Practically Practical

Twelve years ago I walked out of my state KED station declaring to everyone who would listen that “I hope I never have to do that again.”  I passed my state practicals the first time around which really was the bigger piece that worried me.  The written would come as I was a pretty good test taker but the hands on stuff needed to be done correctly on the first pass.  There was no passing by a skill and coming back to it if I was not sure about it.

In August I plan on heading up to New Hampshire and taking my practical station for National Registry and I have to revisit all of this again.  My practical day for both my EMT and paramedic exams were pretty anxiety filled.  I wanted to get it done and never look back and that is really what I did.  Now I have twelve years of bad habits to put aside for one day of testing.

Still though, even after all these years my paramedic instrutor Gary Childs, or GAC as he was known back then, standing over me reminding me to “rip the tape” on my IV station or stressing the importance of that first rhythm interperatation on a quick look.  I was well educated in paramedic school and for that I am extremely greatful.

Paramedic school was extremely fun but challenging all at the same time.  I had a great group of classmates and we were close.  Some of us were college students who had entered a small four year program together while others were from fire departments, private services, and the community.  Regardless of our background we all bonded quickly and even today when I see any of them it is always nice to catch up on the old times and figure out where everyone is today.  Having them around helped surpress a lot of that anxiety that I had.  I always knew that if I had a problem that an insturctor did not point out to me one of them would share it with me.

When it came time for state testing though I was on my own.  I had no partner or classmate with me just a patient incertain stations some of whom I knew others who I didnt.  I was left to hope that they would be as helpful as they could.  I had to hope that they took a deep enough breath when I would tighten a chest strap or sit up as straight as they were able to when I went to put a KED on.  Some of the stations were more difficult for one reason or another but I walked away at the end of the day knowing that I had passed, ready to take the next step and take my written exam.

New Hampshire will be a completely different ball game.  Chances are I will not know a single person up there unless some brave souls decide to take the trip with me.  This one is all on me but I don’t have the support that I did in late summer of 2000.

So now it is time to buckle down and start going over things.  There are skill sheets to review, and lessons to remember.  I need to have faith in my own skills, abolish those bad habits, and remember everything that GAC taught me.