I am a ff/pm that was just given the worst possible professional news I could have ever been given.
Almost two years ago I dislocated my shoulder at my second job (bartending). After repeated dislocations, MRI showed a torn labrum. It took 8 MONTHS for work comp to approve the surgery I needed.
After the surgery, my recovery went well. But I was experiencing nerve pain in my fingers (actually began prior to surgery during that 8 month time period). Burning fire debilitating pain. I recently had an EMG, and it showed nerve damage. I am looking at another surgery to help relieve some of the pain. Neurontin has been a life saver. Even so, my left hand id decidedly weaker than my right, and the doc said that will never get better. He told me I won't be able to firefight anymore.
I have been in a daze trying to figure out what is next. I didn't get hurt at the department, which posed a big problem. I already have student loans from the bachelor's degree I received 12 years ago, and I can't afford to take out more. I can't afford school without a loan. And I have no idea what someone with my 'skill level' can do. Wouldn't you know that the jobs I apply for always tell me I have no workable skills?? I had no idea savings lives was useless.
In short, I just need to know what it is others may have experienced. I feel left out, alone, and like I just can't do anything. I am backed into one hell of a corner.
I am in some what of a similar position but don't wish to go too much into it. But I have a fractured humorous and median nerve damage. I take Pregabalin which has been a lifesaver
I know exactly how you are feeling, our laws ensure that an employer has to make reasonable adjustments to allow someone who becomes disabled to continue to work in a capacity recommended by a occupational health trained doctor. I don't know if american law offers similar protection.
Within the emergency service administration there is team management, training, policy, equipment management and purchasing. When you say you struggle with demonstrating skill levels I find it useful to list employable skills on my CV and give examples within my current role where I have demonstrated that skill...Team Leadership in critical situations, professional communication skills, being able to think about a solution to a problem differently. There is also the voluntary sector and disaster management and emergency planning roles.
If you need to talk privately you can send me a private message, in short keep the faith...I strongly believe in fate as one door closes a more interesting one opens
At least in my area, the CCT services like to employ experienced paramedics in their call centers, as the knowlege gained can help with the crew selection and call prioritization processes. All of the CCT services in my area are affiliated with university health systems which provide tuition if you'd like to get another degree. If you'd like some more info on the CCT service I work for, send me a message, and I'd be happy to give you some more specific details.
You have a degree, you can also think about going into EMS education. If there is a college based program around you, look into that side of the field. As a perk, many schools allow you to take classes for free (or very reduced cost) if you are and employee. One of my co-workers is a program director for a 4 year medic program, and he is getting his second masters degree on the college - no cost.
Teaching or working in QA/QI are alternatives. You could also work for your states EMS licensing agency if they have openings.
it may be a leap of faith, but you mention you have a bachelors degree, have you considered a PA program? some of them are distance programs that you complete mainly from home, but require occasional travel to the campus. They are geared towards experienced healthcare providers from other areas i.e. EMS. The reason I mention PA is, that upon completion, if you can get hired at an eligble facility you would be able to apply for federal loan repayment for a commitment of a couple years in an underserved community. The program I am thinking of specifically is University of North Dakota
though I am sure other similar programs exist. the down side is you would have to live of the student loans, savings, and maybe part time work during school, the upside is it pays have decent afterwards. RN's have the same type option going for an advanced practice program, but since you aren't an RN (I am assuming here), the PA route would be faster. Just a thought
I know what you're going through is very hard. The best advice I can offer is to work on "reinventing" yourself -- professionally, at least. Given your experience and degree, I don't doubt you have marketable skills, even if some prospective employers don't see them. It's going to be up to you to patiently and carefully consider revenue-producing possibilities. Consider needs people have that aren't being met. Think small -- perhaps a service instead of a product. It's not hard to start a small business once you identify a need for it.
What's your degree in? What are your interests? Do you have other work experience besides FF/EMS and bartending?