My employer runs a paramedic program. When I say that the company runs a paramedic program, what I want you to take away from that is that the company supplies a physical location for a paramedic program, and students to fill the chairs.
But, they attached the words “EMS Academy” to it, so maybe it is sorta-kinda-official.
Whatever. It’s a moot point.
My employer runs a paramedic program.
Being one of the company’s Field Training Officers, I get to see the aftermath of the paramedic program, when the newly graduated paramedics spend several shifts riding with me. Some of them aren’t prepared, but most are.
I was having a talk with another FTO, Tony, while at the hospital a few days ago. This must have been early in a shift, because I actually cared about the topic.
Tony mentioned that he rarely sees the same paramedic student more than twice, and that each student does at least twenty rides at our company. He thought it would be wise for a student in our paramedic program to be ‘assigned’ to an FTO for the duration of their preceptor rides.
While we’re on the subject…our program is putting paramedic students on ambulances for their preceptor rides after three months of school. They don’t know how to read a monitor, and they aren’t allowed to perform any ALS interventions. What the hell is the point of riding for twelve hours on an ambulance if you can’t do anything?
Tony made a good point. After ten rides or so, there should be a pretty good rapport between an FTO and a student. They should be able to communicate openly with each other, so the student can get the most out of their classroom time, and their ambulance time. After twenty rides, any bad habits should be corrected, and the FTO can feel confident in his evaluation of the student. Alongside the FTO’s confidence in his evaluation, the course director can feel confident in the evaluations he gets from the FTO.
But instead, the students just ride whenever, and wherever. Rarely more than once with the same paramedic, or even with an FTO.
So Tony and I brought it up to the director of the program.
“Assign each student to an individual FTO. We have twenty-five students, and eighteen FTOs. Surely we can come up with a list of seven competent medics to fill the roster of needed FTOs. Once a student is assigned to an FTO, that student does all of their rides with that FTO. It only makes sense.”
We got a reply:
“Well, that would just be too hard, and we don’t want to make it any harder on the students.”
This is why I don’t care.