Thursday, April 12, 2007

My Paramedicine

In the shifts following my last post, I've had a significant number of runs involving some seriously ill patients. From that, my level of confidence in my knowledge and skills has increased dramatically. My first successful field intubations occurred in the last few shifts, I've dealt with serious overdoses, I've been assaulted by a belligerent drunk, and I continue to interact and meet wonderfully diverse and interesting patients.

Right now I'm long and hours and short on calls and my shifts have slowed to the point I'm concerned. I had planned to be able to test for my Paramedic certificated in June, but at the rate of progress I'm making it's more realistic to think July or August. I'm disappointed, not in myself, but in the lack of call volume the company has had and how it has adversely affected my progress. It's not anyone's fault, it's just how things are.

Sometimes things are surreal, sometimes mundane. My Paramedic preceptor and I worked a cardiac arrest for over an hour while we transported the patient in from far out of town. The patient was in their 90s and during the course of the transport, Louis Armstrong's "What A Wonderful World" came on the radio. The driver turned up the radio so we could hear it in back and it was possibly one of the most surreal experiences of my life. My partner and I sang softly for the patient and felt we had done more by that, than all the CPR and drugs and such that we'd done to try and save her. Ultimately, the patient was gone, but it didn't feel like we'd lost. And ultimatley, the call didn't matter to me as far as the skills I was able use, it mattered because it was a human experience and I cared for the patient.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

My Internship

I'm roughly 1/3 of the way through my paramedic field internship and as of yet, I still don't have a lot of confidence in taking care of a complicated patient. That being said, I can handle 98% of all the patients that I run on without any problem at all. After all, I live in town where the geriatric population is high and the majority of the patients we take to the hospital are "I can't poop" or "it hurts when I pee." The minority are a little more serious with complaints like "it's hard to breath" or "I'm having chest pain." I guess what I have problems with is taking charge and having a clear line of thinking on patients that are having the massive heart attack or the flash pulmonary edema event.

I should also realize that I'm only 250 hours into my internship and that I have a lot left ahead of me and that maybe I'm right where I'm supposed to be. It just feels overwhelming--more so than when I was in the class room. Mess up on a test and it's okay; mess up on drug dosages in the field or misdiagnose a patient and there are serious consequences.

I'm also the kind of individual that knows more and responds better under pressure than I think I do. I'm harder on myself than I need to be sometimes, at least that's what my preceptors tell me. I just want to be a good paramedic, not the C average medic that barely passed his test. I want to be the paramedic that when people talk about they say "he's a damn good paramedic. I'd let him take care of my family."

Or maybe that's me being a little too arrogant.