I’ve had a lot of people ask me the last few months what materials and methods I used to study for the FP-C (Flight Paramedic Certification). So here goes…
A little over a year ago, for several weeks, I voluntarily segregated myself to a small office at the university where I teach, which is now affectionately referred to as “the closet” by many in my social circles. I had come to the conclusion that If I was ever going to become a flight paramedic, I needed to get the certification; thus the isolation began.
The end result, I put for the effort, I studied, and studied, and studied, and ended up doing very well. For someone who has never considered themselves academically “blessed,” it was a handsome prize for a worthy effort. So here is what I found worked for me:
Lesson #1 = STUDY. The more experience I get with the exam, and my short interviews with those who have conquered the proverbial beast, the more I’m convinced it’s not so much a matter of what material you study, but that you actually STUDY. A novel concept indeed. Study smarter, not harder.
Lesson #2 = Break your study up into small study sessions. I noticed that personally, study sessions that lasted longer than about 45 minutes were less productive. It may be more or less for other individuals.
Lesson #3 = Have an individual study plan. I obtained a copy of the FP-C candidate handbook (which subsequently almost identical to the CCP-C for those who are interested). There are several pages of content objectives or things you must know to pass the exam. I planned each of my study sessions around a few of those objectives and checked them off as I progressed.
Lesson #4 = Practice taking tests. If your not a good test taker (I’m certainly not), you must practice takings test. I used two different exam preparation materials: ACE Exam Prep (Wingfield) and Back-to-Basics (Lopez). Both books are well written, albeit with a few errors, that are likely typographic.
Now the real question, what materials did I find helpful? Not only are these personal favorites, I know many people who have used these same materials for their own attempts at preparing for the exams:
- Air & Surface Patient Transport: Principles and Practice, 4th Edition (Holleran)
This is, in my opinion, the most helpful material in preparing for the exam. On a side note, it’s one of the only materials cited as reference for the folks that actually write the exams.
- Critical Care Transport (American College of Emergency Physicians)
This is, by every definition, a text book. I didn’t read the whole thing, but would review several chapters for reference. I suspect this might be more helpful in a structure classroom setting.
For many who take the exam, one of the more difficult parts is the hemodynamic monitoring section–especially for someone with little or no experience with these types of patients or equipment. For that reason, I have a rather lengthy list of FREE resources for this “difficult” topic:
- Edwards Critical Care, who manufactures many invasive pressure monitoring equipment, has great educational resources. A few that I used:
–Invasive Hemodynamic Monitoring: Physiological and Clinical Applications
–Quick Guide to Cardiopulmonary Care; 2nd Edition (which is ironically about 200 pages, but it’s a GREAT resource)
–Normal Hemodynamic Parameters and Laboratory Values (this is also a great resource, but be aware the reference ranges that are used here may vary from the reference ranges used on the test)
–Quick Guide to Pediatric Cardiopulmonary Care
Other high-quality miscellaneous resources::
- If you struggle with arterial blood gasses (ABG’s) then take a look at this.
- Orlando Health has put together a great resource for hemodynamic monitoring (good for brushing up as well). Take a look at it.
- Maquet IABP (Intra-aortic balloon pump) timing card
- Arrow IABP timing card
- CVP & ABP Monitoring (I can’t remember where I got this, but information is still good)
- From our Aussie friends down under, another great resources on IABP’s.
As a matter of convenience, I would be able to calculate rules-of-nines for both adults and ped’s on-the-fly. I used these two pictures for practice:
GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR TEST 🙂