Monday, June 28, 2010

Why did I spend 150$ on this?

Before I became a Paramedic, I heard about this little thing called the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians. My state had just recently adopted their standards, and from everything I heard, it was great! If you moved, you could practice your EMT and Paramedic skills without going through another states' program, or jumping through hoops. All you had to do was show your shiny NREMT card and you were in. It was like holding the golden ticket of epic proportions.

Flash forward about eight years.

I am sitting in my new state of residence, waiting to go through a protocol class...a state exam...a con-ed update...ALS Skills Review...and a four to six week long Paramedic school.

I learned all of these drugs with their respective dosages in my Paramedic Class. I can do everything they can do...because I've been playing Paramedic for a while. I've only been out of service for a month or so...AND I have my little NREMT card! I'm in a bordering state, and I was told that resciprocity would be easy. Sign a piece of paper, flash my card like a cop badge, and I'd be legal.

They were wrong.

I spent 150$ on a test that caused considerable anxitey that I thought would be a good thing to have because I had planned on moving years ago when I took this class. The only thing it did was keep me from having to go through EMT and Paramedic school all over again. At this point, I have at least three months until I can play Paramedic again. Until then, I fortunately found a little service who was willing to take a homeless Paramedic in and let her run as a crew assistant. I get to fetch stretchers and play gopher for the other EMT's and Medics on the truck.

I was depending on the ease of transferability to get a job. I wasn't able to start the resciprocity until I was affiliated with a service, but I had to wait until I was here to start the hiring process. I was told repeatedly by the state that the whole process shouldn't take more than two weeks. The minute I get here, that's when I find out about all the hoops I have to jump through.

After doing some research, I found out that over 40 states require you to go through "refresher classes", which is code word for paramedic school, over time periods as short as 3 weeks, to as long as 14. On top of that, you have to jump through other hoops that the local heads of the EMS departments have in mind. Some require you to take multiple con-ed hours in addition to other classes.

What was the whole point of getting my NREMT if it doesn't transfer over easily. I understand doing the Hey, we want to make sure you actually know the difference between a nasal cannula and a non-rebreather mask class, but seriously...40+ hours of classes to get the job?

I'd do it no matter what...which is why I'm going through the craziness, but I'm lucky to be able to. Getting the job is hard enough, but getting to the promised land only to be told that you have to wait to pull a paycheck until you get through with three months of classes is just ridiculous.

I am so furious right now, I can't see straight. Every time I turn around, a new hurdle pops up. Part of me would rather go back through their Paramedic class than sit here and wait and pray that my resciprocity comes through soon.

Pissed off in Medic Land...


  1. I'm refreshing in NYC and a Medic from Minnesota is stuck with us... A Critical Care Flight Medic... A very smart medic... He flies here and back for class. Just for reciprocity.... I feel like i'm taking crazy pills!
    -bill (@murphquake)

  2. AD sent me. Seems the problem isn't with the NR, but states not wanting to give up testing and cert fees to some private agency filling a niche. Hope to read more soon,

  3. Is everyone else having the same problems? It seems like such a waste of time to have a national standard and not follow it. Do all of the states have the same standard?
    Sorry for all the questions...I'm writing from Canada so I'm not too familiar with how EMS works down there.