Wednesday, February 8, 2012

PASS!! Now what?

So, I passed my MD state protocol test, which now affords me the ability to practice as a paramedic in my home state.  As soon as I've jumped through all the hoops that the appropriate ALS affiliated company that I spend my time with has placed in front of me.  (Gotta have all the boxes checked in this state, you know.)

Still, I find myself entering the state website, and clicking on my con-ed report, just to see the paramedic patch flash up there; it makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.  Now, all I have to do is figure out how to apply the con-ed I've received to both NREMT and the state.  Evidently there are multiple hurdles to this, and I will need some help from other state medics in the navigation of the swirly waters of the wonderful state of Maryland's EMS system (and NREMT, but they aren't quite as easy to poke fun at).

I do have to say though, that in both my recent recert classes (ACLS/PALS/CPR and PHTLS), I was heartened by the number of experienced paramedics (both those who were born and raised as medics in this state, and the imports) who mocked the system we currently must slave under.  The ridiculous protocol changes, the lack of attention to evidence-based medicine, the apparent unwillingness to move with the times; all was fair game during these classes.  It made me feel immensely better, to know that there are other medics, some of which I will be working closely with in the future, who are striving to bring our state's EMS system into the current century, kicking and screaming.  To know that other medics feel the same way I do about 'defensive medicine' (the way EMS is taught in this state) make me feel a little less alone.

In other news, I recently got the notice that the local county is hiring another dispatcher, and my name is still on the eligibility list from taking the test last spring.  I'm guessing mine is the LAST name on the list (the oral interview did not go well, as I responded quite negatively to one of the interviewers questions regarding where my loyalty would lie...paying job or volunteer station.  After speaking to several people and describing the interview, I was told that the individual in question 'had it out' for anyone from my station...whatever), but they are finally contacting me.  I have also heard, from a possibly less than reliable source, that the county will be opening up hiring for paramedic positions sometime in the next month or so, as there are no more medics on the eligibility list and there is talk of putting more medics in more stations.

Now, what I would prefer to do is be in the field as a medic, rather than in the dispatch center answering phones.  Some say that the dispatcher position is a good idea, to get my foot in the door, and would make it easier to move laterally to the field as a medic.  Others say it would make it harder, as once they have trained someone as a dispatcher they are less than willing to let them leave for a field position (it's an issue the sheriff's and corrections have had in the past as well).  So now I am torn.  Assuming the background check goes well (I have lived a boring life, so that much is pretty well assured), I will be offered a job in comms.  Do I take it? Do I decline?  I need a job.  It may help me or it may hurt me.  I can always work for a transport company in the meantime until I am hired as a county medic.  The pay is slightly less than dispatch, but the hours are much more variable.


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