Sorry this isn’t coming to you on a Thursday. I’ve been a little busy lately. As you read in my previous entry, I had a pretty big interview the other day. Part of me thought my days in medicine were over until I got a phone call offering me an interview at Allina to be a Paramedic. To say the least, I was excited. I was also pants-shittingly scared.
The week leading up to the interview was filled with me studying, procrastinating and losing a lot of sleep. I was so overwhelmed with all of the information I had to brush up on. I wasn’t sure where to start so I just did some free online Paramedic quizzes which were full of misspellings and errors so they weren’t a very reliable study tool. Then, I hung out with my friend Tim who’s a Paramedic at the Hard Core Medical Center (HCMC) and he quizzed me on some things. Scraping the proverbial barnacles of time away from the job off was incredibly difficult for me. Especially when I still had to concentrate on comedy stuff at the same time.
As I was panicking about the interview, I got an email from one Butch Roy about a talent agent who had come to HUGE Theater to scope out some new faces. Butch gave the lady my contact information and she told me about an audition for a commercial that she thought I’d be great for. The audition was the next day. My interview with Allina was also the next day. The audition was at 1:40, the interview at 3:15. I decided to take the audition because if I got it, it would be an extra $2500 in my pocket and who can say no to that? Especially when my unemployment benefits are rapidly expiring.
So, I quickly memorized all 7 of my words for the audition and continued to brush up on my medical knowledge. It was so strange to go from being surrounded by show-biz people who converse about things like juice fasts and teeth whitening to being surrounded by uniformed Paramedics asking me things like “what’s your preferred sedative for a pediatric patient?” Bizarre.
The audition was a blur. I was there for no more than a half hour or so and the actual taped audition took 2 minutes tops. I immediately sped over to Mounds View for the interview afterward. I felt a little more comfortable since the audition took some of my nerves away. I walked into the office and firmly shook their hands. One of the Medics said to another, “See, that’s what I’m looking for. Did you see that?” I think he was referring to my eye contact and handshake but I can’t be sure. I was feeling pretty confident until the panel started asking me questions like, “Tell us about a time when you made a decision that was rejected. How did you deal with that?” I know this is a common question in an interview but for some reason it totally threw me off. They also asked, “Tell us about a time when you were asked for ideas about a subject you knew very little about. How did you react?” I should’ve said “Right now. Right this very minute.” But instead, I said something about working in the ER. I don’t even remember what I said.
They didn’t ask me any of the typical HR questions like “Why would you be a good fit for Allina?” or “Why do you want to work here?” or “What the hell have you been doing for the last 6 months and how does it relate to being a Paramedic?” I had responses for those questions!
I thought I was doing a fairly decent job, being thoughtful and taking my time to answer their questions until they started with the medical questions. There’s so much to know in the field of Paramedicine. You have to know about everything! Obstetrics, Neurology, Cardiology, Trauma, Pulmonology, Pharmacology, Psychology and everything in between. It’s stressful. So I studied what I thought to be the most pertinent of these subjects. I concentrated on Cardiology the most but that was a mistake. Here are some of the questions they asked:
“What is Vecuronium, what is it’s dosage and what is it used for?”
“What are the effects of cholinergic exposure?”
“You have a patient who is intubated. He is on a Nitro drip, an Epi drip and a Dopamine drip. What is his condition and what would you be monitoring throughout transport?”
“Chest pain isn’t always cardiac related. What are some other reasons someone might have chest pain?”
“What is Zofran, what is it’s dosage and what is it used for?”
“What is the difference between Dilaudid and Morphine?”
I can tell you the answers to all of these questions NOW. At the time, in front of three experienced Paramedics, I only knew about 4 of the answers to those questions. When I didn’t know the answer I said so and I told them I wasn’t going to guess and they all nodded which was comforting.
I noticed I have a bad habit of saying “obviously” while answering questions that I’m nervous about. The one about the patient on the drips was especially problematic with that. My answer:
“Well, this is obviously a patient who had a cardiac arrest and was resuscitated. Obviously, I would monitor his blood pressure and obviously the ventilator as well. I would obviously watch the drips and make sure they were correct. Obviously.”
What a nerd.
When I got home, I looked up the answers to some of the questions I wasn’t sure about and I kicked myself for answering them incorrectly. Namely the cholinergic exposure question and the Morphine v. Dilaudid question.
Like a good interviewee, I wrote a thank you note to them, which went something like this:
“Dear blabla, bla and blablabla,
Thank you for meeting with my yesterday. I am extremely excited about the opportunity to work for Allina as a Paramedic. I thought of two things after we met. 1.) The effects of cholinergic exposure: SLUDGE* and 2.) Dilaudid is much stronger than it’s parent drug Morphine. I appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions. Thank you again.
Carolyn Blomberg, NREMT-P
* SLUDGE stands for “salivation, lacrimation (tears), urination, defecation, gastrointestinal upset and emesis”
So, we’ll see what happens. There isn’t a lot I can do about it now other than wait and see. Hopefully the thank you note, the firm handshake and the eye contact will go a long way with this one. And the honesty about not knowing certain things.
In the meantime, the lady from the talent agency asked me to be one of her “Top 25 Up and Coming Faces” for a casting call next week. So I have that to look forward to. I also have a show on Sunday at Cause and I have a ton of stuff to concentrate on at HUGE.
Obviously, I have no idea what the future will hold. I obviously can’t change the past either. So obviously, I have to live in the present and not worry about it. Obviously.
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