Primary Care Paramedic Student Workload


I’m sure many people wonder what the workload is like as a primary care paramedic (PCP) student.  Because of my volunteering with St John Ambulance, I have kept a record of the hours I had spent in school for CME credits.  The hours listed below does not include the hours I spent at home studying, but does include the weekends I spent at school practicing calls.  

In summary, I spent approximately 872 hours for the in-class PCP program portion (~5 months), and I spent approximately 202.5hrs precepting on car.  That adds to a total of 1074hrs for me to complete the PCP program.

Is the PCP program intense?  

Yes.  It is because it is so compact and unlike university where you have a lot more time to study on your own, in the PCP program you’re in class from 08:00-17:00.  The time spent in class is mostly spent working on practical skills with a few lectures here and there, but for the most part, all the readings (which is quite a bit) is done in your own spare time (which there isn’t a lot of).  In other words you’ll have to somehow fit in the readings after class or on weekends.  What does that mean?  That means you’ll be going to school from 08:00-17:00 then from 17:00-19:00 you’ll probably be doing readings or spending time practicing calls, maybe squeezing in some gym time, and then going home to eat, then doing more readings, then sleeping and repeating.

A huge part in doing well in the course is time management and keeping up with the readings and practical skills.  If you have the chance, pre-read the materials before the course starts!  The following data isn’t meant to be intimidating but to give you an idea of the time I personally spent in the program (which of course, would vary with each individual).

