I need a program for an ER specific career

Hello all.

I plan on entering the military as a combat medic with the special forces. I will see moderate emergency situations while deployed, but most will not be emergencies-- the snake eaters are America’s finest and i’ll spend more time patching up locals abroad than I will any SF soldier emergency surgeries in the field.

I’m not here to get opinions on what I will be doing in the military, rather to seek advice on what type of program I should be looking for here in the US before I join; in a program geared toward an ER focus. Does such a thing exist? Surely the term “pre-med” doesn’t cover everything? OSU’s curriculum says it all! It doesn’t! (explained later)

I won’t be joining for 6 months or maybe even a year.

I want to go ahead and get my foot in the door with some university training because after the military I am interested in pursuing a career as a physician assistant or physician.

I am in the columbus, OH area.

Ohio State has what they call, a “medical science track”. They suggest this for anyone from pre-med to pre-pharm and it is a four year degree.

I don’t understand how this degree is useful for what i want to do. Please view the curriculum HERE.

OSU is a pretty darn big school and thats what they’re offering undergrads.

I understand that chemistry and lab tests are very important, but I will not use this stuff.

I will spend A LOT of time in the ER when i am not deployed.

I am not trying to offend anyone, I am just not familiar with universities and this field of study.

Aren’t there programs I can work with real (dead) bodies and organs so I can get hands on learning experience? I’m just wanting to learn, not be a resident, but I want to jump right in. I don’t want to look down a microscope for a year, that isn’t going to translate for me and what I’m going to be doing in either field.

My goal is to START on what will be many years of hard work and education in a stressful, fast paced environment where my decisions could mean life or death, both in the military and in our ERs.

Any advice on what I should be looking towards?

So, the first thing you need to do is understand what a “pre-med program” offers and why it offers what it does. All medical schools require that applicants take one year of general chemistry with labs, one year of organic chemistry with labs, one year of biology with labs, and one year of physics with labs. Many schools also require biochemistry, math and/or anatomy/physiology. Therefore, pre-med programs are designed to make sure that students take all of the med school pre-requisites as part of their degree. They are NOT designed to give you any kind of patient care experience or any medical experience. The goal of medical school pre-reqs is to give you the basic science background to understand human disease and it’s treatment from the most basic level on up. For example, as a physician, it’s not enough to know that high blood pressure is diagnosed based on a certain number or higher and the treatment is drug x, y, or z. You need to understand how high blood pressure occurs on a cellular level and how different medications work on a cellular level to lower high blood pressure. The med school pre-reqs are designed to give you the knowledge to understand that.

(FWIW - I found when I was looking at admission requirements for PA programs they were very similar to med school requirements.)

Ohio State offers MANY degree programs for pre-med/pre-vet students that incorporate the medical school pre-reqs. The medical technology degree is just one of those. I attended OSU for my pre-reqs and knew a lot of pre-meds and I don’t know any of them that did that program. Many students do a straight biology or chemistry degree, a lot do nutrition degrees. In reality, though, you can do any degree you want for medical school as long as you take the pre-requisite courses. Most people choose degrees that have those courses as degree requirements so that their life is simpler. You can take the pre-med requirements as an art major, but it’s going to take you longer to graduate because none of the pre-reqs will count toward your degree requirements.

You say that eventually you think you may want to do a PA program or med school - what is your time line? If you plan to spend 5-10 years in the military, I would NOT recommend taking med school or PA pre-reqs now. You want to take the pre-reqs fairly close to when you are taking the MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test) because the MCAT tests largely over the pre-reqs. MCAT scores are only good for 3 years. Many schools also prefer that the pre-requisite coursework be no more than 5-7 years old.

It sounds like you want something that is going to give you practical, hands-on experience for work. Sorry, but a pre-medical degree is not going to give you that. You would be better served by looking at Columbus State’s degree offerings and considering a medical assistant degree, EMT/Paramedic or something like that.

I hope that’s helpful. I do understand that you think that chemistry and lab tests and all will not be very helpful to you and you won’t use them, but I don’t think you have the perspective to really understand that. As a physician, it is enormously important to understand the basic chemistry of the human body and disease, etc. It’s not enough to know that you order lab test X for disease Y - you need to know WHY you order lab test Y and why it helps you diagnose disease X.

Hey Chris,

Good for you for wanting to go the SF medic route.

I worked with many of those guys, and went through much of the same training.

So, I can tell from first-hand experience: you don’t need to worry about getting hands-on medical work before you go. When you’re in the pipeline, you’ll get all the medical training you need, and then some.

But, if you’re set on getting your feet wet before you enlist, take a look at the possibility of working part-time as an EMT.

Otherwise, I agree with the above post by Emergency.

Good luck.

thank you for your time, guys. You’re giving me pearls here. I appreciate it.