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Trouble w/ Fire department & want to be a Paramedic

Posted by on Jul. 29, 2007 at 4:25 PM
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Hey ladies...I am currently an EMT-Basic right now.  I have been for a few years.  I've only worked as a volunteer in a small town.  So I probably don't have quite the experience a big town medic might have.  But I do love being an EMT.  I'm waiting on our technology center to host another Paramedic class.  You only have to be a basic to enroll.  The bad thing is it's only 2 nights a week.  So it will take at least a year and a half or 2 to finish.  This is something I really want to do.  I'm just wondering for those of you who are in or have taken the class ...what is it like and what should I expect?  I'm a fast learner.  My hubby teaches up to the Intermediate level.  So I'm going to have him help me.  I wanted to take the Intermediate but the Paramedic only comes along every 2 years and there are no Intermediate classes before it.   Also we just moved back to my hometown of about 10,000.  The fire department here runs the ambulance service and there are absolutely NO females on the department.  I've know all the guys up there forever...but I'm having a hard time getting on the EMS side because I am a female.  This is what some of the guys have told me.  I am so frustrated!  Since when does me being a woman decide if I get hired or not?  I don't want to be the type to make a big deal about it.  But they can't say I'm not qualified b/c 3/4 of the guys there have been EMT's just as long as I have and the rest have just become EMT's.  Fire department just took over EMS a few years ago.  The city made the fireman become EMT"s to save money.  So I figured that they'd like a break and let someone who wants to take call do it.  A lot of the guys say they don't care.  But the cheif is the one pussyfooting around about it.  What would you ladies do?  I really need some good advice.  I plan on going to talk to the cheif again this week.  It's been over a month since I asked to be a volunteer.  I don't even want to get paid.  I'll be damned if I'm going to beg to be a part of a service that isn't even going to be paying me.  Sorry...so frustrated...anyone have any advice or been through this?
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by on Jul. 29, 2007 at 4:25 PM
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Replies (1-5):
ambulancechick
by New Member on Jul. 29, 2007 at 4:50 PM
There's a thing called equal opportunity, and descrimination. Half of our fire dept. both city and county are female. Every woman who is qualified is given a chance. To get into the fire academy they have to pass the physical requirements. Once there they train along side the men and are treated the same. Our volunteer fire depts. allow women and they train along side the men and are treated the same. As long as you have qualifications and the willingness to learn and can physically do the job, the fire dept should give you a chance.

As for Paramedic school. Depending on your states requirments, it's gonna be challenging. You'll be refreshing the knowledge you gained in EMT school and learning new skills. Your knowledge of body systems will go into further depths. Why does this happen and then cause this to happen, etc. How does each body system function to do it's job? How does one system affect other systems? You'll learn ACLS/PALS, BTLS, intubation, needle decompression, defibrillation, pacing, learning to read EKG's and the treatment for different arrthymias (ACLS) etc.. You'll refresh basic skills and learn more invasive skills. It will take up a lot of your time. Between working, school, clinicals, studying and home life you may feel like you are losing your mind. lol. But in the end it'll be worth it. You'll have more job security as a medic as opposed to EMT. Medics are utilized more in the hospital, ER's and many ambulance companies are trying to go to double medic trucks. Anything you do to increase your knowledge and skills is a valuable asset to yourself and to any company you chose to work for in the future. Congrats on medic school and good luck. You can do anything you set your mind to do.


Mamatobeof1
by on Aug. 5, 2007 at 10:12 PM

Unfortunantely, we are working in a "Mans Buisness" traditionaly. Every now and then I get some flack for being a female... I jsut remind them that I passed the same damn test that they did...so I dont know why having a penis would change one's abitlity to care for a Pt.

Anyways... you learn to ignore it, it is kind of fun too... proveing them wrong, and showing them up.

I work as a Paramedic down town Des Moines, IA.  We run anywhere from 25-40 calls a day... it is always hectic but grear experiance. I love what I do very much...

