Archive for December, 2011

Higher Education for Paramedics

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When you look at the education and responsibilities of paramedics you would think that they would be on the same pay level of registered nurses. The truth is that they are not. Where a registered nurse begins their career at roughly 20 dollars an hour, a paramedic begins at around 10 dollars and hour. The responsibilities that each holds is very similar. Nurses give medications and so do paramedics. Nurses preform assessments and so do paramedics. Both paramedics and nurses work in very stressful environments. In fact there are some things that paramedics do that nurses cannot. Paramedics have a standing set of protocols for certain situations. This means that they do not have to seek consultation from a doctor to administer medication. Nurses receive direct orders from doctors to administer medications to certain patients. So in an emergency situation the paramedic makes the decision of how to treat a patient and which medication to give the patient. Although the paramedic can contact the doctor by radio if they need consultation from a doctor about a special situation. Some treatments that paramedics can preform that nurses cannot include endotracheal intubation(placing a tube down someones throat when they have stopped breathing or are having extreme difficulty breathing) and chest decompression(When someones lung collapses inserting a needle in their chest to help re-inflate the lung). Don’t get me wrong I am grateful for what nurses do and everyone holds an integral place in the health care system, I am merely stating the facts and stating my side of the issue. On the other side there are many things that nurses have to do that paramedics do not.

Paramedics will run into anything from cardiac arrest and multiple patient car accidents to a simple skinned knee. You must walk into an extremely chaotic situation and be extremely calm and collected. You need to manage the situation and choose what is best for the patient(s). Paramedics also have the responsibility of choosing whether a critical patient be flown by helicopter from the scene or whether they be taken to the closest hospital. In many cases a patients life rest solely in the hands of a paramedic and his EMT partner. This contains extreme responsibility and the stress that accompanies it.

There are many reasons for this difference in pay between Nurses and paramedics but I will focus more on where I think the educational system is flawed and how it may be easily fixable. In order to be a registered nurse you must complete the required prerequisite classes, complete clinicals, and then pass the NCLEX. This generally takes 2 to 3 years  all together not including a wait list. Their education takes place at college or university. Classes are also done in normal college semester increments. They take the prerequisite classes for their program and generally takes about 1 to 1 1/2 years to complete them. The next 2 or so years is spent in clinical time where they get into the nitty gritty. I promise there is a point to this. Paramedics education consists of a total of 2 years. This is a solid two years of education without semesters because most paramedic programs are not run through colleges or universities. There are a few but most are licensure programs. Paramedics must complete a 4 month long EMT-B class followed by a state licensure exam. After they obtain their EMT-B license they can enroll in a paramedic course and this is 16 month program. This is a solid 16 months of classroom and clinical education of how to be a paramedic. After that they must take a state approved test to receive their license. So what all this means is that both Paramedics and nurses obtain close to the same length of training in their respected field. Paramedics have roughly 20 months of continuous year round training and RN’s have roughly 24 months of time invested but classes are broken into semesters.

I think that where the problem comes in is with the base of the education. Nurses receive a strong base education consisting of Anatomy, Physiology, Psychology, Sociology, etc. These are all formal college courses. Most paramedic programs do not require these base courses. I believe this plays somewhat into the lower pay range. If the paramedic programs were shifted completely towards a college based program where the education tends to be more formal and respected than you would see the pay increase. Also on top of the 20 months in school that paramedics currently partake in there would be an extra 1 to 1 1/2 years of prerequisite classes. This would make the paramedic program just as long as the nursing program.

I think that requiring a college education to be a paramedic would be a step in the right direction for the career. There are many other things that would have to be changed also in order to get the career where it needs to be. Not many people go toward paramedicine as a career due to the stress, low pay, and lack of career advancement. They use it as more of a stepping stone to bigger and better things. As with anything else education is the base, so if you build a strong base than it is easier to build on that. Higher education would increase the respect for paramedics and Hopefully the pay would increase also. Also this increased education would create more structure in the system and room for advancement. After all, the business of EMS is not shrinking and its not going away so improving the education is common sense.  With the Baby Boom generation getting older there is going to be a huge strain on the health care system including EMS. Modern EMS has made many advancements in the fairly short time that it has been around and there are still many improvements to be made in an already solid system.

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What to do With Your Life

There comes a point in everyone’s life when they think, “ What should I do with my life”. This thought normally starts to enter young adults minds at or around the time of graduation. It is a very difficult choice to make and a very hard one to get right on the first try. Nevertheless almost every high school student takes this very seriously and has the idea that the major they choose is cemented and that is what they will be doing for the rest of their lives. The truth is that the next two years after high school will be spent taking prerequisite classes. Then after that is when they actually start taking classes toward their major. Another thing that they do no realize is that everyone changes their major or focus multiple times. Sometimes you don’t make the right choice the first time.

Speaking from experience, I had high hopes about college and what I wanted to do but when I got there it was completely different than I thought. I assumed that I would begin getting into classes involved with my major right off the bat, but the fact that I had to take piles and piles of prerequisite classes prior to getting into those classes surprised me. I started taking some of these classes and had difficulty with some of them so I decide to change my major. I thought I would fall behind but what I didn’t realize is that almost every college student changes their major at one point or the other. If you finish college with the same major as you started then you are really lucky. Students that finish with the same major that they started with are few and far between. The truth is that you could change your mind ten times before you finally decide what to do. There is no problem with this all. Sometimes it takes people longer to figure out what they want to do. Myself I have changed what I am doing probably about six times. The problem comes in when you stop going to school for one reason or another. Most of the time it is for financial reasons. People think that they need to save up for school before they go. This is the worst mistake that one can make. First of all it is very hard to get back in the swing of things once your out of school for an extended period. Another part is that the money you think you are gaining by saving and not going to school is not half the money you would make if you got an education. The student loan money that you have to pay after you graduate wont matter because you will have insurance, a steady higher paycheck, and other benefits. By saving and delaying education you are also delaying a higher paycheck and advancement opportunities.

