I have been trying to explain to my husband what's going on with my job and I find myself almost incredulous that I let it go this far. I don't want to hang out all the dirty laundry, so I'm thinking deep inside I do want to stay in EMS. I made a mistake. After months of a schedule that required 40-48 hours straight, no breaks, long distance transfers and high stress calls, I made repeated attempts to change the schedule, me bringing up repeated safety concerns, such as EMT's driving 90 while texting, an EMT having a seizure on the job and being allowed back to work a week later, I made a medication error. Funny that really wasn't covered in my medic course, but the thought of hiding it, trying to pass the blame, anything dishonest, never crossed my mind. During a code enroute after the standard EPI, I administered Narcan per our protocols, but the patient had been down a long time and was pronounced at the hospital. During the cleanup of the truck a bottle of Haldol was found and being the standup adult that I am, I could only conclude I had administered the wrong medication. I don't remember it like that, but evidence is evidence. I distinctly remember grabbing Narcan. Orange cap. Not Haldol. Yellow cap. Anyway, I went to my director, wrote it up, wasn't asked for mitigating circumstances, such as the fact I'd been up for 40 hours straight. I wasn't asked how many cardiac arrests I'd worked solo: 1. Just give us the facts. Now 6 months later, with no follow up from the head of the service or the medical director, based on another incident blown out of porportion that I was rude to a nurse in the ER, I am being asked to resign. I'm actually being threatened with them going to the medical board is probably more accurate, unless I resign. My husband wants to know why I'm not being demoted, was I ever counseled on any of this, had I ever talked to my medical director prior to all this. My answer is I don't know, no, never. I can never remember anyone being counseled, suspended, demoted, nothing. Once in a while we lose a good medic to an ER nurse who makes a complaint about this exact thing. They were rude to me. I've thought long and hard the last 4 weeks about how many times I went to my boss about issues that concerned me, mainly the continued use of straight shifts. Everyone comes in tired, including me, I told them. Repeatedly. When I ask for time off, I get turned down by the supervisor. I was publically mocked at one point for it with a big production about "conspiracies" and how there aren't any, you just take time when you need it. But yet I couldn't get it when I asked. So in the end, it's my medical license and my future in EMS. It is completely my ass on the line. I've realized that I really lacked any sort of perspective to compare the service to, as I never worked anywhere else. The medical board can screw me forever and I will not work as a medical provider in this state. Ever. I guess I am a little curious about whether this is over the top, pretty typical or just boring and repetitively ignorant. I thought I was a good medic until all this happened. I doubt myself every day and I wonder if going to medic school was a huge mistake that I will pay for forever. Everything I have done the last 3 years was so that the last career I would ever have would be in EMS. Now that's in question. I was planning to move but regardless of the distance and how far away I can never outrun myself. I will always question myself. I guess the bottom line is if I had more confidence in my abilities I might have walked sooner and wouldn't be in this predicament now. I don't know. I love my job, loved my job, that is. Despite all the issues about safety, put me in the back and I'm happy. I love patient care, but maybe I don't deserve it. I keep thinking if I was a better medic this wouldn't have happened, but I know too much about other mistakes made and can only conclude that somewhere in documentation I missed medic self preservation.
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grown up the hard way
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So here I sit spinning around in my own little world, waiting for some cheese and bread for my wine. No my whine. It will be my last post because obviously there is nothing in the last 3 that has made anyone offer any words. No slap upside the head, no you deserve what you've been dealt, etc etc. I posted in hopes of finding out if anyone could put their virtual arm around me and tell me it would be ok, that it would get better. Study more, try harder, give it up. Your employer sounds like a moron would have been awesome. I did some research and I found evidence that other EMS agencies use systems to manage their employees, track problems, provide solutions to head off problems, remediate and retain as needed. So I'm encouraged that another place may hold out some hope.
I do leave you all with this, and I know at least 300 people have read the blog: We're charged with taking care of people on what is often their worst day ever. I know there's plenty of abuse, plenty of free loaders, plently of people with no coping skills. I never minded that so much which is why I thought I had something to offer to the field. No matter how dumb assed, how stupid or how abusive, I gave every patient compassion and kindness, even when they didn't deserve it. I treated them to the best of my ability without abuse, which is more than the ER I had to take most of my patients to ever did. No matter what dumb mistake a co worker ever offered up and I've seen some doozies, I treated them with kindness and respect and tried to be helpful about offering alternatives that might have been more appropriate without trashing them either to their face or behind their backs, which almost seems to be a sport in EMS anymore. See how hard you can go at someone until they break and then celebrate it?
