a basic or intermediate. It's sad that I'm now doing simple contracting work and getting paid over twice as much as I was when I was working as an EMT.
 

briefboy

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Kinda dragging this topic up again, but it has only been a week..
Anyways, just wanted to mention that in a lot of hospitals EMT's also work tech shifts in the Emergency Department, so there are options to pick up extra hours outside of ambulance work.

While I have never been an EMT, I have done a number of ride-alongs as a med student and I always enjoyed it, and EMT's are a vital part of patient care, without them we will not have nearly as good emergency care as we do today. As far as the training goes, the paramedics I have ridden with have said that there are substantial differences the training, levels of accreditation and scope of care that EMT's or Paramedics can provide depending on the state and even the medical director of the system you are working in, so it is probably best to check that out on a case by case basis.

And with the legal stuff... you will learn to LOVE HIPPA and EMTALA... and there is just a tiny bit of sarcasm there...;)


And off topic, I hope you enjoyed your first ED shift... always a fun place to work (then again I am biased) and overnights always have the best nurses/secretaries/techs/etc, and some of the more... interesting... patients...
Eh, it was actually pretty slow, but you are right, the nurses/techs/doctors/etc. were all pretty cool.

As far as the differences between the skills that a Basic and a Paramedic have, they're huge. Basics are pretty much First Responders with some advanced airway skills (combitubes) and we can administer a couple of medications (nitro w/med direction, oral glucose, epi, O2, etc.). Paramedics can do IV's, have even more advanced airways skills (ET tubes), can use the manual defibrillator, can administer a lot more medications, and do a few other things I can't remember.

I was planning to be an ER tech this summer after I get my Basic, then within the next couple of years I should be a Paramedic and be done with my Firefighter 1 so I can make some pretty good money (if I can get on at a dept. that is).
 
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kitty0230

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I haven't done the training yet, but I am going to in June, and my town is all volunteer, so there is no pay, other than the thought that you helped someone.
 
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