Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Making a decision

Here we are, on NaBloPoMo day #2.  I've kept up so far! Ha!

I have a decision to make.
I have about a month in which to make the decision, maybe a little longer.

Here's the situation:
Currently, I am an EMT-I in a low volume, non-transporting, volunteer situation.
What that means is that since becoming an Intermediate, I have had zero opportunity to practice any of the Intermediate skills out here. That's not a complaint, exactly. I knew, going in, that there would be little such opportunity.

Because of the agency I volunteer for, I have also had zero support for continuing training in any of those skills (or any other, for that matter). I have access to equipment to practice intubation with, so I do that on my own. I do not have access to a way to practice IVs, so I have to basically "mime" my way through that, and do everything except the actual stick.

This is not an optimal situation, by any means.

Starting in January, I have the opportunity to take the EMT-CC class, should I choose to do so. This is the decision I need to make.

On the "take it!" side of the decision:

1. Regular, quality training. Classes twice a week for much of a semester. Far and away better than I have available now.

2. I don't know how much lab time is devoted to the skills I already know, but I'm sure I could work something out and come in early or something to get some practice time, if it isn't already built in. And it may well be.

3. Cardiology! A lot of the "new" information in the class is about 12-leads, and I LOVE this stuff. I already know more about it than most people at my level of training, both because I find it so interesting, and because of a patient or two who provided an opportunity to study up. If I had my life to do over, I'd be a cardiologist.

4. Ride time. That means supervised practice with high-quality professional folks. Can only be a good thing.

On the "I'm not so sure" side of the "argument":

1. I will not have any opportunity to do any of the new skills out here. Period. This agency does not support them. No monitor. No ability to give drugs above the Basic level. I have no reason to expect that it would change unless there is a dramatic change of leadership out here, and even then, even if we HAD those abilities, we still have automatic ALS/transport back up on the way, so rarely get more than a few minutes with a patient.

2. Time. Time taken away from my already full plate of stuff I do. Not just for classes, but for any clinical and ride time. As much as I need it, and enjoy it, and want to do it... there's still the matter of WHEN to get things done. This was a HUGE issue during Intermediate. It took me WAY longer to get all the procedures in because the call volume and types of calls on the shifts I did weren't particularly helpful a lot of the time. Yes, I learned a LOT of stuff on every shift- but as a single parent, the sheer amount of time was an issue.

How do I find the balance here?
I need the training, I'd love the classes, it's all stuff I want to do... but I have kids, and a job, and the time commitment is a challenge.

I can negate the "wouldn't be able to use it out here" issue by finding a job with an ambulance company, and this training would definitely make that easier.
But that adds another whole dimension to the decision, since working for an ambulance means less time for the job I have NOW, which I also love (and have trained for 12 years to do!).

What I really need is more hours in a day.
Working for an ambulance, I'd get more WAKING hours in a day, but not more total hours. :-0
Maybe the answer is simply to get a LOT more efficient at time management.
Or to move somewhere with public transportation so we wouldn't end up needing more cars, if I'm not providing transportation.
Or to win the lottery. Money can make a lot of stumbling blocks go away.
Or to find a co-parent, which isn't a realistic possibility, for a variety of reasons.

What I'd really like to do isn't an option, I don't think.
I'd love to take the class just for the information and training. Not for getting certified. Just to know more,  to be better at BLS. To have more supervised practice at things.
That way, I could do as much ride time as is practical, without having to stress out my entire family.
But if I do that... the state doesn't pay, and I can't afford to pay for it myself.

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