Monday, February 26, 2007


According to my certifications, the powers that be, and the paperwork: I am ready for precepting.

I met with the boss this afternoon in his office and sat while he looked over my credentials, eying expiration dates and perusing all that is necessary. I am but one detail short, something that within reason should be taken care-of over the next few days. Assuming everything goes according to plan, I should be presenting for work as a precepting paramedic early next week. My preceptor? None other than Peter Canning.

The past few weeks I have been able to busy myself with the task working and hoop-jumping that “getting ready to precept” entails. Filing forms, photocopying certifications, taking the local protocol exam. All of it, completed in record time as my excitement to put on a paramedic rocker increased. Bolstered with the confidence of first-time exam passes, and spurred onward by a drive to finish before other potential preceptees, I have forgotten to take the time to think about what I was setting myself up for. Today, with the forms filed and the “go ahead” nod only days away: I remember what it was like to be nervous.

The feeling is familiar. Walking into my first day during my internship I felt the same way: confident on paper, knots in my stomach. At least then I was less familiar with what I didn’t know. Today, with 54 internship patients under my belt and additional months of working as an “informed EMT-B,” the gap between what I am used to, and what will be expected of me seems increasingly vast. It has been easy these past few months to simply drive the ambulance and critique ALS through the rearview mirror. My paramedic partners at work have been awesome, most allowing my input into the assessment, my opinion into the decisions. Still, the work was easy. No pressure to be right, no weight on my shoulders if I was wrong. With the red-tape impeding my precepting cut, I no longer feel the comforting buffer between myself and the clinical decisions that I will have to make. Assuming everything goes to plan, next week it will be all me, and it is scary as hell.

I should do fine. I know what I need to know, I’ve studied the protocols and reviewed the details. As much as I am able to, and as far as I can tell, my brain is ready.

My knotted stomach, though, has yet to catch up.


Anonymous said...

I wish I could be that lucky! You have a published preceptor.

Dan Flanagan said...

Peter Canning is the best. Good for you!

Anonymous said...

Good luck. You'll do fine. Peter is a great preceptor. I can attest to that first hand as he precepted me when I first became a medic. You'll do well. Enjoy the experience and take advantage of all that he has to offer. You'll do fine.

james said...

How many hours is the paramedic program in your area (classroom/clinical/field) in order to get certified?