First of all I thought that I'd preface this with a little history. I originally became a First Responder in 1995 and and EMT-B in 1997. I worked part time as a medic for about a year and then since I just met my wife and we got engaged something had to go. I kept the fire dept but stepped back from EMS. I let my EMT-B cert expire and just maintained my First Responder Cert.

The last couple years I started getting the EMS bug again and last year became recertified and an EMT-B. I've worked part time as a medic again for the past 7 months and in February started an Advanced EMT class. We met twice a week and just finished our state practicals earlier this week and next week I will go to IVY Tech and take my state written test.

I did alot of observation throughout the class, both on myself, my instructors and my fellow classmates and came away with several insights. First of all, motivation needs to come from within. If you are not motivated and willing to accept every aspect of the class you will struggle. There is more to being an Advanced EMT than just sticking in a needle and starting an IV.

Time management skills are essential as you get more and more specialized in your training. While first responder skills are (in my opinion) for the most part simple and common sense, as you progress in EMS you need to start learning and understanding more about the body systems and the reasoning and function behind the interventions that you do. This all requires you to put in the necessary time it takes to study and learn.

Confidence is something that takes time to build. While I was nervous the the first time I started I realized how important all the experience was I got over the years. I don't get as excited and worked up as when I first started in EMS & Fire Service and this allows me to work at a more relaxed pace. Speed isn't always a good thing. More can accomplished by working smoothly and systematically than by running around like a chicken with your head cut off.

Continuing Education is also another big point. While I have always been an advocate for getting as much education as you can and keeping up on skills, this class reinforced that notion. With the wide base of knowledge that we need to draw upon and the myraid of MOI's/NOI's that we encounter, our greatest assest is our knowledge, training and experience.

Attitude is another big component of any endevour. You must always have a positive attitude in what you are doing. That doesn't mean that you have to like it or enjoy it but you must tackle it willining and with enthusiasm. If you open the book on the first day and flip through the pages and say to yourself that there is no way you are going to pass this then guess what? You probably ain't gonna pass it. But if you go in with the attitude that you will give it your all even if you encounter new and difficult stuff then you have a much better chance of acheiving that goal.

Teamwork. It is a word that we use all the time in fire & ems, but it is essential to the successful completion of a call. No one person can do it all and if everyone works in tandem like a well oiled machine than amazing things can happen. Teamwork comes about with training, experience and trust.

Yes we need to trust those that we are working with. We need to trust that they are competent and confident. Trust that they know what needs to be done and will do it in the right way. We need to trust that they will stay safe and in turn watch out for us to keep us safe.

Throughout it all we need to maintain our professionalism. It is ok to kick back, joke around and have a good time, but you need to know when to be serious. We resort to gallows humor among ourselves to deal with the daily stress, but whenever we are in front of the public or doing training & skills we need to be as professional as possible.

Adaptability is a skill that all emergency workers need to have. No two situations are the same and no two people will handle the same situation in the same way. It is key to remember that there are always multiple ways to reach the same goal, one way isn't necessarily better then the other but adaptability to the situation is paramount.

Overall I have found the course to be very rewarding. I feel much more comfortable and knowledgable in my skills and functioning as an EMT and look forward to continuing on with my education. If the stars line up right and my wife gives me her blessing I will be starting on a paramedic course in the near future.

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Comment by Paul Montpetit on May 24, 2010 at 6:19am
Capt...congrats...You have made another step in the EMS field....BUT...Remember the adage..."Paramedics save lives....EMT's save paramedics....it is BLS that saves lives..your newly acquired skills are supplements to the A,B,C's that we have had shoved down our throats for many. many years. There will be times when you look back and wonder..."What the hell am I doing" Well Sir...you are learning...your certification gives you the authority to begin your advanced practice and now the real learning begins...every patient will be different, every situation you will see different results from the same treatment....the learning has just begun....Take your new skills and build on them....You have the right attitude, the right frame of mind...I am sure that you will do well.....welcome to the ranks of the "advanced provider"...Stay safe......Keep the Faith...........again congrats............Paul
Comment by Rusty Mancini on May 21, 2010 at 6:25pm
Congrats and good luck Capt. I'm sure you'll do well! For the wife aspect, whats the old saying, it's better to ask for forgiveness than permission? lol..

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