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  • Welcome to the Blackbelt Medic. This is the web home of Nathaniel Bland: Former Firefighter, Paramedic, EMS Educator, 2nd Degree Blackbelt, and student.

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Tuesday, 01 July 2014 00:00

Back in the swing of all things EMS!

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So, this article is, as the title suggests, kind of the first student-related post I’ve made. Even though my medic program doesn’t start until August, I can just easily rephrase that as, “my medic program starts next month.”

Let’s let that sink in for a bit….yeah….ugh. I’m excited to get this under way, but yet I can’t help but be nervous about the workload. I’ve heard horror stories about this. I’ve heard of marriages dissolving because of paramedic school. Well, I don’t have to worry about THAT specifically, but I’m still wondering how this is really going to feel. This is the reason I came to New Mexico and I’m giving this all I got. At the same time, I’m going to be honest here, I’ve met medics that make me think, “Well, if THEY can do I certainly ought to be able to!” That’s kind of harsh perhaps, but it’s what I got.


I started reading the main medic book this summer in an effort to get a jump start on all the reading. I’m not studying it really, just slowly reading it trying to gain a broad overview of what’s going on. Trying to grasp that major points of each part; I really think this’ll help when the time comes that I’m studying it to pass tests. At least it won’t be my first exposure to the material.

So, onto the program itself: I’m taking part in only the second class run through one of UNM’s branch campuses located in Los Lunas, New Mexico. The UNM Valencia Campus (From here on out, the “VC”) is a community college branch of UNM but one through which they run these degree program classes that are upper division. This is unique because with the exception of labs, tests, and other extraneous things, the program does all of its didactic work online. It’s a combination of book work, quizzes, journaling, video lectures, and live chats. It allows for a greater flexibility in my time. Don’t get me wrong, it’ll be challenging. I’ve often found online classes harder than their on-campus counterparts because there are more parts involved. We’ll see how this goes.

Here are the classes I’m taking this fall:

  1. EMS 309 Prehospital Med and Ops
  2. EMS 310 Prehospital Pharmacology
  3. EMS 311 Medical Assessment & Management
  4. EMS 312 Cardiology and Pulmonology
  5. EMS 341 Paramedic Lab I

Clinical’s begin this next spring. I’m looking forward to that. But in the mean time here’s the current book list, which may change before we begin:

  1. Pharmacology For The Prehospital Professional: Revised Edition
  2. Online ECG Companion for ECGs Made Easy
  3. Paramedic Practice Today: Above And Beyond
  4. RAPID ACLS - Revised Reprint
  5. PALS Pediatric Advanced Life Support: Study Guide
  6. ACLS Study Guide
  7. ALS Skills Review
  8. 12-Lead ECG: The Art of Interpretation

The scuttlebutt around the medic student water cooler is that there’s more coming this year in terms of physiology texts as well. Great! MORE BOOKS I HAVE TO BUY…..oh well. It is what it is.

The program begins with an orientation at some TBA date in August and then beginning in late August class starts. I have to be in-person at the VC Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday each week from 17:30-21:30 for lab. The rest of the program is clinical and online. Let’s compare this to the main campus program which has students there Monday through Thursday from 07:30-17:00. There’s nothing wrong with that and they have access to some great faculty, but I like the more flexible schedules and ability to do some work and earn a bit of money during the off time. I think it’s a great move by UNM to run the program this way. The director of distance education is a friend of mine and the primary instructor, aside from being a medic himself, also holds his masters of education degree in online and distance course learning. Two great individuals whom I’m really looking forward to working with more! This month will hopefully see the date of the orientation being announced and me getting the last parts of my uniform ordered.

This all goes to say one thing: I really miss 911 response. I did it for 3 years back home and I will say that, without it, I miss it a great deal. Even if for no other reason than the real-life application of EMS education is a lot more fun than simply reading about it or going over case studies. I was reminded of this this past week when I was first at scene at a two vehicle side impact/rollover collision. I was driving past when I saw the wrecks with smoke coming off them and dust still in the air. First thought, “Hmm…this JUST happened.” Second, “No response vehicles yet, this JUST happened.” Third, “Hmm, I have my vest, trauma kit, and proper clothing on. I should stop. Oh look, here’s a place to pull over.”

            The passenger of the red car was unresponsive when I got there. It was myself, one medic with no gear, and bystanders for a while until fire started to arrive. Grand total of three people involved in the wreck. One uninjured, the hurt passenger of the red car transported to UNMH’s Trauma Center, and the driver of the red car, whom I watched fail a field sobriety test, was taken by PD for possible DWI…or as most other places I’ve been called it, DUI. All in all, I got to do some hands on patient care as the woman began to wake back up. New Mexico has a very forward looking attitude towards C-spine precautions, and since the woman, now awake enough to communicate her feelings, denied cervical spine pain, she wasn’t back-boarded.

It’s a testament to the strength of the body of the Dodge Challenger than this car was in mostly one piece. In the picture it’s hard to tell, but there was probably a good 2 feet of penetration of the B pillar into the cabin of the vehicle. If the other vehicle had impacted about 1-2 feet more towards the front of the car, I feel the story for the passenger would have been drastically different.

Gee I miss my fire truck…


Until next time, greeting from New Mexico!

Read 17902 times Last modified on Tuesday, 01 July 2014 21:30

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