If you’re going into an AEMT or paramedic class, you’ve already got some skills and know-how. Entering an advanced level course is exciting (sometimes nerve wracking, but always exciting).
This course is not going to be like your EMT course. Students can more or less go into an EMT class with no relevant skills or background, and come out on top. That’s not the case with advanced levels. Depending on your experience and the quality of your EMT class, AEMT/paramedic coursework could be far more challenging than you expected.
The Average AEMT First-Time Pass Rate is 55%
That’s the latest number from the national registry. Many students coming into ALS (both AEMT and medic) are simply unprepared and are struggling as a result.
BLS understanding and skills are the building blocks of ALS topics, but many students enter the classroom without a thorough understanding of BLS. Maybe it’s been a while since your EMT class, or your instructor glazed over some necessary topics. It happens.
Preparedness for your next class will make the whole process easier. It will improve your retention and understanding of difficult topics. It will help you pass the National Registry. It will improve your confidence in clinicals. And it will help you build a solid foundation for providing higher-quality care in the real world.
Refreshing and building your knowledge before coming to class has never been more critical.
What Do AEMT/Paramedic Students Need?
We asked educators if they felt most students entering ALS classes were really prepared to be there. The response was not exactly positive. A big reason for this is that, at the EMT level, instructors aren’t spending enough time on topics that are the fundamental building blocks of ALS. They may only cover these topics superficially, or may not teach them in a way that relates to what their students are doing in the field.
When asked what they find lacking in their advanced level students, most educators’ responses fell into one of these categories:
- Pathophysiology, along with anatomy & physiology.
- Knowing and really understanding medical terminology.
- Basic academic skills, like team communication, how to study, and especially, how to do basic math without using Google.
Altogether, those are some big deficiencies. It’s not just students who are going to struggle to progress. Instructors have to spend valuable time at the beginning of the course to understand where each student is, catch students up as best they can, and try to bridge the gap between an EMT mindset and an ALS mindset.
Preparing for ALS Classes
Now, there’s a lot to address here, and frankly, not every student is going to be 100% ready for every advanced EMS course. And that’s OK. Some of the issues—like effective communication, teamwork and accurately performing basic math equations in your head—are skills learned over time. If you’re a student, you might ask your classmates, colleagues, instructor or preceptor to help you identify weaknesses in these areas. If you’re an instructor at any level, look for ways to add these skills into classroom activities.
For the advanced knowledge and critical thinking needed for ALS, we have an easy, immediate and practical solution.
ALS Prep Program
The ALS Prep Bundle helps transition EMT students into AEMT or paramedic classes. It includes three apps that cover essential BLS and pre-advanced level topics: pathophysiology, advanced patient assessment, and medical terminology.
- Pathophysiology Audios review critical concepts of ventilation and perfusion that set the foundation for advanced learning. When students understand pathophysiology, rather than memorizing signs and symptoms, they thrive in class and in the field.
- Medical Terminology Review is just plain necessary. Students need to speak the language of medicine, and this app helps develop that language.
- Assessment Review covers assessment by body system. It provides information in the order clinicians are supposed to think.
The apps can be used as a pre-requisite or at the start of the semester. Students who aren’t lucky enough to get the apps through class may purchase the bundle to prepare themselves for an advanced course. It’s never too late.
Combined, the three ALS products are only $21.99. Tell us where else you can get a deal like that!
Improving Study Skills
Since quite a few educators reported that the average paramedic student doesn’t have solid learning and study skills, we also recommend ParamedicReview.com. This National Registry prep site is a great tool for students who don’t have effective study skills or want to go the extra mile. Study guides break subjects into bite-sized sections. (They include important paramedic topics like ALS math, medication error prevention, and pharmacology.)
Users can toggle between EMT and paramedic level content, so those needing a refresher have a chance to review the basics before moving on to ALS and other advanced topics.
There are 800 practice questions at the premium levels. Plus audio and video tools, diagnostic tests to show users what to focus on, and regular office hours with Dan Limmer, who provides one-on-one advice for struggling students.
Not Sure You Need ALS Prep?
Whether you’re an educator considering it for your classes or a student considering it for yourself, think about this: At $115 per certification exam, the cost of an ALS bundle, a premium membership with ParamedicReview.com or both combined, is far less than the cost of having to re-take the test even once.
What tips do you have for students entering ALS courses? Let us know in the comments.