Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Looking forward

I am 24 years old now: a mere child among my coworkers, and an infant among my aspirations.

I graduated from Boston University in 2004 with a BA in both Psychology and Philosophy- a major chosen more out of amusement and momentary interest rather than lasting career-choice. Since then, my efforts and thoughts have rested heavily on medicine. I became an EMT-B during my Junior year at BU, convinced by my roomate Rich that it was both exciting and profitable. He was only half lying.

I have come to love the job, and with it- medicine. My aim has since been set higher towards dreams of becoming a Doctor, something I wrestle with constantly as the reality of my academic history and the contrasting demands of medical school are more sharply drawn to focus. Since my graduation from BU I have worked as an EMT in a fairly large urban city, while at the same time bumbled through a post-bacc approach to finishing pre-med science requirements.

Almost a year ago now I decided to attend paramedic school. I wanted *more* medicine. I told myself that this would truly help me decide about medical school (as I have wavered much on the subject), and that it would be fun in the process. I was frustrated as an EMT, knowing enough only to know that I knew nothing, and worse that I could usually DO nothing... made me angry and unhappy at work. Deciding to become a paramedic has refocused my interest in medicine (and medical school), as well as given me solace as to my patient care. Soon, I say. Soon I will be able to make people better.

Currently I am about to start the very last portion of paramedic school: the internship "ride time" period. Over the next month and a half I am scheduled to ride as a third on three different ambulance services, all the while behaving as an actual paramedic: performing assessments, making clinical decisions, and- finally!- treating patients based on my knowledge. Needless to say I am very excited. I have spent 10 months listening to lectures, passing through clinical rotations, and taking exam after exam after exam. Finally I get my chance to test my knowledge and understanding with real patients, in real situations. The prospect has made many of my classmates nervous, but today - still five days away from my first rotation - the excitement has yet to allow another emotion in.


I have created this blog as a means to both document my progress through this process, as well as to - I hope - provide real experience and first-hand insight into those who may be going through the same thing. I also redially admit that I have been heavily influenced by the writings of Mr. Peter Canning, a long-time paramedic who has a blog here on Blogger, has written two books about his own experiences, and also happens to work for the same ambulance service I do. I have a lot of respect for Mr. Canning both as a paramedic and as a writer. I find his words not only heavy with experience (as they are), but also saturated with an interest in the field that we dont seem to see often these days. He looks through medicine into people, a view that I believe serves him clinically, intellectually, and literally- as a writer. To you, Mr. Canning, I tip my hat sir.

Tonight I go to bed. When I wake up, four days will stand between me and my first patient as a paramedic.

8 comments:

Ross said...

Great entry! Just makes me want to start med school and get my hands dirty even more instead of putzing around in undergrad.

Anonymous said...

10 Months? You can't learn to be a paramedic in 10 months! How about 2 years of classroom time followed by 6 months of internship? Then you can wear the same patch on your shoulder that I do.

Anonymous said...

Great entry, ditto Ross. 1/7/07, Anonymous entry, you're a hater.

Kevin said...

a "hater" and an idiot. Hard to believe as it may seem, not all schools are exactly the same as the one you went to.

Ambulance Driver said...

Hey Baby Medic? You've probably figured out by now that EMS people often eat their own young. They even do stupid things like trumpet the length and breadth of their own education and belittle that of others, and then not even have the courage to sign their name.

The program that inflicted Anonymous on the streets evidently didn't teach him anything about good manners or humility.

RT/Medic said...

Welcome to the family BabyMedic I did my Medic schooling In New Haven before I moved south to become an RRT I dont know why i took anonymous 2 years of schooling and six months of internship to be a medic (slow I guess ;)) but i know alot of medic who got there medic training in 10 months who rocked he is just a hater Keep up the good work baby medic.

TS said...

What an arrogant and ignorant comment that "two-year" graduate left.

It was arrogant because he clearly thinks quite highly of himself. And it was ignorant because the length of a paramedic program most certainly does NOT correspond with skill and ability.

What this person fails to understand is that paramedic school is only a starting point. The real education happens in the field, where you will learn to make decisions involving patients and problems far more complex than any class or textbook can dream up.

I graduated from a year-long program with a six-month hospital internship. I performed my field internship in the ghettos of Brooklyn and the South Bronx. I've worked as a flight medic, and I've worked for more than two decades in one of the country's busiest EMS systems. I have an Ivy League degree, and a graduate degree, too. I teach and I've published extensively. And you know what? I'm NOT the best paramedic in America!

Some of the best paramedics I know graduated from six- or nine-month-long programs. Most of them have no college degree. Many of these people are more skilled than I am at performing certain tasks, such as EKG interpretation or the starting of IVs. Some of them think more quickly than I do. They have only a fraction of my schooling, yet they are much better paramedics than I am.

Graduation represents the beginning of your education, not the end. Paramedic school gives you a license to begin learning. But that pompous commentator doesn't seem to know anything about that.

Your other readers are right: He's a hater. Ignore him. Get out there and enjoy yourself. Observe, ask questions, learn, improve--and don't ever act like him.

Congratulations on your accomplishment.

Anonymous said...

Hey nice blog. If you ever want to practice your Spanish and have a great cultural experience, go volunteer with salvamento. org
I worked and lived with them as an EMT-B for 6 years in the 90s. since then have become a boring therapist 8( gl on Med school!