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Administration & Leadership, EMS, EMS 2.0, Rescue

I’m a better Paramedic than you

You sat on the tailboard of the rescue truck and told her she was wrong, you didn’t need any more schooling.  You had a job as an EMT and liked it where you were.  You didn’t want to leave your friends and you didn’t.

I wouldn’t be surprised if you are still there.

Still making $4.35 an hour?  Oh, got a little bit of a raise did you?

It’s not that you are a bad practitioner, just not as good as you could be.  I may not be the best there is, but I’m better than you. You settle for the status quo, a nice shift on a mediocre rig because it’s easier.  Screw that.  Your patients, your system and you deserve better than that.  When the water pipes leak, I don’t want someone who thinks plumbing is neat, I want someone who is at the top of their game, well versed in the art and passionate about what they are doing.

You are none of those things.

This may come as a shock, but you landed where you are by chance, not by skill.  Big deal you put out a grass fire when they couldn’t, they needed someone anyway.  You had a rare opportunity to take a chance and turn it into something fantastic but instead chose a life of low call volume, low pay and low expectations.

What are you hiding from?

Ridicule?

Failure?

The possibility you’ll like it too much?

News flash, jerk, you DO like it too much.  You love it.  Stop fooling yourself thinking opportunity will find you in the little corner of the world you’ve chosen to hide in.  Stop whining about why things are so screwed up and find out how to make them better.  The only solution you’ll find on the Playstation is how to get the Tombraider out of level 4.

WAKE UP, JUSTIN!

You’re sleeping all night and all day, running 2-3 calls in a 24 hour cycle and thinking this is enough to satisfy that desire instilled in you as a child?

What would your father say?  Your mother?  Or worse yet, that girl who saw your potential but not even the slight possibility you would pass on her suggestion you could do better.

I took the chance.  I listened and I learned.

Those extra classes you were afraid of made me think differently.  I am anticipating patients responses instead of trying to react to them.  You could be 2 steps ahead, instead you are 2 steps behind.

I’m better than you in more ways than I can count and I wake up every morning glad I’m not you.

Respectfully,

the Other You.

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  2. michael June 5, 2010 5:46 am

    Nicely done, HM. Your skill as a writer improves all the time. This story hooked me, got me angry at first, reflective second, and finally determined to try harder at what I do.

    That’s some good stuff there!

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  4. michael June 5, 2010 5:46 am

    Nicely done, HM. Your skill as a writer improves all the time. This story hooked me, got me angry at first, reflective second, and finally determined to try harder at what I do.

    That's some good stuff there!

  5. Epijunky June 5, 2010 5:10 pm

    Fantastic, Happy. I had the same reaction Michael did. To the letter.

  6. Epijunky June 5, 2010 1:10 pm

    Fantastic, Happy. I had the same reaction Michael did. To the letter.

  7. Ethan June 5, 2010 9:00 pm

    I enjoyed this! It comes at a great time for someone me, I’ll be starting paramedic school in the fall. Thanks for the inspiration!

  8. Epijunky June 5, 2010 5:10 pm

    Fantastic, Happy. I had the same reaction Michael did. To the letter.

  9. Sean Eddy June 5, 2010 11:22 pm

    Man that hits home. Great post!

  10. efd996mk@yahoo.com June 6, 2010 1:13 am

    Wow….and Thank You.
    mk

  11. Ethan June 5, 2010 9:00 pm

    I enjoyed this! It comes at a great time for someone me, I'll be starting paramedic school in the fall. Thanks for the inspiration!

  12. SeanEddy June 5, 2010 11:22 pm

    Man that hits home. Great post!

  13. Austin June 6, 2010 5:46 am

    “I’m a better paramedic than you” is an ugly, arrogant statement to title any post, and even if it wasn’t your ‘take-home’ message puts a seriously bad taste in my mouth as a potential new reader.

    While I do understand your true point, it too is as flawed as your title. When my pipes leak, I want a plumber who can fix my problem. I don’t care if he has taken all the plumbing continuing education or knows how to use advanced fiber-optic techniques to visualize the interior of my pipes, I want him to stop my damn pipes from leaking. From the same standpoint, if I call an ambulance, I want someone who can take me to the hospital quickly, and keep me alive (if possible) en route. The right answer to that isn’t always (or even usually) a Paramedic.

