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Looking for some HCE feedback.


Been working @ VA for 3+ years, all PTSD research - first two years were as EMG startle tech (running emg testing 1on1, 12 patients a day) working on base with AD marines. 


Now last 8 months is PTSD screening (CAPS) appointments with veterans I screen for eligibilty and schedule myself.  Appointments include 2x 1on1 sessions; I assess for validity and we discuss trauma, symptoms and other life stressors in depth, before they are randomized (if I deem eligible) to a treatment program.  Usually 5+ hours 1on1 per patient. 

Also includes lab work, I don't draw blood (no phlebotomy training) but take patients to clinic and process samples after.  Occasionally consult with supervising MD but mostly working solo. MD has no interactions with patients other than if I deem SI to be extreme.  Patients vary, but majority have comorbid diagnoses - bipolar, major depression, BPD, schizophrenia, substance abuse etc. 


Planning to take EMT cert in Spring and hopefully work in the field part-time alongside school & VA position (study ends when I start my BS) for next 3 years.

(Already have British college time which accounted for VA position but credits not accepted by CA schools due to how long ago it was/some not transferable)


Question is, will any of my psych work count at all towards HCE? I'm aware research is one of those touchy areas. 


Thanks in advance for any info.


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My experience was similar to this. I coordinated two hypertension clinical trials and an HPV study prior to applying. My duties were to screen and enroll participants, complete surveys with participants, order CBCs (I did not draw labs), consult with MD, etc. Alot of regulatory paperwork with FDA, IRB, and other agencies. I was able to differentiate my duties between "patient care experience" and "research"

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  • 5 weeks later...

Your experience as an EMT will add significantly to your HCE. A few of my classmates had only EMT work. The experience is 1 part of your 'total package' of who you are when applying.

Just out of curiosity you state " Occasionally consult with supervising MD but mostly working solo. MD has no interactions with patients other than if I deem SI to be extreme." What type of training do you have WRT mental health? Just wondering what an 'extreme SI' patient looks like to you.

I served as a Navy Corpsman with the Marines and I saw quite a bit it SI gestures. I believe everyone has a different sense of what an type of behavior would be labeled 'extreme'

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So my initial appointments with patients tend to go along the lines of consents, HIPAA forms, various measures (PHQ-9, medical history, etc) followed by CAPS, and then a less structured "chat" after, because CAPS usually ends up being pretty intense for them.


About 40% of the patients I see indicate feelings of being "better off dead" or that their families would be in a better position if they were.  In terms of SI, plan and intent, mention of a timeline, method, recent attempt. ("I want to jump off X bridge this weekend/I put my sig in my mouth two nights ago/Every day I think about taking all my meds at once" - obviously not usually said so baldly) needs to be present for me to place a psych hold. That includes non-fatal self-harm, not solely suicide. 


If there's history of SI in their med charts, or certain aspects of conversation are dropped during CAPS, I tend to finish the appointment talking about certain aspects of home life and med history:

-social support

-religious beliefs

-future plans

-access to weapons/prescription meds

-substance abuse/alcohol.

-previous attempts/self reports of SI

-inpatient psych stays

-clarification of anything they've mentioned during the appointment that raised concerns.


However since we're usually talking about combat trauma or MST for a couple hours, I have to build a certain level of trust during the appointment, and often what's expressed in one on one, once we go to the resident psych or supervising MD is not mentioned - usual fear of being held as inpatient etc.  I can place them on a psych hold, involve security, if I am seriously concerned about the immediate safety of the patient and they are refusing a further consult.


Patients have to be stable (>3 months since last attempt) before I can enroll them in any treatment program due to the CBT/exposure treatment being pretty intense. 

Sorry for the long reply, - can I ask how long you were a Corpsman?

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