Tuesday, June 22

It Is Official!

I had a great time in Austin and will write up some observations soon.

We got home last night (after flying for most of the day) and my EMT card was waiting for me in the mail. I am now “certified” (why not licensed like most professonals?) as an “Emergency Medical Technician – Basic” by the state.

The state won’t tell you which questions you missed or what the answers were to the questions (in fact, you don’t ever get to see the questions again). They do, however, break your score down by area. Given different states likely test differently, I thought I’d show the breakdown of questions in my state. Below I list the area, number of questions asked in that area, the state average, and for my own purposes, my score. The descriptions of areas are straight from the state and I don’t claim to know what all the abbreviations mean.

Intro EMT training / Anat&Assmt: 9 / 8.1 / 9
Airway OBS&RESP ARRST / CPR / ADJ: 21 /18.1 / 20
Bleeding & Shock: 8 / 5.8 / 8
Soft Tiss Inj / Fx Principles: 12/ 10.1 / 11
Head, Neck & Spine: 12 / 9.6 / 12
Chest & Abdomen: 8 / 7.1 / 8
Medical Emergencies: 12/ 10.5 / 12
Childbirth / Environ Emerg: 7 / 5.7 / 7
Burns / Haz Mat / Behav Emerg: 6 / 5.1 / 6
Lifting / Extric / Ambulance Ops: 5 / 4.3 / 4

Max Possible 100 / State Average 84.8 / My score: 97
(passing is a 70)

Our class lost about 20 people along the way. Everyone who survived to the end passed the state practical exam. All but two of us passed the written exam. Interestingly, the two who failed were both from the same volunteer fire department that also runs an ambulance. That corps has only 3 (yes, THREE) EMTs total (plus one paramedic) and really needed new people so it is not good news for their chief. I don’t know how much longer they can stay in service as even now they call for mutual aid for about 30% of their calls and everyone was just hanging on waiting for the new blood to give some help.

Of course I now am at just the beginning of a learning curve that will continue as I handle calls that don’t fit with any particular “textbook case”. Clearly textbook knowledge and test taking skills alone don’t make a good EMT. I do think, however, that I have the foundation set and all the feedback I have received from my corps suggests that my people skills and decision making abilities are coming along nicely. I look forward to learning and growing out in the field.