It’s That Time of Year Again…

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Studying for PCP-IV Written Exam--Licensing

Ahhh the dread of it all…but it’s that season again, time for licensing!  Brings back memories, about exactly a year ago (August 2010) I did my licensing for EMR.  Now I’m back for more (as if I didn’t have enough fun last time), but this time for PCP-IV.  I’m telling you, it’s no easy task getting my brain back up to gear after 4 months off and running calls ‘street style’.  

My brain was off to a slow start, sputtering away and heaving, steaming and getting no where.  Like how you train your muscles to run further and faster, it’s the same with the brain.  The more exercise you give it (in this case studying) the longer it’ll last and the sharper and quicker it is.  Normally studying 4 hours straight with a mini break is easy for me, but just yesterday when I forced myself to go to the library (since I realized I only have 3 days available to study before my written exam) my brain was fried by 4 hours…it felt like mush.  I did another 4 hours today, and once again felt like mush.  Seems like I need to give my brain some steroids for tomorrow’s study session.

The Game Plan.  

My game plan for the written is basically going through the whole licensing booklet, reading all the details including all the subtexts.  Knowing all my protocols, all my drug monographs, and (yes as strange as it sounds) re-reading through my EMR practice written exam.  While I’m at it, I’ve also decided to review some facts that I’ve forgotten here and there.  A very useful app I found is the BC Medic App which you can get for your smart phone.  Oh and did I mention that it’s free?  It has all the EMA protocols for EMR, PCP, PCP-IV, ACP and also contains really useful references such as mneumonics, stages of labour, accepted abbreviations, fractures, pediatric assessment model, vital ranges, etc to name a few.  Neat study tool and review tool.

My practical licensing will also be this month.  I will keep you updated on how it all goes.  It’s nice having been through licensing once and knowing what to expect.  To be honest, I’m rather excited to do licensing this time round.  I’ve been working towards this goal (to get licensed at the PCP-IV level) since 2 years ago when my brother told me a story that set me on this path.  So I say, “Bring it on!”  😀


14 thoughts on “It’s That Time of Year Again…

  1. Thank you so much for your helpful blog!
    I wish you the best of luck! Its the best job in the world.

    The practice of paramedicine requires high levels of accuracy, responsibility, and accountability and is founded on caring and compassion.

    Your friend,

    UNLP-FCM-Legajo 08-44913

    1. Hi César, thank you for the wonderful comment 🙂 and I cannot agree with you more, it is the best job in the world. I absolutely love it.

    1. I actually got mine from an instructor. Right now I’m guessing they’re revising it, that’s why it’s not on the EMA Licensing website. You can probably send them an email and they could send you a version I’m sure. Also if you have a smart phone (think it may only be accessible for iphones) you can download BCMedic App and that has all the EMA guidelines on it as well.

      1. Yeah I’ve been using the bc medic app, its amazing little thing isnt it. Hahah anyways, thank you! I enjoy your blog and congratulations for license!

  2. I’m about to write my written PCP-IV exam and I was wondering if you can tell me how you found the written exam. Is it all straight out of the PCP-IV EMA protocols booklet? Any surprises? I keep hearing that the written is a joke, but I’m worried that I’ll underestimate it.

    1. Hi Alpin

      I was in the same boat not too long ago…felt that I would underestimate the exam. It is however very straight forward. I personally found the PCP-IV exam to be easier than the EMR exam (strange I know). There’s nothing extra-ordinary on the exam, my best advice is to study the EMA exam licensing booklet and just know the general overall scope of care including basic conditions like CHF, Asthma, Anaphylaxis etc.

      Hope that helps.

  3. Hi, I have been reading your blog a lot since I am trying to figure out how to get in paramedics. You have a lot of great information, which seems to be lacking everywhere I try to look. I was just wondering if you have time to answer a few questions.

    1) Is the JI really the only school in BC to offer a good PCP program?
    2) Is the EMR course challenging? And once you take your EMR what is the best course of action? At that point should one just apply to a PCP program? I’ve read you can’t work much with just that. Do you need to get licensed or is it really just a pre req course for the PCP program?
    3) Once you take the PCP program I understand then it is a long process of getting licensed and hired and not getting many shifts. I want to work in the Kootenays. Do most people have to start out up north and then transfer?
    4) I believe it is a class 4 unrestricted licence they recommend, what is the lowest drivers licence lvl you can have to work as a paramedic?
    5) As little information there is about the PCP program I find there is even less about the ACP. Do you know the advantages to taking it/why people don’t? You seem to make more and there seems to be a shortage of them from the little I’ve heard.

    Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Jenna,

      I apologize for my late reply. I have been extremely busy lately.

      1. Yes currently JI is the only school. AET used to train PCPs as well, but I hear that has recently changed.
      2. EMR can be challenging depending on your first aid background. I highly suggest you read through the whole textbook prior to going to the class, it will make things a lot easier that way! If you intend on becoming a paramedic, you can get licensed as an EMR and get hired with BCAS as an EMR to start your seniority early. Things have changed since I applied, and there may not be much work for EMRs within the proximity of Vancouver anymore. You will have to call BCAS HR and inquire what the job opportunity looks like starting as an EMR. Once you finish your EMR I suggest applying directly to PCP. If you don’t get licensed as an EMR, your EMR certificate only lasts one year, so if you don’t get into PCP within that year it becomes useless. If you get licensed it lasts 5 years but require an upkeep of patient contacts and continued medical education credits (the first year is exempt).
      3. You should be able to find work in the interior near the Kootenays. It is generally easier to find jobs in the interior than in the vancouver lowermainland area. It is not neccessarily to always start up North. A lot of it also depends on if stations are hiring and who is applying.
      4. The minimum will be a class 4 restricted.
      5. There was a shortage of ACPs but there is a lot of people applying for ACP programs now, and there are note enough mentors to go around. It seems the jobs have filled up a lot for ACPs. I suggest going through the PCP program and working a bit as a PCP first then consider going to ACP if that is your interest. Many people are currently applying for ACP in hopes to quickly get a full time job. Of course there are other interests as well such as increasing scope of practice.

  4. Hey! I just came across your blog and I think it’s fantastic. I am a PCP back in Australia and transferring over. I’m taking my exams over the next couple of months and so am back to study mode after one year off travelling the world. I have been searching far and wide for guidelines for BC and have come across the general guidelines. However, based on your photo, is there specific guidelines available for PCP (with IV) available? Would you know where to locate this? Thanks for your help!

    1. Hi Jenny,

      I think your best bet is to contact the EMA licensing board. Also try googling BCAS treatment guidelines, that should give you some ideas. However be aware that licensing board is different from BCAS.

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