Thursday, March 27, 2008

Medic School and Clinicals. A Journey Into Hell.

Greetings all, sorry I haven't posted in awhile. I have been crazy busy. I promise I will be more attentive to this blog as soon as school is over. 10 weeks, 2 days and about 6 hours from now.

Let me start by saying the "school" part of paramedic education is not bad at all. If you have been in the field for any length of time you already have a pretty good idea of whats going on, you just need to learn to do it the "right" way. Or rather, the way that National Registry wants you to do it. If you apply yourself and read your subject matter the course work is really not that difficult.

With that said, clinicals are a bitch. It's not the skills that bother me or even the fact that in the hospital your working out of your element. It's the hours required or number of skills performed. I know some college educated idiot and all his buddies sat down and decided this is what is best for me, but I don't agree. I work between 50 and 90 hours a week. I use my skills on a daily basis and I work with a paramedic. I get absolutely NO CREDIT for this. In order for a clinical hour to count I have to be the 3rd person on the unit and supervised by a preceptor (never mind the fact that my partner is a preceptor). Lord willing, I'll pass my National Registry and then I'm going to start lobbying to do something about it.

Thats right, you all have never known me to be quiet about anything. I think I'll start with a letter to the State and then work my way up to the Feds. There has got to be something we can do for all the students that already have a vast amount of experience in their field. Some sort of testing procedure to PROVE the skills are mastered and can be grandfathered.

Let me give you a little example. I'm an advanced EMT, have been for a good many years, and I'm required to have X amount (whatever the program requires) of I.V. starts for my paramedic education. Oh please! I can start an I.V. in my sleep. I think it's utterly absurd that I have to be tested on something that I have mastered, and PROVED when I took my National Registry for Intermediate. We have got to stand together and call this "Bull-Shit". Don't bitch to your instructors, it's not their fault. They are only following guidelines that are set for them by the Governing State you are in. We need to start at the top and scream that this is shit. Politically of course... You wont get far calling your State EMS Department and using words like "shit". They will most likely just re-educate you to what a dial tone sounds like.

It's been nuts since last May. It started with A&P and then we got August off and medic school started in September. Here we are at the tail end of March and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I still have a considerable amount of clinical hours to complete, but I think I have it worked out so Satan only gets 1/2 of my soul.

I'm still a station officer and I feel bad about all the things I'm NOT doing there because I have to study or go to school. I'll get back on track as soon as school is over.

That seems to be the underlying theme with medic school. You are constantly making promises to fix things that you broke during school. I need to eventually find another girl-friend, I went through a messy break-up last July. Medic school wasn't the only reason, but it helped I'm sure. I need to be a better friend, I have lost touch with some really close friends because of school. And lastly but the most important to me. I need to be a full-time daddy again. My boys have suffered the worst of this and I'm tired of sacrificing time with them.

There will be points in your medic education where you just want to throw the book into a burn barrel and say "to hell it it". Don't do it. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and work on one issue at a time. If you look at the entire paramedic education picture it's easy to be overwhelmed. Focus on one aspect of it and complete that. Continue doing that until you have it sorted out enough that you can step back and look at your progress.

About a month ago I had enough. I was so close to calling it quits. That night at school the instructor called me into her office for our evaluations and said that based on my test scores she didn't think I would have any trouble with the final exam or the National Registry exam. She told me to keep it up, and then she reminded me I was horribly behind on my clinical hours. Well, I felt better and worse at the same time. Then the next day I went to surgery and managed to complete my clinical requirements there. I felt better and the worst of it was behind me. Push on.... Push on!

We'll chat soon I'm sure, but until then. Do what you do, love what you do and never let anyone call you a fucking "Ambulance Driver".