March 24, 2007 Preparing for practicum.

Okay, we're hearing more and more about things to do (or not do) on practicum. Classics like "Don't sleep with your preceptor!" and "Bring baked stuff on your first day."

These are just things I've heard or been told on my ride alongs and from friends in the biz.

...Unit checks each shift is great but offer to do the complete inventory check. well as great way to familiarize yourself with where everything is. And (if your service is slow) offer to do this every day so that you can be as familiar as possible with the contents.

...Keep your unit sparkly inside and out. And don't even think about asking to wash your personal vehicle in the bays.

...Keep your hands out of your pockets. Hands in pockets mean you aren't working hard enough and could be doing something more useful.

...Clean. The kitchen. The bathroom. The base.

...NEVER let go of the stretcher

...get IN there. Don't stand back waiting for a red carpet to be rolled out for your participation in a call. Take the initiative.

...Don't lie. If you can't find something, don't know something, or whatever...admit it. You can't fake something when it's a life you're dealing with.

...know your preceptors coffee

...studying is good but don't do it unless everything else is done first only when or after your crew is

...default to terms of respect before anything the crew...AND the patient. I've heard quite the interesting rants about students who speak to adult patients calling them 'sweetie' or 'dear': 'sir, ma'am, Mr., Ms., asking if it's okay to use their first name' I've heard are all preferred from a precepting point of view.

...remember who you are (a student) and your rank within the service (absolute bottom) and act accordingly. Doesn't matter if you like it, it's the way it is so suck it up and deal with it with a smile on your face. Get through the your way up...get your medics...and when you're higher up feel free to try and change things but this is the way it is now. willing, able, and happy to help with anything and everything. "No" should not be in your vocabulary for possible responses to requests (all being appropriate requests of course).

...Be prepared for criticism. Assume there is a positive thing to be taken from it no matter how much it hurts your feelings or ego. Put your personal feelings aside and be gracious for the chance to learn from someone else that has experience and is willing to share it with you.

...Remember that usually preceptors get nothing for their time. Some are great. And some not so much. Some want to do it. Some not so much. Your interpersonal skills are just as important as any of the EMS skills and knowledge you gained in school. Check your sarcasm, your perceived smarts, and your preconceived notions about anything at all at the door. Hopefully you'll never go back to get them. Book smarts are all fine and dandy...but they mean nothing if you get booted from your practicum.

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