Qoute from The EMT Spot

"There is a patient out there who is on a collision course with your skills. They don't know you yet. You've never met them either. They have no idea that they are going to meet you in the future, but the day they do, they will test you." From The EMT Spot

Friday, February 18, 2011

Good Bye Everybody

I have been struggling with the skills portion of the paramedic class and it has come to the point where I have failed ACLS and have now been dropped from the program. So, it is with regret that I post what will be the final post to this blog and thank everyone who has stopped by and read the blog and shared this experience with me.

Thanks For Sharing The Journey!


PS: I may find another area to blog about in EMS, but not right away.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

First Week Of Clinicals

I have finished my first week of clinicals with what can only be described as mixed results. I spent two days in same day surgery and only have four IV sticks to show for it. I have no one but myself to blame for that and it is due to a lack of confidence in my own abilities.  The first day was observation only and on the second day I was supposed to perform the IV sticks.  This is going to be a big challenge for me to overcome and right now I don't know how I am going to overcome this issue in my training. This is a make it or break it problem for me because if I don't learn to have confidence in my abilities how will my patients or the EMT's that I intercept with have any? I did get four sticks on "real" patients and might have gotten quite a few more but a friend of mine put it best when he said; "A paramedic that hangs back doesn't work real well."
I have to remind myself that it was a major victory to have accomplished that much because for many years I refused to even consider being a paramedic because I wouldn't even consider trying to master the skills necessary to become a paramedic, I just didn't believe I could do it. That is one of the reasons I love my wife, she has taught me to believe in myself much more than I ever could before. She isn't the only one of course, my instructors have said more than once that I have the skills and need to develop the confidence in myself.
Today I spent some time with the EKG technicians and learned the hospitals procedures and operation of the 12 lead machine used in the hospital, it was a much less stressful day then the two previous and I enjoyed the slower pace and I was much more comfortable with doing EKG's because you don't cause the patient pain when you do them. I hate seeing a look of pain on someone's face and know I am causing it; but I also know that the only way to learn to do IV's is to do IV's, you have to stick people with needles in order to learn how to do it quickly, safely and as painlessly as possible, I have to get my head around this idea and begin to act in a more confident way. So that was my first week of clinicals, I survived and will forge ahead and hopefully come out of this the kind of paramedic that that I want to be and keep learning about both myself and my profession.

Monday, January 17, 2011

St Marie's Will Help Me to Be A Better Paramedic

I recently took a weekend trip to New Hampshire and found something out about being a paramedic I didn't expect and it came from an unlikely source. My wife has always talked about how pretty the church is by where my stepdaughter lives and I finally got a chance to see the church for myself. It was everything she said it was and more, it is an old church built in the 1890's and has been very well maintained. The sermon was rather good and the priest talked about humility and how Christ did allowed himself to be baptized because his Father willed it. The priest then asked an interesting question; "What areas of your life require you to do things that you think are unnecessary so you find doing them difficult? If Christ can humble himself to be baptized, can you humble yourself to do whatever it is in your life? I then began to think about how to apply this to myself and immediately began to think about medic class and came to some conclusions. I have come to the realization that in many ways I am not the kind of student I should be, I am impatient and not always willing to do the work necessary to be the kind of paramedic that I want to be. That is my biggest struggle right now, not wanting to take the small steps now so that bigger steps can be safer later. My last few posts have been about how the class has frustrated me because I have been tripped up by seemingly small things that shouldn't matter once I am out of class and my attitude has gotten adjusted by realizing that I am human and need to learn all the steps before I can learn which parts don't apply to a given situation.
In other words paramedic class is teaching me humility! We have started cardiology again and it is just as much of a struggle but now it is a much different struggle in that I am trying to learn the material and recognize my own failings and improve on them instead of blaming the material or the instructor. Now I ask you, how many medics are better medics because they stopped by an old church??

