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#1 WVUMedic



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Posted 05 October 2014 - 11:09 PM

Hi Everyone,
I feel so blessed to have found this forum and all of you. There is such a wealth of knowledge and experience that it's truly awe striking. Let me give you a brief run down of myself, both as an introduction and to help state my question.

Paramedic since 2005
1 year mid range call volume in a costal district
1 year in a high volume urban invironment
3 years in a heavy 100k + a year call volume in major metro are
4 years in a rural environment with 1 hr plus transport times
Currently in CCT class, ending in Dec '14 (wish me luck!!)
FP-C to be taken shortly thereafter
All the alphabet classes

My goal is air medical once completing CCT and FP-C. Based on the various experience and services you have all been a part of, how do I appear as a candidate? Speaking in a general sense. Would you recommend any further training, certifications or experience? I'm in an area where metro/urban/high call volume is just not going to be found. I've noticed that is mentioned by almost every service I've looked into. I'm hoping the years I spent in metro areas prior will help. Any feedback is welcomed. Fly safe.
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#2 Jwade


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Posted 22 October 2014 - 06:06 PM



First and foremost, you don't need to be in awe of any of us on this forum. We put our pants on one leg at a time just like you............


Second,  While, I understand you want to do Air Medical in the future, just remember, it's just a job, always has been, always will be.........


Third,  Most HEMS flights are not needed, this FACT is beyond contestation.......You will see and do more on the ground, than you ever will in the air......


Fourth,  HEMS is a very expensive and fast taxi cab, the few patients that we fly who truly benefit from HEMS need a surgeon, not an RN or Paramedic......


Fifth,  As far as your quals,  should be fine i suspect.  Instructor credentials will help as well...... 2 schools of thought on having passed the FP-C before you have any flight experience......Some will think it shows ambition, some will think it shows a complete lack of respect for the job........  Anyone can pass a standardized test with enough study time, put that into practical application is the difficult part.......  The FP-C / CFRN is not really too difficult if you have the time and resources.....


Last, the bottom line is you can be taught what you need for the job, people basically just want to know are you teachable and can they stand working with you for 24 hours at a time.........


Also, no matter how bad you want to put on that flight suit and wear it to the mall or grocery store for the first time, don't take the first job offered to you if the company is marginal at best in terms of safety and previous accident and incident........This job is not worth losing your life over..........


Good Luck..


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John Wade MBA, CCEMT-P, FP-C, RN

"Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become" Steve Jobs

#3 USDalum97


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Posted 25 October 2014 - 06:49 PM

While John makes some good points, I will give some alternatives and other thoughts.


This is a job, like any any other job you could chose to do. You show up, you do good work, you go home, they pay you. Rinse and repeat.  However, it can be a very fun job. If you are someone who has to wake up and go to work a few days a week to earn a paycheck, I can't think of a better way to do it. Never settle for any job that you despise going in for. You won't be happy and your "production" will suffer. That hurts the patient who may not have a choice about who shows up to provide service to them.


There will be some flights that are hard to justify. There will be some over-triage, misguided assessments, and questionable decision making on who gets flown. Of course, if you've spent any time in a ground ambulance, you will realize the VAST MAJORITY of those patients are not suffering a true emergency either and could have gone POV, bus, cab, or walked. Welcome to America. 


Treat each patient like they need to be there. You probably don't have a choice, and there probably isn't anyone else waiting for your services either. So don't be bitter while in the moment. Fight the "justification" fight later.


If a manager says you didn't deserve to take the FP-C since you don't have flight experience, they either have a huge ego or don't realize what the FP-C is. It is an assessment of knowledge. If you know the material, you can pass the test. There is no skills section. It will be up to you to prove you can put that knowledge into practice. Of course, if you haven't taken it, the manager shouldn't expect you to be any less competent. So why not take it? If they become offended because you haven't shown enough "respect for the job", it's probably a safe bet the manager is a tool that would be difficult to work for anyway. 


Your prior experience should be good enough for most services. You will only know if you apply. There are plenty of openings if you are willing to relocate. 


I would modify John's statement: "Don't take the first job offered to you if the company is marginal at best in terms of safety and previous accident or incident". I would advise you to NOT APPLY to a company with a marginal safety record. Do your homework before applying. http://www.ntsb.gov/aviationquery/


Good luck.


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#4 Gila


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Posted 26 October 2014 - 04:49 PM

I'll also mention the elephant in the room. Research should be your primary concern. You need to aggressively research any company you are looking at working for. You need to find out about the safety culture of said company and you need to look into their history of safety incidents and violations. Sobering statistic I recently read in a nationally recognized critical care curriculum: On the average, if you work 20 hours a week as a flight medic in the United States, there is about a 50% probability of dying during a 20 year career. Let that sink in. You have a baby when you start flying and there's a reasonable chance you will not live long enough to see your baby graduate college. Good luck and please consider the safety aspect of what you are getting into. Also consider the fact that even if you do not die, there are real psychological forms of damage that can occur from watching friends and colleagues die. Sorry to be such a killjoy but these sobering issues must be considered.
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Christopher Bare
"Non fui, fui, non sum, non curo "

#5 FiremedicMike


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Posted 27 October 2014 - 03:05 PM

There tends to be a lot of doom and gloom on this forum.. I can't say I'm immune, as I recently left my flight job.  


That said, I'll add my mix in here.


Flying is fun, don't let some of the grumpos on this board tell you otherwise, and there's nothing wrong with that little grin on your face when you put your flight suit on. It's sad how much effort we take to beat the enthusiasm out of the young guys.  I'm not saying you should wear it to Tim Hortons and tell your friends you're a hero, but it's ok to be excited.


I have worked ground ALS, ground MICU, and HEMS.  Each has their up points and down points.  MICU/HEMS tend to have the most robust protocols, and while the majority of your calls will be pick up, leave, and monitor in place, there are times when you'll be using equipment, drugs, and procedures that you will never get the opportunity to do in ground ALS.  


The three biggest downsides to HEMS, from my perspective, were;

1.  Volume - even busy services are generally only taking 2-3 patients per day.  My upbringing at a firehouse that is much busier than that meant I was boooooooorrrrreeeeddd..

2.  Patient access - I can't speak for the big twins, but most programs are flying little singles now.  Patient access blows in all of the little ships.  None of them are ideal for HEMS and they all have their unique downsides for accessing portions of the patient.

3.  Reporting - my goodness critical care reporting is lame.  1-2 hours per report?  LAME! (only ever used Zoll and golden hour for critical care reporting, maybe there's better programs out there).



Finally, just go into it knowing that it's a dangerous job.  You'll hear all sorts of opinions on this and that, and I won't be a party to yet another argument on this forum about the validity of one company versus another.  Just remember, every airframe and every vendor have had fatal crashes.  People like to blame equipment or engines, but when you actually read NTSB reports, it is almost always a poor decision or series of decisions on the part of the pilot, crew, or both.  Keep your head up and don't be afraid to say "nope, not going on this one".

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