I do see the point in individuals not wanting debt at the end of their college career. It would cut down on interest payment of student loans because you would not have student loans. My response to that is that you will make up that money far quicker if you have a job based on a college education. You will also be experienced by that time and be making far more money than when you began.

The truth is that its never too late to follow your dreams and do what makes you happy. Whether you are 20 or 40 you can still go to school and get an education. School may take a significant amount of time but you will have many more opportunities and be far better off. Your family will also be far better off from this. It is never too late to reevaluate what you want to do with your life.

Self Confidence:Full Potential

Without self-confidence it is very hard to go anywhere in your life. Self confidence is the ability to believe in yourself and believe that you can accomplish your goals. It is a quality that you cannot go without and ties a lot into competitiveness. There will be things that test how much you believe in yourself, but you cannot let anything destroy your confidence. You could be the best basketball player in the world but without confidence you lose your edge and it is very hard to function at the highest level possible. You do not need to believe that you are the best that ever lived, you just need to believe in yourself and do the best you can.

Everyone strives to be the best but no one every looks forward to finishing in the middle of the pack. One deceiving quality about self confidence is that not everybody can be first. This thought that everyone can be first is destroying peoples psyche. Someone has to be last too. Some people are better at different things and may have the upper edge but the most important part is to do YOUR best. Your best is completely different than the guy or girl standing nest to you. He might be able to beat you up but on the other hand you would embarrass him in a math competition. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses and you can even be confident about something that you are not good at as long as you do not have the notion of being the best. Just be the best that you can be and try your hardest.

Being competitive and doing your best can also be related to each other. One thing that a lot of people don’t realize is that even though your not the best you can still be competitive and give it all you have. Some people tend to quit when things get difficult or when they are outmatched. A good way to think about it is that when you are outmatched you are going to get that much better by participating or competing. Competition shows a lot about someones character. It shows whether they are not confident and fold under pressure or whether they go for the jugular.

One thing that ties into self confidence is the ability to take constructive criticisms. Some people take huge blows to their confidence when they think they are doing something right but them are told they are doing something wrong. They take it as a personal attack on themselves or they just shut down. Their confidence is shattered. On the flip side of thing the ability to take instructions, admit when you are wrong, and roll with the punches is and invaluable attribute. These people that can take instructions and have confidence will thrive and be good at anything they do.They know that even if they aren’t good at something right when they pick it up for the first time that they have the confidence in themselves that they can accomplish anything. The truth is that some people get very narrow minded and decide beforehand that they cannot do something without giving themselves a fair shake. They are cheating themselves by not trying and believing.

In order to have confidence you need to think that you are going to succeed. If you go into a test expecting to fail than odds are that you are going to fail. If you go in prepared, confident and expecting to get an A than you will. You need to have the confidence in yourself to succeed. Self confidence is a very huge part of reaching ones full potential. Without self confidence it is very hard to accomplish anything.

Determination:Full Potential

Determination. What is it and where does it come from? To me determination is staying with something no matter how hard it gets or how many obstacles get in your way. Determination is a very important part of reaching your full potential. If someone quit when things got hard then no one would get anything accomplished. Determination is an attitude that you will not let anything get in your way. Nothing can keep you from meeting that goal or reaching your full potential.

The ability to overcome obstacles is a very hard thing to learn and is even harder to apply. When something catastrophic happens that stands in the way of achieving your goal it is very easy to quit. It takes true determination to continue to thrive in this environment. The important action to take in this circumstance to meet the roadblock head on and keep your eye on your goals. Take it one day at a time because most problems or roadblocks aren’t solved in a day. If achieving all your goals ere easy everyone would accomplish everything that they put their minds to. Determination is what sets apart the men from the boys and women from the girls.

Getting past the obstacles is only the half of it. Keeping yourself focused on your goal is the major issue. As I was saying earlier. Obstacles are overcome in just one day but goals aren’t met in one day either. Sometimes people get bored with goals or just don’t have the determination to stick with the goal. Determination can also be applied to the time commitment involved with a goal. Time is a huge obstacle. In order to achieve the goal you need to make time for it. This is very hard for a lot of people because they have other duties and responsibilities that may take precedence over the goal. If your goal is going to make you happy and prosperous than that should hold as much importance as anything else in your life. There must be a balance between responsibilities. If accomplishing your goal makes life stressful at the time but will benefit you at the end than the goal is worth the hardship.

You need to keep pressing forward and don’t allow yourself to regress. If you regress than it is twice as hard to regain that ground that was lost. One example would be dieting around the holidays. You are doing great and losing lots o weight, but then Thanksgiving hits!. You happen to have three Thanksgivings to go to over the next four days. What do you do? Well, there a few options. Pig out, sleep on the couch and watch the Lions game. Pig out and exercise to make up for it. Eat in moderation and enjoy the time with your family. The easiest choice is to pig out and sleep obviously, but when it comes to controlling eating habits it is a slippery slope. Once you start overeating it is extremely hard to go back to eating in moderation. The point is that it takes determination and a fixation on your goal not to regress or quit when you meet resistance.

Determination is a very hard attribute to describe. It is an attribute as well as and attitude or a lifestyle. Some are aggressive when it comes to accomplishing a goal while others are more passive. It takes equal amounts of determination to reach your full potential no matter who you are. It is a very long road and you need to stick with it and be determined to succeed. Determined to be the best that you can be.

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