Wow, I put this post off way too long and almost fell asleep watching Friends. Last night I got distracted by my packing expedition, and forgot to write about my test.
Yesterday morning I took my written National Registry test to become a certified EMT. Of course, I’m not allowed to talk about any of the test questions, but I’m free to share my overall experience and impressions with you all!
I’m also using the WordPress app to write a post for the first time. If anything looks funky on a laptop I won’t know until tomorrow.
Getting back to the test, it went well. My EMT class was through F-M Ambulance in Fargo, ND and they did a great job preparing us.
Looking back, here are a few tips for anyone starting out.
Volunteer for everything.
I raised my hand starting the very first day and I didn’t know anything. Yes, I botched a few scenarios and screwed up in front of my class, but I’d do that a hundred times to avoid just one mistake when a real person is depending on me.
Do as many ride alongs as possible.
This is the best way to see if EMS is right for you and a great way to learn. Real life comes up with crazier scenarios than teachers ever will. I did three and I regret not doing more.
Ask the paramedics you ride with what they’re doing and why. Ask about hypothetical situations and about stuff that’s happened to you. This is what learning is about.
Talk to your instructors.
Get to know the people teaching you. Depending on where you go to school, they could become your coworkers. Be vocal, be attentive, and make friends.
Talk to your patients.
EMS is about patients. Talk to the real patients you see on ride alongs. Talk to the mannequins in your scenarios even when it feels dumb. Get to know the people you serve in your community. Be there for them.
Make a study group.
Work together. EMS can be a tight knot group so start building strong relationships with the people in it with you. Groups are also a great way to stay motivated, share ideas and information, and have fun studying.
Get comfortable with a little weird.
The people drawn to EMS are their own kind of weird. There will be naked people. There will be dark humor. There is also comraderie and compassion. Soak it all in.
Practice makes perfect.
Training to be an EMT is intimidating but it’s your time to practice. You won’t come out as the best, or even the best you can be, because that takes time and lots of experience. What you can do is practice. Practice communicating with teammates, relating to patients, and jumping in. Take the time. Put in the effort. The tests will be fine and it will be worth it.
Finally, about testing specifically:
Don’t psych yourself out.
Reaching the testing phase means you’ve survived everything else. The work is done, the homework is done, the hours of lab time and skill stations are done. You’re ready, you are prepared, and you have the skills you need to become an EMT.
Then you can join me: out of the classroom, through the test, and into real life, which is much scarier.
Good luck to everyone studying, testing, and working. Goodnight.