I had my EMT written exam tonight and I just got back. It was at the same place as my EMT class. All in all, it wasn’t too bad. It was kind of a challenging test, it spans a lot of topics and really makes you second guess yourself. The test is designed to have questions where every answer is correct and it’s your job to evaluate priority and stupid stuff like that.
There was also a lot of “Place these patients in order of priority” questions which really make you nuts. They’ll give you five people and their conditions and make you decide which needs to get to the hospital first. It’s hard to describe, but that’s something you just…do, when you’re in the field.
When the test was over, it was 110 questions, I went back and refused to change my answers or second guess myself. I did, however, tally up any and every question I had any doubt, suspicion, trouble or issue with and it totaled up to only about 20. So at a awful, worst case scenario, I pulled off with an 80 - but I know I probably did a lot better.
Oh well, here’s to the longest four weeks of my life coming up, test results don’t come out until September.
So after all the stuff I went through during my EMT Class, it’s finally about to be over. I have my EMT written examination tomorrow. After getting a perfect score on the practical late last month, I’ve been studying (a lot less than I should), but at this point - I know what I know.
The test is at 7PM tomorrow and is around 150 questions that could be anything from “What’s the second stage of labor” to “If you’re called to the home of an armed gunman, do you go in before the police” to “It is not uncommon to not see a patient with pericardial tamponade with a feeling of angina”. I wish they’d all be the blatantly obvious kind, but most likely they’ll be throwing the double and triple negatives at us all over the place.
Today was my New York State EMT practical assessment. Besides the written exam in August, we have a skills exam where we have to demonstrate proficiency performing certain skills like patient assessment, handling a cardiac arrest, immobilizing a spine, controlling bleeding, splinting, basically everything you can an EMT for, we have to be able to do.
I got there at 8:30AM and we went over the rules and procedures. Then it started. I’m luckily early in the alphabet so my first station came pretty quickly. It was KED/Spinal Immobilization. I thought it went well, except the kid I was doing it on was a punk and wouldn’t sit up straight.
Then I sat around for a while and eventually we got into this rotational setup where we’d rotate through the other stations. I did Medical Assessment and felt like I aced it. Then I did Bleeding Control, Bag Valve Mask/Airway, AED/Cardiac Arrest and finally, my scariest station, Trauma Assessment.
I finished up all my stations at 11:50AM. Then I sat there. And waited. And waited. And waited. FINALLY, at 1:45PM I was called into “the back room” to get my results. After a long and dramatic pause, I was told I passed all the stations without any trouble and officially passed the NYS practical exam!
- EMT Instructor: Good, once you elevate the leg, how much traction do you apply?
- Me: Well, I'd say a couple of clickies to the right would be good.
- EMT Instructor: A couple of clickies? Can you be more specific?
- Me: Well, it's just enough to elevate the leg and provide support for the fracture.
- EMT Instructor: Better, and how do you support the fracture?
- Me: Well, you tighten the belty thing and put the strap over the sticky-out part.
- EMT Instructor: Excellent, you've really mastered the essence of medical vocabulary.
Today was my last lecture day for my EMT class. It was a long one, we had to basically finish everything in the textbook we hadn’t done yet, which added up to about 100 pages. I’m another step closer to being done with the class and being certified.
The rest of the week we have all skills days. We’re going to be going though all the different stations for the practical assessment that’s on Monday. After that, I have the course final on Tuesday and then I’m done. The only thing left after that will be the NYS written assessment at the end of August.
"Question 36, true or false, an automated external defibrillator can check your pulse. The answer is: false. Let’s look at the numbers on that one. 40% of you said true. And 40% of this room now officially scares the shit out of me."
I was just finishing up my homework for my EMT class tonight and went to the schedule to make sure I had everything done when I realized that I only have a few more classes left before the state exam. I have three more lectures and four more skill practice days. That’s kinda crazy and a little scary at the same time.
I’ve gone through almost the entire textbook and my workbook is almost totally empty, filled only with the scraps from when I rip the pages out. All I have left is some wrap up stuff like Geriatrics, Hazardous Materials and stuff like that and a few more chances to practice my skills before I’m evaulated by New York State.
