Wednesday, January 19, 2011
What I Would Do If I Was Rich (Don't Quit Your Day Job)
Back in the day, when there was nothing to do and it was too early to head for the hacienda it was inevitable that the current Team Sergeant would announce to the 18Ds that it was time for some medical cross training. Hell when I was a Team sergeant I did it myself. Medical training was appropriate for a few reasons, it is a perishable skill which requires repetitious practice, if both medics where down in combat or busy who was going to treat the other wounded, and it was easy to do. So grab a few IV administration sets and a SAM split and go to town. Thing was I always liked this training and to this day I would put any one of my medics on any of the ODA's I was on up against anybody for all around knowledge and medical skill. Thanks Carl, Glenn, Jeff, Matt, Mike, Curley,Craig,Jerry,Aaron, Chris, Ron and any other 18D that ever showed me anything.
So going on five years ago I took the EMT-B course because of this interest in medical "stuff." However at the time I took it because it was a prerequisite to get on the local fire department, the action guy in me thought I might like to be a firefighter. Well the department wasn't hiring that year and I was too old to wait so I moved on and started volunteering my time at a rural ambulance service. Most of the services here in Iowa are volunteer and rural. Well fast forward to the present day and I am a member of the leadership council at that service and I also work as a paid albeit part time EMT on another rural ambulance service. So between both services I am on call about 140-200 hours a month mostly overnights because , hey, I still have a day job. And that is the main issue with why I don't do EMS full time. Big secret if you don't know and I think most people don't but EMS personnel are paid not much more than your local convenience store clerk. An EMT-B makes an average of $9-$10 an hour that is if they are even paid and aren't volunteers. Paramedics get paid more but not a lot more. I think this is a travesty and a shame. The EMS personnel I know are some of the most dedicated people you will ever meet. Hundreds of calls are run and lives are saved every year by people that cultivate their skills and service their communities and expect nothing in return. Next time you see an Ambulance or someone in EMS, tell them thanks for me.
So in a nutshell that is why I don't do this full time. However because I am a definite TYPE "A" I am doing the best I can to progress in my knowledge of EMS as fast as I can. Sometimes this doesn't seem very fast but slow moving wheels still turn. Currently I am attending the EMT-Intermediate course with the intention of transitioning to the Advanced-EMT designation when the National EMS Standards come into full effect in the next few years. I also plan on trying to get into the Paramedic course next Winter. However despite the pay issues this is a very popular course, I wasn't able to get in this year. Hopefully by the time I am 50 I will be a qualified paramedic running on an ambulance service somewhere. Then when I retire from my day job I can run ambulance calls to stay busy. I will also be able to drink coffee and bore the young kids while I alternate between "When I was in Special Forces " and "When I was a Paramedic" stories. That will be some good times.