As for Paramedic School, it is a big commitment. A lot of memorization right off the bat with Pharmocology, then you will get into ACLS ( That is a whole other stress level... trying to learn all the rhythms and treatments there of) PALS, PEPP, NRP, PHTLS, ect... I do have to say though... it will all click. You will get fursterated and feel like there is no possible way that you will ever retain this much infomation in such a short amount of time... but you will. Once you got it, it's like second nature... like breathing. It is well worth it.... so give it a go!
smurfette0911
by New Member on Aug. 12, 2007 at 2:40 PM
OK here is the POO of small-town USA...... everyone there knows everything about everyone, your rep has been tarnished before you even step in the door thanks to some little tramp that was looking for an MRS. degree. Welcome back to Jr.high.... what people say to your face is always a whole lot better than what they are saying behind your back. I'm sorry but its true I'm sure if you talked to any female that started off in a small town you will hear stories. The guys are worried that you will be one of the few girls to cause problems like sleeping around , or crying sexual harassment every-time they tell a dirty joke. I've been there. You work hard to learn the craft and try to be the best you can be and some little girl comes in and stirs the poo. My best advice...... show them what you got. Ask to do ride alongs so they can see you in action. Ask if there is anything you can help with, special events fairs etc..... don't go away. You will wear them down. You see some guys like the fact that its a boys club, some are dominant males that think girls should be in the kitchen, and some just don't care either way. Others have been burned or know someone who has and fears you could be "their weakest link" but You have to be patient and persistent. No matter what don't get mad it will bite you. You could go to the papers/city council but all you will be doing is making enemies. Sounds stupid I know. You just have to be one of the guys. Its funny you'd think this would have gotten better since the womens movement and lawsuits. Good Luck
           Medic school is a lot of work, Mine was only 9 months long 5 days a week. you are lucky that you have the time to let all the information sink in and click. Use every tool you can get your hands on from your husband to your children(my kids would have to deal with me using them as a study guide) talk to seasoned medics get their ideas and advice. try to use your terms and a&p throughout everyday events. My daughter knew what and where her manubrium was when she was 2. too bad I can't spell it. It is very stressful but don't forget your self. I found my favorite study breaks were pedicures and massages. If you have to wait for some time to start try to get into a college Pharm class it will help you so much.
heartfelt1971
by New Member on Aug. 13, 2007 at 4:08 AM
Can't say much about the paramedic part, never went past Intermediate.  But I can relate to the problems with being given a chance.   When I started working in EMS 15 years ago, it was for a small rural department.  The only women who had worked there previously were the wives of the guys that worked there.  There were 4 of us "girls" that started at the same time.....only 2 "survived".  It took a LOT of patience, determination, and attitude at times.  For a long time, they refused to allow two females to work the same crew...."what if the patient is heavy?"  We were separate from the F.D., but closely associated as it was a small town.  We were treated like crap.....had to take the "bad shifts", the crappy calls, holidays, etc....I was insulted, accused of sleeping with the guys i worked with...you name it...it happened.   When I got pregnant with my first, I had another job full time so i took off during that time...with the second child, I worked until a week before i had her (they got worried when i started having contractions in the back of the ambulance on a call....)....but a lot of the guys developed a greater respect for the females on the crew, others wanted the boss to put me on leave. 
But, we got through it, and it was a "volunteer" department......we paved the way for the ones that are there now.  
There were times when I wanted to give up and just say to heck with it..  I spent the last 2 years i was there as a full time employee and the other half of my crew?  A female Medic....the same woman that started as an EMT when I did.  It took time....but it happened.....but we put a LOT of work into it.
Good Luck
Samalama144
by New Member on Dec. 6, 2007 at 1:52 PM
I remember when I worked in the ER at my local hospital and wanting so badly to get hired on to the ambulance service.  At that time there were no women working there and I was told there probably would never be any women working there. Well I'm proud to say that I have been working there for 3 years now and love it.  I'm not treated any different if anything knowing "the guys" before hand gave me a bit of a break.  You need to go for what you want and dont let anything stop you!! As for Paramedic class, it's a lot of work and it's easy to get wrapped up and think too much into things.  I am better at learning by doing rather than text books and the dummies aren't much of a good hands on tool.  But you can make it through the class just fine if you really want it and work hard at it. And just as basic class, the majority of it is common sence if you know your protocols and treat your patients not your equipment it comes fairly easy.  Good luck and I hope you go for it all! :)
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