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ClutzyEMT

Do we want "Respect"?

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Do we in EMS want the media, the public, our peers, or most importantly our patients, to take us seriously and respect the profession of EMS as much as we feel they respect the office of state trooper or police officer? Do we want a certain level of respect from the people we serve which recognizes the continual education and training hours we pursue to remain at the top of our field? From all intents and purposes, we seem to want that. In our off hours we will oftentimes don sweatshirts or T-shirts with “EMS for Life” emblazoned across the back of them. We wear our duty jackets when we are not working. Some of us even adorn our vehicles with some type of EMS symbol or lettering to further proclaim, or solidify our relationship with our chosen career in EMS.

When tragedies such as the Boston Marathon bombing, a 104 car pile-up on a busy Denver Interstate, or the stabbing of dozens of students at the Franklin Regional High School in Pittsburgh strike and peoples lives are saved by ourselves, or others in our profession, we are proud to be a member of the EMS community. When a citizen in our community walks out the door of a hospital, weeks after surviving a cardiac arrest that we responded to, we are justifiably proud of ourselves, our ambulance service and proud of our responding crew. We are proud to be one of the few.

We dedicate our lives to learning the rapidly changing world of emergency medicine and spend countless hours out of our daily lives training, adapting, and overcoming obstacles. We meet life threatening calls head on and battle drug addiction, alcoholism, and neglect on a weekly basis as a part of this career we have chosen. We carry the secrets of the dark side, the unimaginable sights and smells that we encounter deep within ourselves. We watch our children a little closer, and maybe trust a little less. We have seen the worst side of what people can do to others or themselves, and we carry that part of life inside of us. Hidden away from the public’s eye and away from our family and friends.

Because of our career choice and our decision to enter EMS, we have accepted this responsibility of being the ‘secret keepers.’ No one is forcing us to stay in this industry and it is a decision we have made of our own free will. And because of this, because of our conscious decision to become a public servant, we are held to a higher standard in the public’s eye than many other occupations. We are expected to maintain a high degree of confidentiality concerning what we have seen in the field. We are expected to be professional. We are expected to have the maturity and the ability to retain all these qualities on a daily basis while we are interacting with our patients and with the public. And for the most part, I think as an industry we do quite well at this task.

But I also think that as an industry we could do much better. We need to band together and make a conscious effort to encourage each other and support each other. And we need to remind each other that the public is watching us. With the world’s Wi-Fi technology and the increasing ability of the public to access what was once heard or said behind closed doors, between two providers in our field, can spread across the internet in the blink of an eye. What may be considered by those of us who work the streets and run the calls as an innocent comment uttered out of frustration can be construed, or embellished to make it more than what it was intended to mean. In an instant it can be turned from a frustrated comment into a malicious attack on our patient. And it can’t be taken back. What was once said in the rig or in the station house out of simple frustration or exhaustion is now being developed into sweatshirt and t-shirt slogans. It’s appearing on postcard type pictures that spread across the internet like wildfire with big bold words stating, “EMS- Where your stupidity is my job security,” and other forms of a less than a professional view of the people we serve. We can make all the excuses in the world for why it was said, we can rationalize it, giggle about it, and even understand it, but we can’t take it back once it’s out there in social media. And then we must work twice as hard to regain the respect that we sometimes so delightfully sabotaged in our effort to be comical.

If we truly want to be respected, we must first respect those that we serve as well as each other. We need to remind each other that this is a career path or profession that we chose.

We must also learn to have more respect for each other within our industry and stop getting into public squabbles over whose patch is shinier than whose and who is the most important provider in the chain of survival. But that’s a discussion to be held at another time and another place.

Tami Bulik

NREMT-I

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AMEN Tami:

Now I'll go stand in the corner for being hard on a wanker :turned:

was an EMT-I 99 now NREMTA

retired after too many decades of the above

Ed

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I'll bring you some cupcakes in the corner Ed.....the wanker didn't want to listen and had already decided that regardless of what people who have years of experience had to say, she was going to do it the way she wanted to. She didn't want advice, she wanted someone to tell her she was right and that she could be become a miracle EMT in three weeks and go out and start "saving" lives...."EMT" was just a stepping stone to her 'incredible' wages, not from any want to really help anyone besides herself in the process.........No getting through to people like that! Hopefully she doesn't make it into the "50%"........

Tami

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I don't know if things will ever get better. Physicians used to be seen by the general public as a respectable position. The last 1-2 decades have changed that. We are now seen the same as any service worker where the customer orders what they want and gets what they want. It is not going to get any better with the current movement to pt satisfaction over quality care. The same is going to happen with EMS.

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it took us years to get the public to recognize we weren't just the ambulance drivers.

By the basic nature of what we do, we can't publicize our actions as the fire service tends to do.

Some ems services try to make it on the tv news a little too often and end up with their collective "arses in a crack " [ humah intended] with pt privacy issues.

Many folks don't even realize that EMS exists , until they need our services, other than being annoyed as we go by with our lights & siren blaring disturbing their peace & quiet

Respect from our patients and their family members can occur in many different forms, whether it is a smile or handshake or a hug from a person who's spouse you just "saved", or a note dropped in the mailbox.

Thank you cards have a great effect on your bosses knowing that you are providing excellent care for the customers. Letters to the editor from satisfied customers are always good as they tend to let the general public know how good the service is that you provide.

But in the end we work in a field where most of the time recognition is non existent and just toil away doing our jobs to the best of our abilities day in & day out .

If we want daily recognition , then we should be baseball players or some other highly overpaid person playing a game.

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Nice post Ms. Bulik (Can I call you that? I don't feel okay calling you Tami)

I am going to keep this in mind as I get into this profession.

Edited by Caduceus
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I'll bring you some cupcakes in the corner Ed.....the wanker didn't want to listen and had already decided that regardless of what people who have years of experience had to say, she was going to do it the way she wanted to. She didn't want advice, she wanted someone to tell her she was right and that she could be become a miracle EMT in three weeks and go out and start "saving" lives...."EMT" was just a stepping stone to her 'incredible' wages, not from any want to really help anyone besides herself in the process.........No getting through to people like that! Hopefully she doesn't make it into the "50%"........

Tami

Tami, maybe the 50% is all that she can do?

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Not trying to be rude --- it is probably me that is dumb, but what is your point ?????? I have no idea what you were trying to say or prove. You don't get respect, you earn respect. Are your co-workers being mean to you ????

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Not trying to be rude --- it is probably me that is dumb, but what is your point ?????? I have no idea what you were trying to say or prove. You don't get respect, you earn respect. Are your co-workers being mean to you ????

Yet you were just that, rude.

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I don't do the job for the respect I do it because I truely love to help the people in their worst day possible. I do it because others are unable to

Bear the burdens we handle on a daily basis. I do it for my coworkers who I can make there day just a little better. The only thing that I want at the end of the day is a simple thank you

Edited by Mario1105

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