Southwestern College

Preparation for Paramedic School - suggestions from faculty and successful students:

Ride along with experienced paramedics. Ask around… find a paramedic who is respected in the EMS community, someone who completed paramedic school in the last 4-5 years. As an observer, you should be able to perform EMT skills, vital signs, assessments, etc. Pay special attention to how the call is run, the overall scene management that "gets the job done". Performing a complete and organized patient assessment is the most difficult part of the call. Learn "special questions" for chief complaints; if you don't know why the medic asked a particular question, look up the patient's condition or ask! (After the call, of course.)

Take advantage of free or inexpensive CE classes in the community. If you already work for an ALS provider you have several educational opportunities that will help you get a good start. ACLS, PALS, EKG classes are offered frequently in San Diego. Get on the internet and search for free study guides and teaching sites. Visit the bookstore & library at UCSD (Medical School) or your local bookseller looking for self-paced workbooks in cardiology, anatomy, physiology, math/calculation, etc.

NEW TEXTBOOK Buy (or borrow) textbooks, especially the primary text. We are now using Emergency Care on the Street, AAOS, Nancy Caroline, 7th Ed. ISBN: 978-1-4496-4586-1. (Discount link from the publisher will be provided at Orientation.) Study the key terms from each chapter. Review the A&P chapter, start reading and outlining chapters. Pick up a copy of the Prehospital Protocols and Treatment Guidelines from the EMS office. The "Pocket Guide" produced by the San Diego County Paramedic Association is an excellent reference, available in the bookstore or at County EMS. (See "links" for address) Read clinical articles in professional journals (JEMS, Emergency Medical Services, etc.) Dust off you’re A&P notes and textbook and review them.

Make good use of your EMT experience. Read patient's medical records on those long transports. The "History & Physical" page will tell you all about the patient's condition: signs/symptoms, treatment, complications. Do assessments the way you learned them in EMT school! Obtain info for the trip ticket without looking at the boxes. Listen to lung sounds, take lots of vitals in the back of the rig. On CCT calls, pay attention to the EKG, meds given and patient response to treatment. ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS!!Take responsibility for ACTIVE learning. The more you know coming in, the easier time you will have. There is a lot to learn in a short time provoking lots of stress. The more exposure you get to ALS calls, the easier your field internship will be. If you have never seen a patient have a seizure or rapidly decompensate from CHF or asthma, YOU are likely to have a tachycardic episode the first time. Especially when you are responsible for the medical management of the patient. It is better that you see these conditions before "the pressure's on" in your internship.

Take the Paramedic Prep Class. Each fall, spring and summer semester, at least one section of EMTP115 is offered. The Prep class is REQUIRED because students who take it are generally more successful in the program. The class covers some of the "trouble areas" of paramedic school: math, EKG interpretation, pharmacology intro and patient assessment. Check the college website/schedule for more information.

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Last updated: 6/27/2016 7:59:45 AM