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Interesting case. Just a few questions: When was the last time the glucometer on your ambulance was calibrated? How old were the test strips? Finger stick? Or the old tip of the pen to the flash chamber trick? (Not that the difference between the two should be *that* big.) What other history does this kid have? What else is going on with his headache? What did the hospital tell you besides their BGL finding? Do you know his discharge diagnosis?
Hi there, Welcome. Can't help you with salary information. I know JEMS used to do a salary survey but the info I found online was pretty worthless. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics may have some information. Twenty-four hour shifts are still quite common. If you're looking for a more rural area than from where you'll be moving it wouldn't surprise me at all to see 24 hour shifts. Why are you surprised?
The Philadelphia Fire Department can't handle EMS needs for the city on a normal day much less for an event like the Pope being in town. Asking for help with this event is necessary. However, I, too, am curious how the extra police and FD coverage will be handled in terms of overtime pay. I think it's funny that they also request you bring your own emergency vehicle and credit cards to pay for fuel. The Pope's visit is going to turn out to be a huge mess.
I carry a Spyderco Tashan Salt H1. I've carried it for years. On duty and off. I've never used my knife while at my EMS jobs. Not once. I also have a Leatherman. I've used that on a fairly regular basis. The multi-tool has been more useful than any knife I've ever owned or carried. I get being a knife buff. You never know when you'll need a good blade. However, practically speaking, the chances that you'll use a knife like what you're describing are pretty low.
Eight hours a week and it'll take you seven months? As for advice: Ideally your instructor will provide a syllabus at the beginning of the course so you have an idea what will be taught and when. Read ahead. Come to class having already read the information to be covered. Eyes open. Ears open. Brain turned on. Mouth shut and disengaged. Only engage the mouth to ask a question. There will always be people with war stories. Please try to avoid being one. Go in with an open mind and a positive attitude. Class and ride along time can be fun. When doing your ride time be aggressive but not pushy. Talk to the guys you'll be riding with at the start of the shift. Ask what you can do. Ask what they don't want you to do. Ask questions at the appropriate time. Learn early when it is the appropriate time. (Hint: It's not in front of a patient.) Don't just read the book. Read here. Read from additional resources. Anatomy texts will be your friend. History will be your friend. Psychology and sociology will be your friend. There is more to EMS than simply an EMT textbook. As to what gear you should have your program should give you a list of any gear you may be required to have. This is a very frequently asked question. You are correct. Many noobs go overboard and spend a lot of money on gear. I recommend you don't go overboard with expensive gear. Yes, the 5.11 pants and $300 Littmann Cardiology III are nice. To get through school, however, a good pair of Dickies and a $25 sprague stethoscope will do you just fine. Once you get through school (and decide you like this enough to continue) a good employer will either provide uniform items or have an allowance for uniform items. Aside from daily everyday items (wallet, keys, cash, phone) the only other thing I carried when on the ambulance was a couple of pens, note pad, stethoscope and a good knife. Maybe an extra pair of gloves in my back pocket. Good questions.
Mrs. Sparks, Ed was a frequent contributor to the forums here. Time and again he offered perspective, wisdom and, when necessary, a little bit of... let's call it... gentle encouragement with all of his many posts here. He had no reservations about calling things as he saw them. Through his knowledge and experience he provided wide ranging education to all of us. He also had a wicked sense of humor and he frequently shared jokes with us here. His loss will be felt more widely than you may know. Condolences to you and your family. So long, Ed. Clear skies and fair winds. Mike
Ask to set up an informational interview with a chief or one of the line officers to further explore the profession. Be direct. Be succinct. Ask many questions. Ask the questions you want answers to. Send a thank you note afterwards. Use the information gained to help make your decision. Intentionally vague, yes. What works best for you might not for someone else. A general approach, however, can be broadly applied. As your meeting progresses you'll get a feel for the other person and how s/he responds to questions. You'll be better able to put together a good way to ask. DUI is going to make it harder to be employed in a profession that requires driving. Insurance companies tend to frown on it as I'm sure you know. Insurance issues will be your biggest hang up. After that will be your eligibility to be certified/licensed in your state given your record. A direct inquiry to your state EMS office will help clear that up as well.