July 04, 2006 The Genesis of my New Career

Typing Nerd Well today was the first official day of the long road to a career in EMS.

My EMR class started today. I've been terrified for weeks now as to whether I was making the right choice or not. It doesn't matter that I've done months of research: Looking at requirements across Canada. Understanding the steps that need to be taken. Going over the list again and again so that I know what I need to do and when to do it. Researching salaries at the various levels, and what kind of work I can hope to get...and where. What sort of experience I need, and how to get it.

Not to mention the online forums of EMT City and the Canadian Paramedic Web...chatting with people locally for first hand feedback and advice. Picking these people's brains with my incessant questions. Through which I have already managed to earn the respect of some professionals who have been in the field even before it was ever formalized.

I have only started to tell those close to me my plans. The Stewarts. Linda. Arlana. Of course my parents. It's funny though, that I'm most scared to tell the one person who has had the biggest influence in this decision altogether.

I picked up my textbook and manual a month ago. I've been working through the pre-class chapters for weeks. It shouldn't be taking me as long as it is. And although I understand the logic behind what I am learning, I have still panicked about my ability to do well in this. That woman from St. Johns didn't help either. Cauldron

I'm an accountant. I've been of the mindset of an accountant for more then half my life! How could I possibly just jump ship and decide to go medical without any background or history?

Well today's class was AWESOME! I was pumped and excited to go ...just as I was six years ago when I started the Accounting program at OUC. That was my first sign that I am on the right track.

Class starts on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 18:00h. Doors open at 17:45h. By the time I had to leave in order to get there on time (I got there right at 17:45h) I had thrown in the towel on studying any more. I figured...I knew all I was going to for now and I just needed to calm myself down. I got there...sat near the front and watched as everyone else came in. Oddly enough, where I sat is very similar to where I sat in the first days of class in university. I still am predictable I guess.

There are eleven in our class in total. And I am easily one of the oldest in the class. It's a weird feeling. All my life I've always been the youngest because I was ahead a grade. University wasn't too much different as I was still part of the younger half.

Well we started with a quick intro from Mike S. the instructor. Then we went around the class, and introduced ourselves: who we are, where we're headed (education wise) and something we do for fun. It felt much like a combination of a personals ad and an AA meeting: "I'm Heidi. I am embarking on a career change from Accounting to Paramedic. I play too many sports and generally do anything for fun."

Half the class is going to Fire (EMR is a pre-requisite) and the other half is going to Paramedic. There are three girls including myself...all Paramedic hopefuls. One of the girls is very petite and I wonder if she's aware of the lift requirements down the road. Granted I know there are petite girls who train and utilize proper lifting techniques who do just fine. It's just interesting because I've had many of the medics I've spoken with get excited about me going into EMS because I'm 'buff' as compared to the usual females they deal with...but that's not to say I'm going to be able to just lift without any trouble.

The other chick initially didn't seem too clear on the path required to becoming a Paramedic (meaning the intermediate step of EMT). That was clarified pretty quickly. And it was clear to me right away that I had probably done more research then most people do.

I mention that only because it was the second sign which made me realize I could probably relax a little. I had done LOTS of research and should be confidant in my decision to pursue this.

Our lecture for the class covered various topics (beyond student and college administrative topics Blah Blah) including:
  • An Intro / History of EMS
  • Roles and Responsibilities of EMS Professionals at the various levels
  • Medical and Legal Principles of EMS
This is all stuff I already knew from my pre-class reading as well as all my research. Then we had time left over so we were taught our first skill!

(Well Done First we had to learn how to use a stethoscope properly though. There is a right way and a wrong way. Funny thing is just two days ago on one of the forums I had read all about the right and wrong way. Once again, I was ahead of the game.)

Our first skill was to learn how to take a blood pressure (BP) reading. Heart

So I am officially capable of doing this (albeit slowly and with lots of fumbling). I did two readings. And I understand sorta what it is that I'm reading. At least in terms of systolic, diastolic, and pulse pressure. We didn't get into what this would be an sign of...that comes later.

My BP when the two guys I was teamed up with (one is very buff hottie wanna be firefighter former UofA football player Batting Eyelashes) was 130/90. 120/80 is normal-ish for our age range. Oddly enough mine matched the hottie wannabe fire guy. The other guy in our group had 110/70 I think. And he came across as a pretty 'Irie' kinda dude.

I am happy to say that I retained information well from my studying both a couple weeks ago as well as the stuff I crammed in the last two days. So I am feeling very good about it all. I needed this great experience too because otherwise I'd be doubting my decision for a long time. I need to learn to trust my instincts and my abilities more.

So...I have a challenging road ahead of me for sure. This won't be anywhere near as easy as Business was in university for so many reasons. The obvious being that I don't have the high school courses to compliment it at ll...never mind having them recently. But also because I have a full time job, and multiple responsibilities outside of this course to eat up my time.

None of it's an excuse. It just means I will have to work hard, and be very diligent with my time. I think that will play a big part in my passion for this too. I can't explain how I've gotten to the point of wanting to go into EMS...but I just know that it's the right place for me to be.

I am excited about this challenge. And I am once again reminded of just home much of a nerd I am. It's the first time I've ever used a stethoscope. And it might sound strange...but hearing the pulse of darn close to as amazing as when I first heard Koen's heartbeat.

Oh and can I point out that in order to read wannabe fire guy's BP I had to find his Brachial pulse (which is between his bicep and tricep) first. Again, I must stress that he is BUFF. So I was basically groping his bicep Smile 4.

This is going to be a FUN class. I'm hoping to get him as my study buddy!!! If nothing else...I might have fun stories to tell from it.

I wonder if this came across as excitable as I feel typing it.

Oh I forgot something:

That 'exam' I was so worried about on the 4 pre-class chapters (7-10) was really a test...and even more accurately...a quiz! Figures. To boot...it's to be taken home and completed for next class.

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