Welcome to the Blackbelt Medic. This is the web home of Nathaniel Bland: Former Firefighter, Paramedic, EMS Educator, 2nd Degree Blackbelt, and student.
Good day to everyone! It’s been a while since my last post, but life has been insane recently. I actually had to go back on here and read my last post so I would know what to tell everyone!
Since March of this year a lot has happened. Back then, I was looking at 3.5 weeks of the semester to go before the class side of paramedic was done. Now, I’m looking at about 3 weeks before internship is complete. While I can’t relax just yet, I have been reflecting on the past year of my life.
It’s hard to believe that in a week or so, it will have been one year since I began the UNM EMSA paramedic program. As I sit here, I can’t help but think about all that I’ve learned in that time. I went into the program expecting it to be hard and to learn a lot, and I have learned a LOT for sure. In many different areas, I’ve found EMS to be extremely exciting. From my 3-4 years of Fire back in California, I knew that I liked 911 and EMS specifically, but now having worked here in Albuquerque in 911 for about a year now, I have seen both sides now. Back home was a rural, wilderness response environment that had us sitting a lot and doing lots of training. Here in Albuquerque, we run a high call volume 911 system which keeps us pretty busy. It’s not unusual at all for me to run more calls in a day here than I did in a month back home. Now, that speaks to both the slow nature of my system back home, and the, at times, horrendous business of the system here. But let’s set that aside for the moment. I have gained more experience here in the last year, in terms of EMS, than I did in my entire time back at Lockwood. I will say, I feel like that has been great experience doing it at the same time as my paramedic training.
So of all the things I’ve done, classes I’ve taken, certifications I’ve worked for, and classes I’ve taught, by far the most challenging thing I’ve done has been paramedic school. We are by no means done, but as I look at the schedule posted on the wall next to me, I see that I have about 3.5 weeks of class left with new material. There’s 5.5 weeks of the semester left then finals week. During the last 1-2 weeks, we study for our comprehensive final. Whew!
I say this has been the most challenging, but not the hardest thing I’ve ever done, because of the myriad of ways that I’ve been challenged. The obvious one is the course work. There’s so much to learn, remember, and apply; so much that it seems overwhelming and huge, but everyone in my class has done it! We’ve survived the weekly exams, skills tests, quizzes, projects, drug sheets, discussion posts, and countless hours spent reading and studying. I’m not 100% sure how we did it, but it’s happened so far. The end is now in sight and we buckle down for the final stretch.
My name is Nathaniel. Or as the online name I've picked states, The Blackbelt Medic. It's a bit of a flash name I suppose, but when I was faced with having to pick a domain name and a name for this blog site I decided to pick two of my favorite things: karate and being an EMS provider. Despite the word "medic" in the name, I am not a paramedic yet. More on that later. I am however a 2nd degree blackbelt in Ko Sutemi Weisi Kan Karate. I first started in karate when I was about 8 years old back in late 1999 or 2000. I don't remember the exact date. The point of this site is to provide a slate for the coming years of my life. I have tried to blog before but lacked the motivation to keep up with it. That all recently changed.
I am currently living in Albuquerque, New Mexico and I attend the University of New Mexico. Go Lobos!! Woof woof woof....hehe. I am originally from California. Northern California. Small little town called Volcano, but these days I am a student with the UNM School of Medicine: Department of Emergency Medicine EMS Academy. I am pursuing the completion of my undergraduate degree in Emergency Medicine with a focus on Emergency Medical Services. The core of the degree in their Paramedic program. I was just accepted into the program after the application process which consisted of the application, two letters of recommendation, a entrance test, two interviews, and then waiting. Of course the waiting was the hardest part. I waited nearly 2 weeks from the time I knew they made admission decisions for my letter to arrive. I got it on 4/16/2014. I went for a walk about 11:30pm and ended up checking my mail to find a large manila envelope bearing the return address of the UNM School of Medicine. I grabbed it and felt more than one piece of paper; at this point I got really excited and opened it. I was accepted!