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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Back In Medic School

I just went back to medic school. For those of you that don't know, going to my medic school caused me just a hint of stress. There was difference however. This time I went back to medic school as an instructor. I can't help but think of one of the lines from one of the all time great movies (at least if you're a guy), "I thought of being an instructor, sir." ... "God help us." (points for naming the movie, bonus points for naming the to characters).

I am now a lab instructor at one of the local paramedic programs. On my first day I discovered a couple of things. First, it's a lot more fun to watch the medic students squirm that to be the nervous medic student. Second, medic students keep you on your toes. They will ask questions about things that you may not have had to think about since you were in their shoes. I realize that this job is going to push me and force me to stay on top of my paramedic knowledge. This is a good thing.

For the first part of the day I shadowed the lab coordinator. For lab day the students are broken down into small groups called squads. The students have just started airway and breathing emergencies so we gave the ones in our squad some fairly straight forward scenarios. After a couple of scenarios I was on my own.

I ate lunch with a couple of the other instructors. When you're the new guy there's a strange getting to know you process. Not only do the others want to know if you're going to fit in or not but they want to know your level of competency as a medic. You talk about your work history and share some calls that you've been on. Everyone sized me up while I was evaluating them. It's kind of like setting up a pecking order that's not solely based on seniority. I figure it would be interesting to watch for a psychologist.

 After lunch we broke back into groups and went over some skills. They had a chance to play with several different types of nebulizers and to practice removing a "foreign body airway obstruction" (in plain English, something on which you are choking). While the students were practicing these skills a young man calmly walked into the room and said, "We need a paramedic in room 4B." We all looked at each other. I couldn't decide if he was serious or not. So I asked if he really had an emergency. When he said yes, the instructors quickly shifted gears from teachers back to medics. While the other instructors grabbed equipment I followed the student. He said that a girl in his class was dizzy and had passed out.

When I arrived at the classroom (which ironically was a health class that fulfilled the prerequisite for an EMT class) the teacher was in the back of the room knelt over an 18 year old girl that was laying on the floor. The teacher rambled on with some kind of report and handed me a paper with some writing on it. It was nearly impossible to read but I assume it had some basic vitals on it. I soon discovered that my patient was having dizziness, chest discomfort and shortness of breath. As the other paramedic instructors showed up with equipment they each went right into doing what needed to get done. After a few minutes, one of the instructors asked if 911 had been called. The teacher said that they hadn't. That was something that I wasn't used to checking on. If I'm showing up with equipment on a medical aid, I'm there because someone called 911. So we had the school call for the local fire department. When all was said and done it appeared that my patient had just suffered a panic attack. She denied ever having one before but when we talked to mom on the phone she confirmed a history of anxiety.

The rest of the day was spent running more scenarios with a couple of the squads. They try to rotate the instructors around so that there's not just one person teaching a squad all day. By the end of the day I was mentally tired. I forgot how exhausting it can be being in the learning environment.I can't wait for more.


Katie said...

Oooh, I actually know that quote!

melaniek said...

Sounds great! I hope you have a lot of fun getting to pass on the knowledge you have. Sometimes I think those real life scenarios are the best lessons learned. You never know, one day they might run a call similar to something you passed on to them and they'll think back and thank you for it.

Anonymous said...

Can't believe no one answered the quote question here. The movie...."Top Gun".....characters, Maverick aka Lt. Pete Mitchell (Tom Cruise pre-Scientology...when he was cool.) That is my all time favorite movie if you can't tell.

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