Thursday, October 6, 2011

So long EMS, and thanks for all the fish

I applied for, and was accepted to, a Master's degree program that will allow me to become a Physician Assistant upon completion. This means that I will be retiring from my current job and moving several states away to attend the school. For the first time in 22 years, I will not be associated with prehospital EMS. It is a big step, and a bit scary, but exciting at the same time. I am giving up security for a chance to have a better career.

What first planted the seeds of my desire to leave was an apparent lack of medical standards in my agency, and the way that it was ignored by the administration. I wanted to maybe find a job at another local agency, but there weren't many hiring at the time who would pay me what I was already making, and besides, I know people who work for other agencies in the area, and they didn't seem much better, nor did the idiots at some of the local hospitals. I decided to stay put.

Then the TEA party came around, and I had to listen to them drone on and on about how I am a parasite and how I and my benefits are a drain on the system. My pension and my health care are costing the taxpayers too much money, even though they are a mere 4% of the state budget. Free lunches for poor kids in school add up to more than what it costs to run the pensions of state employees.

Meanwhile, I am hauling a Medicare patient to the hospital for the third time this week, this time for knee pain times two weeks. Knowing that Medicare is 30% of the state budget makes me realize that the TEA party is politics, not solutions.

Anyway, all of that came to a head when I began working for a theme park doing BLS first aid for $12.75 an hour, and got a raise at my 90 day point to $17.50 an hour. You see, when I was hired by my original agency 15 years ago, my starting pay was $8.45 an hour. In fifteen years, I made it to $19.27 an hour, and that includes two promotions.

That was when I realized that I was no longer happy working in EMS. I love the medicine, I just don't like all of the politics and the games that go along with the job. I still feel like I have more to offer patients and I want to stay in medicine. Becoming a PA will help me do just that.

No hard feelings to the TEA party, or to the public. You decided to pay less, and as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. The people who are skilled and able to leave will do so. If you are willing to accept a lower level of service, then so be it. As for me, it is time to move up to bigger and better things.


Anonymous said...

$19.27/hr?!? Dude, that's crazy! My neighbor makes more than that (in tips) delivering pizza. I am grateful for your service, but $ desrve better. However, sadly, I gave up nursing for the same reason. After 10 years,I was only making $17.00/hr. Now I work for a really big air craft maker making $30./hr. I wish you well. Good luck to you. You are worth more than $19.27/hr...Sheesh!$19.27 GAWD, I'm embarrassed for you. That's just sad.

Jimmy B said...
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Jimmy B said...

Good luck in PA school Divemedic. I'm in my 3rd semester of PA school and though it's incredibly tough at times there's no regrets. In 8 weeks we'll have finals then off to clinical year.
I did EMS (still work a day a week) for 12 years, respiratory therapy for 6, and PA seemed the next logical progression. Out of my class of 50 students about 7 of us are medics. Your past experience will be a tremendous help in quickly absorbing new material and builing on stuff you already know.
Anon, thats crazy. An RN only making $17/hr?! What part of the country is that? My wife started as an RN 9 yrs ago in med/surg at $24/hr and is up to $39/hr now.

Divemedic said...

@ Jimmy: I thought the same thing, but I eventually concluded that Anon must have been an LPN.