In a field where we take care of people, we suck at taking care of each other.
I should have started a blog here a long time ago. Maybe back in March when I started having problems. I don't know what happened or where things went wrong, but here on sit, all broken hearted all because I (fill in the blank). Remembered that old kids rhyme for some reason. To start at the end and work backwards for a second, I am in all practical sense of the word, "separating" from my employer. Isn't that a nice way to say Bye and don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. According to my officially unofficial text from my boss, my behavior throwing a fit refusing a transfer was not appropriate; the ER funds the program and they wanted my head. So he gave it to them by giving me the nice option of resigning first to "save my license". The events that caused this are in dispute but nobody is believing me, the odds are against me as I have apparently developed a reputation for speaking my mind. And the events are so radically different in my memory than theirs that I am going to a psychiatrist to determine if I've become a split personallity. NO JOKE. Although if I have to even consider it, I'm probably not 2 in 1. Anyway, I asked a question. I was ignored so I repeated the question. No one even turned out to look at me. I was 5 feet away but apparently my question was so powerful they were fearful of my "threatening behavior". I'm not stupid or delusional. I know I was thrown under the bus because the ER doesn't want us to question ANYTHING about transfers. Just shut up and take them. Don't worry you carry no narcotics; pain is subjective. Don't worry the patient may be chemically sedated and stop breathing. Just deal with it.
The question? If you needed 10 of valium, 4 of ativan, 5 of haldol and 5 of versed plus 50 of benadryl to deal with this patient for a few hours, what am I supposed to do if it wears off and he wakes up?
Wrong question. Wrong tone. Wrong Wrong Wrong across the board. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Go back to the beginning and start again. Never mind I never refused, just advised I had to consult with the supervisor. Never mind the nurse in question has been accused of diverting narcotics and never mind that in the past, these "refusals" were much more heated and I've always gotten along with the nurses in the ER. I was the perfect example to be made because I was dumb enough to walk right into it. No one will refuse a transfer now, no one will even question it. They'll be afraid but they'll do it because their job is important to them. Of course it was to me too. I just switched to this better shift, but the tradeoff was that I ran my ass off every week for the last 6 months. 40-48 hours straight every week. No break, tired as crap. I brought it up time and time again that it's hard to be good when you're so tired but I was overruled at every turn by people who just wanted to get their 40 in and get out. So if anything the moral of this story is, to thine own self be true. I knew back months ago it was getting ridiculous there. Personnel issues were being openly gossiped about by the old boss, the new boss and interim boss with people who had no business hearing them. Employee safety issues were routinely ignored because it's complicated to fix a broke clock, easier to just remember it's right twice a day and bring your own timepiece. We all know we flirt with danger every time we go on scene. Dispatch information is usually sketchy, patients unpredictable, family members agitated. Is it really necessary to have to worry about if your driver is texting while driving code 3? Or maybe they'll have another seizure after 2 documented episodes. Yeah, all that and more. So for the next few days, I'll enjoy the time left before the Mayan's exploding time piece comes up short. If it doesn't I guess I can go Christmas shopping and shoot off my fireworks and ponder what life after EMS looks like. If I decide to stay in I'll probably have to move to outdistance the rumor mill. At least my psychological intervention can help me determine why I shouldn't feel angry at the situation and get past it all. I never had any job I loved more, looked forward to and was always excited to be at. Until the last 6 months. Boy doesn't hindsight suck.
It took me 18 days to realize my bad month was going to screw up the Christmas of people I know and love. The hardest thing in the world was to let go of being mad and feeling betrayed and also totally responsible for the entire situation and say, Move on. Just like when your buddy separates or gets divorced or whatever event now makes continued miserable repeatments of how great they are and how low the other person is, rehashed daily for your benefit. I didn't get everything done that would have been over the top, like making cookies with the kids, fantasy fudge, homemade kahlua and trashing a certain someone's medical license. Ok, not completely let go but much further than before. The truth is they will self destruct on their own but tomorrow I can still make fudge that will spike everyone's blood sugar while still taking another week off to just enjoy everyone. I can't job search or do any serious semi permanent decisions until after the first. Isn't that a rule somewhere? Anyway, I will also take another 7 day and more introspection to decide if I want to stay in EMS or not. I had a busy week with the volunteer service I run with and until the day I pull out of town that won't change. Otherwise I will continue to think on it. Following a little old advice about not making hasty decisions.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. And please, if you're not having a great holiday, month, day, year or life, please don't do anything that will force an armed response. There's been too much violence the last few months and don't we all deserve a break? Try a pill, for Gods' sake. My vote is for 2 vicadin and a glass of wine.