Monday, January 3, 2011

Entering Clinicals

I was cleared to begin clinicals today and find myself both excited and nervous about functioning in a new role, that of somewhat trained paramedic. (note the use of a small p) I find myself at the point where I have to carefully follow the skill sheets and protocols, this is a new experience for me because I had become very accustomed to taking shortcuts and skipping steps because I knew what I was doing as an EMT. I assumed that because I was a competent EMT, I would then become a competent paramedic. It doesn't work that way. I find myself struggling with going back to rigid adherence to skill sheets and protocols, I don't like it but find that I have to take a step backward in order to take many more steps forward.
I find myself chuckling at the last post I wrote to this blog because I find after reading the comment that was posted and the article it referred to that my feelings were more of not realizing that I had to drop back to the novice class and swallow my pride, but thanks to The EMT Spot, I at least now have a better understanding of what is occurring.
The skills are becoming easier but up until now have been either practiced on mannakins or my classmates so the stress level was much lower than it will be with the real patients in the clinical site. I asked you to note the small p remember? When I look at how far I have come it seems like such a short distance when compared to how far I still have to go but the distance is being eaten at an incredible rate. I look forward to the day that I am sure enough of both my skills and my knowledge so that I can call myself a Paramedic and not a Student Paramedic; but realize that in some ways that day will come soon, in other ways it feels like it may take much longer that it seems today.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Some Questions about EMS Education and Protocols

I find myself shaking my head over a post over at Rogue Medic, he is talking about two separate but important situations, one being bad or poorly written protocols and the second is how one deals with those protocols. I will take what he has written in a different but related direction. Does forcing the paramedic/EMT student to slavishly follow skill sheets and failing them because they didn't say "Scene Safety and BSI" before doing anything to the patient really doing anything for patient care? Does anyone actually do that in the field? EMS training needs to be much more realistic and get away from rote memorization of NREMT Skill Sheets. I have nothing against the NREMT and understand that testing standards are needed but question the way the many of the courses I have seen or observed/taken seem to spend much more time on manual skills than on thought process. I have also trained a few new EMT's and found more than one of them wide eyed in fear because "It was never like this in class!"
I also have to say a few words about the program I am in at this point, it is taught by street paramedics and their instruction shows it. They emphasize that we need to learn the protocols but love to bring in real life situations that don't fit the nice carefully laid out skill sheets and or protocols and how they dealt with it when it happened to them. This post is not meant as any kind of complaint about the program I am currently enrolled in and should not be taken as such. I am very pleased with American Professional Education Services and would recommend them to anyone without hesitation. Forgive the commercial but I felt I needed to state that to be fair to them.
It would not be fair to anyone if I simply complained and didn't offer a solution but must be truthful the idea is not totally mine, both my instructors and many of the other bloggers such as Rogue Medic have said similar things. I find that teaching people to think is much more important than teaching them what to think, many of the best EMT's/Paramedics I know are good because they are always thinking and how why they do things rather than just that they should do them because that is what they were taught to do in that situation. I realize that some discussion of medical direction and how it effects education would be appropriate here but will also admit that my current level of exprience in providing Paramedic level care would render my thoughts both unimportant and ill informed and possibly misleading. In closing I would say that there needs to be much more teaching about why something is done instead just telling people to do it because protocol says to do it. EMS providers need to be trained to think and decide what is needed rather than what the rules are in a certain situation because the more rules that have to be followed are created the less thinking allowed and that can't really be better for the patient but I bet we should be focusing on the patient and what we think they need in addition to what protocol says is needed to treat the patient

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Top Fifty List

I am happy to report that the Student Paramedic blog has been named to a top fifty list by another blog. The Paramedic to RN blog has named Student Paramedic to their list. This was an unexpected Christmas gift and you can read the whole list here. I appreciate the feedback and hope to improve as a blogger in the months ahead.


Friday, December 10, 2010

Paradigm Shift

I am now at the end of the first trimester in the paramedic course for the second time around and noticed something a few days ago that deserves to be blogged about. I am now required to do a twelve hour shift each month as an observer on a paramedic level ambulance. I noticed during my last shift that rather than being scared that I would someday have to do this stuff myself I was itching for the opportunity to try and do some of this stuff myself. This is a major shift in my thinking and I have no doubt that my instructors have caused this change to occur, they have done an excellent job of giving me the information and skills needed and have given me the confidence that I can do the things they have taught me. The medic on that call was my course coordinator for the class the first time through so I am sure that was also part of the change as well. He took quite a bit of time out of the day to go over important points and pull the material out of the classroom and apply it to the calls.
Class is going well and I am benefitting from hearing the information over again and having a much greater understanding of how everything interacts in the body and its systems. It is a huge amount of information and the repetition has been a real plus for me. I am sure that having to go through the information for a second time and being much more familar with the material has also had an effect but also have to say that input from my instructors has also changed how I approach the material. This time through they seem to be taking the time to correct my mindset and not just throw the material to me. They are training me how to catch the material as well, I am sure they did the first time I just didn't notice.