Getting out of school, they load you with scenarios and overtime you build confidence and you feel like you’ve got a good grasp of things. Of course I wouldn’t say I knew everything, and I knew that real life is not the same as school. I knew of this, but I didn’t REALLY know what that was supposed to feel like.
I spent two blocks up at my station and have been fairly lucky to get called out a fair number of times. The calls mean I get paid, but more importantly I get to gain experience. The biggest lesson I’ve learned so far since starting with the ambulance service is this:
School doesn’t prepare you well for the ambulance service: The “real” lesson starts now.
I sort of feel like saying I’ve learned nothing in school, which of course isn’t true, but I sometimes feel like what school has prepared me amounts to the effect of stuffing a small krill’s brain with information, throwing it into the vast ocean and saying “Go get’em!“. Leaving the krill feeling slightly overwhelmed by the size of its new domain, and feeling slightly lost to the routines of things. I can’t say for sure, since I haven’t completed my Primary Care Paramedic course, but I think the lack of precepting and clinicals in the Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) program plays a role in me feeling like a krill.
What I’m feeling unprepared for isn’t the calls or dealing with the patient since that’s all we practiced in school (although that’s another huge gray zone), but more of the regular routine of things, like how to prepare and fold the cots, or giving good patient reports, or which nurse to go talk to, or what questions to ask when picking up a patient for transfer, or having to use the phone to call triage after 15:00, or remembering to unhook the nasal cannula before rolling the patient out of the ambulance (oops! ;))…
Each day for me, each call, is a new learning experience. There’s a massive learning curve waiting to be scaled and I’m loving each moment of it. Even though sometimes, I feel like a krill.
So here’s my advice: Be Prepared to be Unprepared. And, enjoy.