Monday, September 28, 2009

Learning How to Think

I was a medical first responder for several years before becoming a paramedic student, and I know that experience has, is and will continue to serve me well as I advance in this career. At the same time, I've noticed some glaring differences between the two stages, the most obvious is the ability to think.

As an MFR, we treat because ultimately, we are told that is the way to do it. Some MFRs can explain why we do things, but a large majority can't really reason their way out of a cardboard box. As my prof says, this is the difference between a technician and a clinician. MFRs are taught the skills and they are able to carry them out, but a paramedic should be able to tell you exactly why they are doing things, what effect it has on the body, and all sorts of other details. I love this distinction, because I often felt that this was lacking in my volunteer work. There were times when I would question oxygen administration, splinting and even back boarding, to be met with a stone-faced, by-the-book response. Yes, I know that the book says we should consider spinal injuries if the patient falls, but when they land on their side from a relatively short height and have NO signs or symptoms indicating any injury of any sort, do we REALLY need to backboard them??

Anyways, I love how my teachers are stressing critical thinking, thorough assessments and a rock solid knowledge base. It makes me feel that I can at last break out of the trained monkey stage and get more clinical in my thinking and treatment.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Adjusting Well

I'm well into the first month and all I can say now is that I love it! I know where everything is, what is expected, and what I need to be doing. I have made amazing friends that are just as passionate about this as I am. It is the best academic experience I've ever had, I'm challenged mentally and physically and thrive on it.

I've realized that my background has prepared me well for this program, and although it is difficult and a lot of work, I can and will succeed. I've never been so excited about school before - it's incredible.

I'm learning a lot about the field of paramedicine, and realizing that the possibilities are endless and I want to do it all. Being a tactical medic with the police would be amazing, but so would a community medic in Northern Canada. I could end up teaching these courses, be a manager or supervisor, or thrive on the everyday calls out on the truck. I love the opportunities I'm discovering, I love the friends I've made, and I love my program. My professors are inspirational, hilarious and knowledgeable, I try to soak up every word in class. The fitness teacher is lovably sadistic, as my weeping muscles will readily attest to.

Thanks to my friends and family members who offered me encouragement and support in the last few weeks during the adjustment period, as well as medic7. Thanks for the uplifting comment! I'm tackling this program with all my energy, it's an experience of a lifetime leading to an incredible career.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Slightly Overwhelmed

Paramedic school has begun, and after having course outlines, objectives and expectations thrown at me relentlessly, I'm feeling rather overwhelmed. I just don't know where to start it seems, I feel like I'm behind before we've even begun.

The more I look over what we will be learning, the more I realize what I don't know. I think I am a good, solid MFR, but that doesn't translate to a thing in this strange realm. Everything is taken to another level, a million steps further, and my comfort zone has been blown out of the water. I have spent the last few days realizing that I don't know squat.

I think I'll feel a little more confident soon, or at least I hope so. I need to get all my textbooks, my uniform, my immunizations, all my stuff organized and ready to go. I'm still excited, but that feeling of excitement tends to get snuffed out in waves of panic and the fear of failure.