    Half of the team providing emergency care on an ambulance is driving–definitely a BLS skill. I can count on one hand the number of times that I absolutely needed another Paramedic to assist with my patient, and that was back in the days that every cardiac arrest needed an immediate intubation. With standards now, one Paramedic can handle just about anything (with one patient.) Everything else is a BLS skill, and as more and more research is done, we find out how little all the ALS management in the world matters to most patients (and sometimes how much we’ve actually hurt the patient…)

    You want to rail against EMS education? Absolutely, I’ll stand right behind you. Trying to imply that everyone should become a paramedic is simply the wrong tact. We need -good- EMTs a hell of a lot more then we need more (mediocre) Paramedics. In most parts of the country, students have barely (if any) innate grasp of BLS skills before we’re forcing them to try to pick up ALS skills?

    “BLS before ALS,” right? How about we actually -practice- that for once?

    • the Happy Medic June 7, 2010 3:12 am

      Austin,
      I understand how this post seems to a new set of eyes visiting the site and I more than appreciate you taking your time to not only read it, but to comment on it.
      In my experience a “basic” trained plumber will only lead to another call out in the future. I want someone who can think ahead of not only this situation, but the next and anticipate problems.
      Being a new reader you are not getting this particular post at the best time.
      You state that when you call an ambulance you want them to get you to the hospital quickly and keep you alive on the way there. I’m all for that, but what about the upwards of 80% of EMS calls that don’t require an ambulance? That is one of the issues I discuss often here is giving more training to the field providers to know, assess and then do what is right for the patient. As you point out it is rarely an ambulance and, even then, rarely ALS.
      This letter was one I wrote to myself, describing a key moment in my life when my then girlfriend, now wife, told me “get off your ass, you don’t belong here. You’re better than this place.”
      I’m thanking myself more and more that I listened to her that day.
      Thanks again for taking the time and I promise to lighten it up around here soon.
      Justin

  14. efd996mk@yahoo.com June 6, 2010 1:13 am

    Wow….and Thank You.
    mk

  15. Austin June 6, 2010 5:46 am

    “I'm a better paramedic than you” is an ugly, arrogant statement to title any post, and even if it wasn't your 'take-home' message puts a seriously bad taste in my mouth as a potential new reader.

    While I do understand your true point, it too is as flawed as your title. When my pipes leak, I want a plumber who can fix my problem. I don't care if he has taken all the plumbing continuing education or knows how to use advanced fiber-optic techniques to visualize the interior of my pipes, I want him to stop my damn pipes from leaking. From the same standpoint, if I call an ambulance, I want someone who can take me to the hospital quickly, and keep me alive (if possible) en route. The right answer to that isn't always (or even usually) a Paramedic.

    Half of the team providing emergency care on an ambulance is driving–definitely a BLS skill. I can count on one hand the number of times that I absolutely needed another Paramedic to assist with my patient, and that was back in the days that every cardiac arrest needed an immediate intubation. With standards now, one Paramedic can handle just about anything (with one patient.) Everything else is a BLS skill, and as more and more research is done, we find out how little all the ALS management in the world matters to most patients (and sometimes how much we've actually hurt the patient…)

    You want to rail against EMS education? Absolutely, I'll stand right behind you. Trying to imply that everyone should become a paramedic is simply the wrong tact. We need -good- EMTs a hell of a lot more then we need more (mediocre) Paramedics. In most parts of the country, students have barely (if any) innate grasp of BLS skills before we're forcing them to try to pick up ALS skills?

    “BLS before ALS,” right? How about we actually -practice- that for once?

  16. Mark Z June 6, 2010 1:16 pm

    Austin,
    I think you missed his point completely, this article, post or whatever you want to call it was about being the best YOU can be. It is written from the viewpoint of that voice inside all of us that speaks to us about making ourselves be the best WHATEVER we are, firefighter, emt or plumber. My guess is that it struck a little close to home and you don’t like it! Nice post HappyMedic! 🙂

    • the Happy Medic June 7, 2010 3:13 am

      Regardless of the motivation for commenting, the fact that folks are discussing these and other issues is a wonderful thing. Thank you for stopping by and if you plan on returning we’ll need to shorten that name of yours to EMT-Z. ;P

      • Mark Z June 7, 2010 8:04 pm

        I will be returning because I enjoy reading your posts and follow your blog just about every day! 🙂

  17. FF-EMT Zanghetti June 6, 2010 9:16 am

    Austin,
    I think you missed his point completely, this article, post or whatever you want to call it was about being the best YOU can be. It is written from the viewpoint of that voice inside all of us that speaks to us about making ourselves be the best WHATEVER we are, firefighter, emt or plumber. My guess is that it struck a little close to home and you don't like it! Nice post HappyMedic! 🙂

  18. michael June 6, 2010 6:39 pm

    Damn, Austin, I’m not even a Paramedic and I got the post. I’m a pretty good EMT. This post makes me want to be a better one. Simple as that.

