Thursday, November 21, 2013


Its official – Nick is a Paramedic! After weeks of waiting, the Alberta College of Paramedics finally posted the exam results, and Nick passed! The past 16 months (or 6 years) has been leading up to this moment, and it feels so good to know that it’s all over. Nick worked so hard and we have made so many sacrifices (both time and monetary) to achieve this goal.
Let me tell you just a little bit about the journey it took to get us here. When Nick was a little boy, his brother Kris suffered a seizure and Paramedics came to the rescue. Ever since that moment, Nick wanted to become a Paramedic and help people in need.
After highschool Nick starting working for his dad at his dad’s store and he took the 4 week EMR course at SAIT (the first step in the process of becoming a paramedic). It was about that time that I moved back to Canada, and Nick and I began to see each other (2007/2008). Nick then began the process of researching and applying to schools to start the EMT program. Nick heard about PMA (a school here in Calgary) and its amazing reputation. They had smaller classrooms, extremely high success rating in passing the ACP exams and all for the same price as SAIT. Their programs were also accelerated, so for example, instead of one year for the EMT program at SAIT, it took only 7 months at PMA (including practicum). The only thing was that PMA had an entrance exam that you had to take, and fewer amount of seats to offer. Well obviously Nick got into PMAs EMT program and excelled. After graduating PMA and passing the EMT ACP exam in 2008 Nick took a job with Coronation EMS at the beginning of 2009 and began to get as much EMT experience as possible.
In December 2010 Nick got hired on with Calgary Metro EMS as a casual employee, and for the next 1.5 years he worked for both Coronation EMS 4 days on, come back to Calgary, work another 1-3 days while here on his 4 days “off” and then head back to Coronation for another 4 days of work. So for all of 2011 Nick was working 6-7 days a week, and we only got to spend about 1 night a week together. There was a reason to all of this madness and insane work schedule. Nick needed the income from his fulltime position in Coronation because we got engaged in July 2011, and had to save-up for an upcoming wedding, honeymoon, buy a home and $20,000 in tuition that it would cost for Nick to go back to school and become a Paramedic. However he needed to start gaining urban experience with Calgary Metro so his resume would be what Calgary EMS was looking for once he completed the Paramedic program and passed the ACP exam. At the beginning of 2012 while wedding plans were well underway Nick applied to PMA once again for the Paramedic program and SAIT as a backup. We both really wanted Nick to get into PMA for so many reasons. First, instead of it taking 2 years to complete the course at SAIT, it would only take 14 months at PMA (and we both agreed that we would hold off on starting a family until Nick completed school, so you can see why I wanted Nick to get into PMA). Second, Nick would have a chance to work more while in school so the blow to our income wouldn’t be so big. SAITs program is Monday through Friday, so Nick would only have a chance to pick up shifts on the weekends, but at PMA they held classes 14 days on, 14 days off, which meant Nick had more opportunities to pick up shifts and bring in more income while also being a student. Thirdly, like I mentioned before, PMA has a higher success in their students passing the ACP exam, which was the most important factor. So in February 2012 Nick wrote the PMA entrance exam, and just weeks before our wedding Nick found out he was accepted into PMAs program (1 of only 10 seats offered).
In June 2012 Nick worked the last of his shifts for Coronation EMS, and Nick began paramedic classes in July. In October and November Nick completed his first set of practicum and resumed classes in December. After months of more classes, homework and studying, Nick finished his classes and final exams in April 2013. In July Nick began his last 10 weeks of practicum which were completed in September 2013. The last few months we have been in limbo waiting for Nick to write the Paramedic ACP exam and then waiting for text results. If you are exhausted after reading this, then just imagine actually doing it! Anyways, as you can see, it’s been a long road, but I am pleased to say that we are done!
So what’s next? Well we are waiting for Nick’s security clearance to come back for then which Nick can obtain a paramedic number. During this time Nick will just continue to work as an casual EMT and once he gets his number, he will get back pay for the hours worked since the exam. Nick will then automatically transfer into a casual Paramedic position, and then he will start to apply for a fulltime positions. This will hopefully all happen before May which is when Baby Irvine is due!

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