My Education: Certification from Erlanger Hospital
My Prior Experience: I worked as a candy striper at a local hospital for 4 years.
My Company: I work for a hospital in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Job/Career Overview: As an entry level EMT, you are on a probationary work schedule. What this means is you are not allowed to do some of the duties that other EMTs do.
As an EMT, you assess the scene of the accident, check the patient, stabilize the neck if necessary, and load the patient onto the ambulance. After the patient is on the ambulance, you check vitals, apply any medication or other medical care needed, and do everything within your power to get the patient to the hospital alive.
As an EMT there are no typical days because you never know what you're going to get hit with. On the other hand, there are times when all you do is sit around the station or patrol around town, and there may not be much trauma.
You have to be in fairly good physical condition as there can be heavy patients, obstacles to overcome, and you have to be quick on your feet when you are faced with a large amount of patients.
One thing most newbies don't know and don't even think to look for is patients faking a trauma in an attempt to get free medication or some sort of fix from morphine or other pain killers. These patients know every trick in the book; they even know how to fake a heart attack by unattaching one of the heart monitor lines. This makes it look like the patient is at an irregular rhythm and we would have to push meds.
Other than a few downsides described above, the job is a very interesting career and one I am more than glad I decided to pursue. With an average pay of $40,000 a year, and plenty of benefits, I'm sure others would agree it is a great career to consider.
I rate this career 10 out of 10.
One major upside to the career has to be the feeling of knowing you saved a life or you improved the quality of someone's life. Another upside is you'll never have a monotonous day because every day is different and there is really no set schedule.
A major downside to the job is probably the emotional toll it can take on those weak of heart, because you see some pretty disturbing stuff. Another downside is the irregular hours. Sometimes, especially as a newbie, you'll have to work the graveyard shift and you can get a pretty messed up sleep schedule.
When you begin hands on training, make sure you listen closely, because if you don't the course will go by very fast and you'll be completely lost.
When you first finish your training program don't expect to just start out at a hospital unless you have connections. It's best to just work for a volunteer service or small organization.
Also, after your probational period is over, it's best to go back to training at a local college and get your full paramedic license so you'll be making more money, and maybe even get to drive that shiny new ambulance.