All posts by Ron

Ep 2 – Sex And EMT Pants

[audio:02_Sex_and_EMT_Pants.mp3] (48:35)
This is episode 2 of Confessions of an EMS Newbie where we talk about Love, Sex, Relationships, and the EMT as well as Anatomy, Physiology, and those cool EMT Pants. The show begins with a discussion of Ron getting ready for clinicals and the trials of getting all his shots. We learn how Kelly does 200 mile, one way critical care transports, and why Hurricane Katrina is to blame.

Through number of comments Ron gets the idea is is easier to get laid in EMS. Kelly gives him the real scoop. And while EMS may get you married, it is hard being married to someone else in medicine and it hard being married to someone outside of it. Ron is already beginning to see a separation where he doesn’t want to tell his wife stories from EMS to protect her.

Talking from his book, Kelly explains how ambulances are staged, or positioned and what an ambulance station is like. And don’t get him started on System Status Management, but Ron did.

In the gear you really need, it is time for Ron to get his uniform, so we talk boots and pants. Do EMT’s really use those cool trauma shear straps? What is the biggest give away of a sparky new EMT? And what is in Kelly’s pockets?

Lucy Hornstein, Declarations of a Dinosaur: 10 Laws I’ve Learned as a Family Doctor

Boot makers: Magnum, High Tech, Bates, and Rocky.
Kelly’s review of Magnum boots

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The Hidden Costs of EMT-Basic

I wanted to tell you about all the money I’ve been spending that wasn’t mentioned when I signed up for my EMT-B course. It wasn’t really completely hidden, but it is starting to take me by surprise. Plus if you started some of this stuff earlier it would be cheaper.

CPR for Health Care Providers

One of the things you have to have before they will send you out for your clinical is your CPR card. I looked around locally and it was going to cost about $40 for a 2 hour course. I looked online and found the American Health Care Academy offering it for $20. I contacted my clinical supervisor and she said she didn’t care where I got it as long as I got the card. This isn’t the AHA’s place, so you might want to check before investing in it. I think she didn’t really care because we’ll be doing CPR on dummies in class anyway. You need to take an AHA approved CPR class, and this one isn’t one. I had to retake CPR as a result. The cost was $40.


Good. Fast. Cheap. Pick Two.

Obviously you always want good with a vaccine that can save your liver, or your life, so that leaves fast or cheap. If you have time, you can go to the county health office and get most of the shots for like $5. If you have shot records from when you were a kid, you can also bring those in.

My required shots were Measles Mumps Rubella(MMR), a TB test, Diptheria-Tetanus-Pertussis, Chicken Pox and Hepatitis B.

Since I had no records I needed titers – tests to see if you have the antibodies for something you are now immune to. But remember the MMR shot – which is one shot – is 3 titers. Since 2000 all children are getting Hepatitis B shots, but back when I was a kid they didn’t do that. I got the test anyway.

The titers were $224. I was immune to MMR and Chicken Pox, but not HepB.

Here’s where I got bit in the butt. I put off getting my shots until the beginning of class thinking I might learn something in class that would effect how I got them. HepB normally takes 6 months to get. It is 3 shots and they are give at 1 month and them 6 months later. But we have to show we’ve got all our shots before we can start clinicals and the deadline is 2 weeks after the start of class.

I’m SOL.

Luckily the CDC does allow an accelerated schedule – I think mostly intended for travelers who need to go out of the country fast. That schedule is day 0, 7, 21-30. I found a place that would do it in 4-6 weeks over the phone. When I got there I was able to talk them down to 4. Got shot one today, will get shot 2 in 7 days, and the last shot 2 weeks after that.

Still too late for my paperwork deadline, but my clinical supervisor is being cool and said if I turn everything else I can wait till after I get the last shot to start my rotations. BUT I won’t get to pick my schedule, I’ll have to take whatever is available even if I’m suppose to be at work. Lucky for me my boss if pretty loose on missing work.

Got the TB test – which I have to go back in 2 days to check – and the Tetnus at the same time as the first Hep B shot.

That bill was $296. Each Hep B shot is $140.


They say I must have these three things:
Pen and Paper
Blood Pressure Cuff

Which agrees with Kelly’s minimum. Especially because one teacher said you don’t really need the BP cuff. I’ll probably still get one so I can practice on my friends and family. I already have a pen or two and a watch that shows the seconds.

But after reading Kelly’s Essential Gear post I need a new watch. Looking for metal or plastic, water proof and with a glow in the dark second hand. But that is surprisingly cheap if you aren’t worried about impressing the ladies. Under $20.

One teacher said spend $15-$20 on a stethoscope. Referencing Kelly’s post I’m looking at the one he carries, DRG Puretone Traditional Ti-Lite Stethoscope so $150.00

BP cuffs range from $13-$50 for manual versions.

Other suggested gear:
Goggles, penlight, trauma shears.
I’ve got some googles I use when shooting and the completely cover my eyes, so I’ll wear those. I already carry a small flashlight.

As a treat to myself I’ll get the swiss army knife of trauma shears Kelly suggested for around $15 with shipping.


We have to wear a specific uniform for doing our rotations. Blue shirt with a Lone Star College EMS patch ($4.95), a navy blue t-shirt underneath, blue or black EMT pants, black boots. Looking online the pants run around $30, the shirt $20, boots from $50-$250. I may have a blue T-shirt.

So around another $150.

Background Check

I have to pay for and get a background check as well. $45. If you have a felony on your record you cannot do clinicals. Which means you can’t be an EMT. I’m a CHL holder which means I’m squeaky clean.

Here’s the costs I know about:

Immunizations $800
CPR $20
Uniforms $250
Equipment $200
Background Check $45
Total $1315


Now you could probably find this stuff cheaper if you weren’t rushing to get stuff done. And I’m not trying to go the cheapest with everything. But still there are going to be costs they don’t mention when you are signing up at school.

Ep 1 – Newbie EMT Fears

[audio:01_EMT_Newbie_Fears.mp3] (49:05)
Our first episode, recorded the morning before Ron’s first EMT-Basic class. We talk about the fears he has before he ever gets started and Kelly – his Jedi master paramedic – calms those fears with ease.

Those fears are:
#1 I’ll have too weak a stomach to be an EMT.
#2 I’m not emotionally strong enough for it.
#3 I won’t be smart enough.

Other things we cover:
What are good and bad motivations for becoming an EMT? Stories including chicken and horse guts. We get Kelly’s opinion on CISM and the calls that haunt him. As well as how he think you should for studying for class.

Every episode we will also talk about Kelly’s book. This week you’ll learn everything about it and some of the hardcore paramedic stuff the editors thought to dangerous to include.

Lastly we start our section on the Gear a Newbie Really needs. Kelly brings it down to 3 things

  1. A Pen
  2. A Watch
  3. A Stethoscope

Ron’s Photography site and podcast, Photographer And Model
Kelly’s book En Route

Ron’s class is actually 12 weeks long and also has 2 5 hour extrication labs.

Critical Care Paramedic – Primarily deals with high acuity patient transfer.
Acuity – from acute; how sick the patient is. The higher the acuity the worst sick they are.
CISM – Critical Incident Stress Management.

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