It is not uncommon to find that as a EMT or paramedic student you know little to nothing about medicine. Knowing what medication a patient is currently taking can help you better understand what is going on with that patient while on a call. Regardless if you are thinking of just staying at the basic level or, one day progressing towards becoming a paramedic, it’s important to learn about what medication is commonly used in EMS.
If you’re interested in some supplemental reading then you might want to check out Basic and Clinical Pharmacology. This book is written by Bertram Katzun and covers important concepts that students need to know about the science of pharmacology and how to apply it in your clinical practice. Search online for a list of common medications that people take. Make it a habit to learn and memorize a few a day. There are also some apps you can download onto your phone to help you with learning about medication. In addition to apps, also make sure you make use of Google.
One thing you can do is to look up medications that you come across while in the field. Regardless if it’s medication that you’ve heard of or are not familiar with, by constantly engaging yourself in the practice of researching medication, you will soon come to have a better understanding of medicines used in the field. Honestly, this is a practice that a lot of EMT students use. When you’re out in the field and you come across a patient’s medication, take out your phone and look it up. Learning this way might help you to better tie things together. One thing you should keep in mind is that until you have a solid foundation in anatomy and physiology, you won’t truly understand what is going on.
If the anatomy and physiology class you take during your paramedic training isn’t enough, don’t be afraid to supplement with another A&P class offered elsewhere. Check with your local community college for more classes that go more in depth. A lot of students find that the A&P courses for the EMT curriculum are not detailed enough. You’d do better to take another class complete with lectures and labs, instead of simply buying a book and reading on your own.
There’s so much more to learn about in the EMS industry. Here is an additional article about paramedic training.