PCP Date Hours Total Course Total
CS200 Dec 4, 2010-Jan 17, 2011   150 150
Fundamentals 210 17-Jan-11 08:00-16:30 8.5 158.5
  18-Jan-11 08:00-20:00 12 170.5
  19-Jan-11 08:00-20:00 12 182.5
  20-Jan-11 08:00-18:00 10 192.5
  21-Jan-11 08:00-16:30 8.5 201
Workshop: CPR 22-Jan-11 08:00-16:30 8.5 209.5
Skills:  Lifts/Transfers 23-Jan-11 13:30-14:30 1 210.5
  24-Jan-11 08:00-18:30 10.5 221
  25-Jan-11 08:00-16:30 8.5 229.5
  26-Jan-11 08:00-17:00 9 238.5
Core Skills 220 27-Jan-11 08:00-18:30 10.5 249
  28-Jan-11 08:00-16:30 8.5 257.5
Skills:  Prim/AED/CPR 29-Jan-11 11:00-15:30 4.5 262
Core Skills 221 31-Jan-11 07:30-18:00 10.5 272.5
  2-Feb-11 08:00-16:30 8.5 281
  3-Feb-11 07:30-18:30 11 292
  4-Feb-11 08:00-16:30 8.5 300.5
Skills:  Sager/CPR/AED 5-Feb-11 09:00-15:30 7.5 308
Skills:  Sager/CPR/AED 6-Feb-11 09:00-15:30 7.5 315.5
Core Skills 222 7-Feb-11 08:00-17:30 9.5 325
  8-Feb-11 08:00-16:30 8.5 333.5
  9-Feb-11 08:00-17:00 9 342.5
  10-Feb-11 08:00-16:30 8.5 351
Patient recovery 11-Feb-11 08:00-17:00 9 360
  14-Feb-11 08:00-18:30 10.5 370.5
282 Written 15-Feb-11 08:00-16:30 8.5 379
282 Practical Exam 16-Feb-11 08:30-16:30 8.5 387.5
282 Practical Exam 17-Feb-11 08:30-16:30 8.5 396
Clinicals 23-Feb-11 08:00-15:30 7.5 403.5
Precepting #245 26-Feb-11 06:30-19:30 13 416.5
Classic Cases 250 28-Feb-11 08:00-18:30 10.5 427
  1-Mar-11 08:00-18:00 10 437
  2-Mar-11 08:00-17:00 9 446
  3-Mar-11 08:00-17:00 9 455
  4-Mar-11 08:00-17:00 9 464
Skills:  Multi-trauma 5-Mar-11 12:30-15:30 3 467
  7-Mar-11 08:00-18:00 10 477
  8-Mar-11 08:00-17:30 9.5 486.5
  9-Mar-11 08:00-20:00 12 498.5
  10-Mar-11 08:00-17:00 9 507.5
  11-Mar-11 08:00-17:00 9 516.5
Skills:  Multi-trauma 13-Mar-11 10:00-16:00 6 522.5
  14-Mar-11 08:00-17:00 9 531.5
283 Practical Exam 15-Mar-11 08:00-18:00 10 541.5
  16-Mar-11 Reading Break  
Classic Cases 251 17-Mar-11 08:00-17:00 9 550.5
  18-Mar-11 08:00-16:30 8.5 559
  21-Mar-11 08:00-17:00 9 568
Dissection 22-Mar-11 08:00-17:00 9 577
  23-Mar-11 08:00-16:30 8.5 585.5
  24-Mar-11 08:00-17:00 9 596.5
  25-Mar-11 07:30-18:00 10.5 607
Skills: Diab/Anaphyl 27-Mar-11 10:00-14:00 4 611
  28-Mar-11 08:00-18:00 10 621
  29-Mar-11 08:00-19:30 11.5 632.5
  30-Mar-11 07:30-17:00 9.5 642
  31-Mar-11 08:00-18:30 10.5 652.5
Psych Day 1-Apr-11 07:30-17:30 10 662.5
Skills:  Medical 3-Apr-11 10:00-14:00 4 666.5
  4-Apr-11 08:00-17:00 9 675.5
  5-Apr-11 08:00-20:00 12 687.5
  6-Apr-11 08:00-17:00 9 696.5
  7-Apr-11 08:00-17:00 9 705.5
284 Written Exam 8-Apr-11 08:00-18:00 10 715.5
C.A.S.M 9-Apr-11 07:30-17:00 9.5 725
Skills:  Medical 10-Apr-11 10:00-15:30 5.5 730.5
284 Practical Exam 11-Apr-11 07:30-17:30 10 740.5
284 Practical Exam 12-Apr-11 08:00-17:00 9 749.5
Complex Cases 13-Apr-11 08:00-17:00 9 758.5
OB 14-Apr-11 08:00-19:00 11 769.5
PEPP Test 15-Apr-11 08:00-16:30 8.5 778
  18-Apr-11 08:00-17:00 9 787
  19-Apr-11 07:30-19:00 11.5 798.5
  20-Apr-11 07:30-17:00 9.5 808
285 Written Exam 21-Apr-11 07:30-16:30 9 817
Skills: Complex 22-Apr-11 09:30-16:30 7 824
Skills: Complex 23-Apr-11 09:30-15:00 5.5 829.5
285 Practical Exam 25-Apr-11 07:30-18:30 11 840.5
285 Practical Exam 26-Apr-11 07:30-16:30 9 849.5
  27-Apr-11 08:00-16:30 8.5 858
Active Shooter 28-Apr-11 07:30-15:30 8 866
Skill Stations 29-Apr-11 09:00-14:30 5.5 871.5
  Precepting/Clinicals/Licensing Prep  
Practice:  Licensing 6-May-11 16:30-19:30 3 874.5
Clinicals SPH 9-May-11 14:00-22:00 8 882.5
Practice:  Licensing 18-May-11 16:30-20:00 3.5 886
Clinicals CGH 20-May-11 08:30-16:30 8 894
Precepting 243 27-May-11 06:30-18:30 12 906
  28-May-11 06:30-18:30 12 918
  30-May-11 18:30-06:30 12 930
Precepting 260 20-Jul-11 18:30-06:30 12 942
  21-Jul-11 18:30-06:30 12 954
Precepting 257 24-Jul-11 06:30-18:30 12 966
  25-Jul-11 06:30-18:30 12 978
  26-Jul-11 18:30-06:30 12 990
  27-Jul-11 18:30-06:30 12 1002
Precepting 260 28-Jul-11 18:30-06:30 12 1014
  29-Jul-11 18:30-06:30 12 1026
  3-Aug-11 06:30-18:30 12 1038
  4-Aug-11 06:30-18:30 12 1050
  5-Aug-11 18:30-06:30 12 1062
  6-Aug-11 18:30-06:30 12 1074
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Comments
2 Responses to “Primary Care Paramedic Student Workload”
  1. Speedfreak says:

    Great blog. I’ll be sure to have free time when I start training.
    Now I was wondering, If I get PCP certified/licensed, will I likely be able to get hired by BCAS within a year? I live in the lower mainland, so I assume it’ll help since there’s more stations in the area. Can you choose where you’re willing to work? (My preferred locations would be anywhere in Metro Vancouver, Abbotsford, Mission, or Chilliwack, as I wouldn’t be able to afford a move while working part time in the beginning)

    • PocketMedic says:

      Hi there,

      Yes I believe you will get hired within a year after you get licensed as a PCP. As for working in the lower mainland, there is pretty much zero chance being someone new. Currently it takes about 3.5-4yrs to get into Agassiz/Chilliwack and that is if you’re lucky. Many people live in the lower mainland so that will not give you any advantage over others applying, especially since everybody else has greater seniority (being local generally only works as an advantage for more rural communities). If you move to Chilliwack you may stand a better chance, however even if you are a local you probably need 3 years of seniority.

      Usually as a new paramedic you will have to start in further stations, closest probably looking at Boston Bar/Lytton (for commuting from Vancouver), or Pender/Galiano Island in Region 1, or on the Coast: Madeira Park and Gibsons.

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