And so it begins

Look at that, I survived the first week of Paramedic school – cue rowdy crowd and applause – we’ll save the spontaneous throwing of money for graduation k?

I’ll be the first to admit, there were a few semi sleepless nights before school started. I know its school – a continued journey down the path towards career satisfaction and bettering myself; why so anxious about it right? The lead up to school was filled with every possible scenario of how that first night would play out – I ran the gamut from syllabus night to the first day of Marine Corps boot camp and every scenario in between. The reality of the first night was much closer to syllabus salad with boot camp dressing.

There was a heaping helping of: this is who we are and here’s what we do lettuce; a few here are some of the really “cool” things about our program tomatoes, and a smattering of the crunchy inflexible these are the minimum requirements  to graduate croutons.

The boot camp dressing? That came in the power point slide that detailed the expectations of the student – there in glowing white letters on the blue backdrop – expectation number 1 – Eat, sleep, live, breath the program. Expectation number two – tell your family you will see them in a year and tell your entire network of friends good bye.

I wasn’t surprised to find either of those in our expectations… however I was stunned that they said it – out loud even.

I almost forgot the baco-bits – they told us all to expect that this would be the single most difficult undertaking any of us had ever attempted.  I had a little trouble swallowing that particular garnishment (you ever get one of those baco-bits that clings to the back of your throat a little?)

Speaking only for myself, (and granted I’ve lived twice as long as most of my classmates) I went to Marine Corps boot camp at Parris Island (no offense intended to my Hollywood Marine brethren), I chose to walk away from owning a successful construction company to come back to EMS (picking just two events off the top of my head from my 41 years of walking the Earth…), there was no way P-school would be as difficult to get thru as either of those challenges – We’ll see if I still say that a year from now.

I am very much a “don’t blow smoke up my ass” kinda guy and I appreciate the “brutal” honesty. So I was thankful for the no BS approach.

Other surprises during the first week was the revelation that the program and staff would be equally committed to us students – 24 hours a day- 7 days a week – if we need help, a shoulder to cry on, even advice on how to deal with a “significant other” at 3 am. The Chief of the program even told a story about playing marriage counselor on more than one occasion – sitting down with both the student and his wife and helping them thru a rough patch brought on by the demands of the program.  A sense of dedication? Not wanting “their numbers” messed up? It’s hard to say at this point, but I do appreciate that they conveyed the fact that we as students, and our success in the program matter to them.

Other “highlights” of the first week – 7 years in a row every single student that has taken the NR exam has passed both practical and written on their first try. The DOT minimum requirements for like tubes and med administration etc will all be totally shattered and FAR surpassed in the course of our 500 hours and hospital rotations (I haven’t heard what the actual number of hours of those are yet).

The thing that was revealed that I appreciated the most? It SOUNDS like they train their students to actually think – We were told that ANY intervention we want to perform on a patient from the seemingly innocuous administration of oxygen to a stroke patient to epi to an arrest victim – we will be asked to justify BEFORE performing it – asked why we want to do that and what the benefit to the patient will be… Wait – did they just say we have to THINK not just memorize?!? HALLELUJAH!!!

Actually having to understand how what we do affects the body, understanding the physiology behind our interventions, the mechanism of action of our treatments?  Not just becoming a “cook book” medic?!?

I doubt “Rogue Medic” reads my humble peckings here – but I follow his blog religiously and he’s a HUGE advocate of what does the patient need – not what does the protocol book say they need.

It sounds like maybe, at least at my program, they get you Rogue and they are listening.


3 responses to “And so it begins

  1. Pingback: The Pride Defense | Hot Lights and Cold Steel

  2. I am entering my last semester of Medic School, and I remember EVERYTHING you just said because they said pretty much the exact same thing to me. And its true. Between work and School and Clinicals, I think I might have seen my family a grand total of 24 hours in the last year. Its insanity, but its amazing! I am interested to see what else you have in store!

    Keep it coming!

    • Thanks… It’s going to be a long road but I am so looking forward to the challenge.

      In case you missed it as of today the blog has moved to

      Please visit the new site and subscribe there, as I wont be posting on this one anyone 🙂

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