Freaking out, yes.
Yesterday, I had my first ride out for my EMT class. Basically, it’s a chance to spend an eight hour shift on an ambulance with two trained EMTs who can give you tips and let you practice skills while on calls.
I got to Jamaica about forty minutes before I had to and went to 7-11 to kill some time. When I finally got to the garage where the ambulances are stationed the supervisor told me that the rig I was assigned to be on doesn’t leave from here and that I was supposed to be told that by my teachers, which of course didn’t happen.
So finally at around 8:30 AM they gave me a new rig to take with Sal and Louie. Yeah, Sal was a really cool older italian guy and Louie was a spanish guy and they were both awesome. Louie had been an EMT for over 20 years and Sal has been one for 41 years. After the rig check, we left the garage and went down to our post. We sat on the corner of a street for a good hour just talking, albeit sometimes awkward. It’s hard to make conversation when you’re just sitting there with nothing really in common except your job ambition. Sal and Louie, both happily married, had fun “picking” women that passed by on the street and rating them. The criteria, and I quote - “there’s got to be some giggle and being able to fit my beer on her ass is a plus”.
Anyway, we got our first call a little while later and the day picked up from there. Over the course of the shift we had:
- a 73 year old woman with abdominal pain that couldn’t walk or move
- a 72 year old woman that slipped on a puddle and broke her arm
- a 50 year old woman that had a UTI and was uncontrollably bleeding
And the kicker, just as we were eating lunch, we got an assist call for a motor vehicle accident that had “greater than 7 patients”. So we rushed over there (click here for a video of it that I posted on YouTube). It was a crazy call and I learned a lot on it.
Overall, the day was really a lot of fun and I learned a lot. I have another ride-out next week which I can’t wait to get done so then I’m one step closer to getting certified.
"Will you text me every once in a while so I know you weren’t mugged?"
Tomorrow I have my first of two clinical rotations or “road shifts” for my EMT class. To get certified as an EMT, you need to complete at least 16 hours of duty time at a place affiliated with the class. Unfortunately, all my time at SUA and now MCA doesn’t count but it should be interesting.
The two sites we could pick from were:
- Lennox Hill, New York City
- Jamaica, Queens
I ended up picking Jamaica because parking is a lot easier and it’s a “different” kind of suburb. My instructor kind of made me nervous today because he was like “well, you could get a really nice EMT to work with or you could get stuck on an ambulance with a crew that suck and don’t want you there”. Really nice Malcolm, thanks for the words of encouragement.
Anyway, I have to wake up at like 6AM tomorrow to drive out to Jamaica, park, find my ambulance and then ride around Queens for eight hours. Should be interesting.
I’ve seen a lot of stuff in my time working on ambulances. I’m pretty much okay handling anything. You see so much blood, guts and throw up that it stops bothering you after a while but one thing that really scares me is cardiac arrest.
Its one of the only types of calls that I’ve never handled yet. Tonight, I was doing my EMT homework which was some reading on cardiovascular and respiratory emergencies including cardiac arrest.
The textbook basically spells everything out and explains how to handle the situation, what to do, the signs to look for and the treatment so that you’re totally prepared for it. But think about how weird that is. The book is like “remain calm and refer to your mental flow guide to process the steps in order”.
Okay cool, so this guy just stops breathing and their heart stops and you have screaming kids and family members saying “HELP HIM” and he’s gasping for breath or shaking or seizing and you’re supposed to just nonchalantly put them on the ground start pumping their chest and hook up an AED like it’s nothing. And while that’s happening, you got other people running around hooking up tubes and slipping IV tubes in their arms and pushing air into their lungs and trying to get moving as quickly as possible.
I guess experience will make it easier, but I know the first one is going to be rough.
Dear Fellow Escalator Users,
By definition, an escalator is a motor driven device used to transport people between floors. It was designed to make movement easier and speed up the process of going up or down stairs. Just because it does the moving for you, does not give you the right to get on and and just STOP. This is especially true on escalators that are smaller and can only fit one person width-wise.
I hope we can resolve our differences and I’ll never be late to class again.