  19. michael June 6, 2010 2:39 pm

    Damn, Austin, I'm not even a Paramedic and I got the post. I'm a pretty good EMT. This post makes me want to be a better one. Simple as that.

  20. michael June 6, 2010 6:39 pm

    Damn, Austin, I'm not even a Paramedic and I got the post. I'm a pretty good EMT. This post makes me want to be a better one. Simple as that.

  21. the Happy Medic June 6, 2010 11:12 pm

    Austin,
    I understand how this post seems to a new set of eyes visiting the site and I more than appreciate you taking your time to not only read it, but to comment on it.
    In my experience a “basic” trained plumber will only lead to another call out in the future. I want someone who can think ahead of not only this situation, but the next and anticipate problems.
    Being a new reader you are not getting this particular post at the best time.
    You state that when you call an ambulance you want them to get you to the hospital quickly and keep you alive on the way there. I'm all for that, but what about the upwards of 80% of EMS calls that don't require an ambulance? That is one of the issues I discuss often here is giving more training to the field providers to know, assess and then do what is right for the patient. As you point out it is rarely an ambulance and, even then, rarely ALS.
    This letter was one I wrote to myself, describing a key moment in my life when my then girlfriend, now wife, told me “get off your ass, you don't belong here. You're better than this place.”
    I'm thanking myself more and more that I listened to her that day.
    Thanks again for taking the time and I promise to lighten it up around here soon.
    Justin

  22. the Happy Medic June 6, 2010 11:13 pm

    Regardless of the motivation for commenting, the fact that folks are discussing these and other issues is a wonderful thing. Thank you for stopping by and if you plan on returning we'll need to shorten that name of yours to EMT-Z. ;P

  23. the Happy Medic June 7, 2010 3:12 am

    Austin,
    I understand how this post seems to a new set of eyes visiting the site and I more than appreciate you taking your time to not only read it, but to comment on it.
    In my experience a “basic” trained plumber will only lead to another call out in the future. I want someone who can think ahead of not only this situation, but the next and anticipate problems.
    Being a new reader you are not getting this particular post at the best time.
    You state that when you call an ambulance you want them to get you to the hospital quickly and keep you alive on the way there. I'm all for that, but what about the upwards of 80% of EMS calls that don't require an ambulance? That is one of the issues I discuss often here is giving more training to the field providers to know, assess and then do what is right for the patient. As you point out it is rarely an ambulance and, even then, rarely ALS.
    This letter was one I wrote to myself, describing a key moment in my life when my then girlfriend, now wife, told me “get off your ass, you don't belong here. You're better than this place.”
    I'm thanking myself more and more that I listened to her that day.
    Thanks again for taking the time and I promise to lighten it up around here soon.
    Justin

  24. the Happy Medic June 7, 2010 3:13 am

    Regardless of the motivation for commenting, the fact that folks are discussing these and other issues is a wonderful thing. Thank you for stopping by and if you plan on returning we'll need to shorten that name of yours to EMT-Z. ;P

  25. Mark Z June 7, 2010 4:04 pm

    I will be returning because I enjoy reading your posts and follow your blog just about every day! 🙂

  26. Mark Z June 7, 2010 8:04 pm

    I will be returning because I enjoy reading your posts and follow your blog just about every day! 🙂

  27. Manda June 8, 2010 2:27 pm

    I really like this post. I read often, but rarely respond and suppose i should more often. I appreciate how pointed it is and yet open to each of our own interpretation. I read it as a fairly new medic getting into too much of a casual work rut and ignoring the feeling under my skin that i need to DO something. Get back in school, get on a more active truck, reread some stuff before all my insecurities greet me on one big bad call and i kick myself for not being the best medic i can and should be. Then after reading another persons response, i went back through and reread it with a more open mind. It talks about EMS, talks about fire, talks about plumbing… but at no time did it say one of those is better than another, nor did it tell me to change and become any of those things. It just said to be who i am- but better. I feel like i was just called out a little bit, and i appreciate it. I think defensiveness could be a step in the right direction as far as self improvement goes. The thinking process has started and led to talking. A little more talking, a lot more listening, even more action and well, the prospect excites me.

    Thank you again HM. I think i’m gonna go study something now…

  28. Amanda June 8, 2010 2:27 pm

    I really like this post. I read often, but rarely respond and suppose i should more often. I appreciate how pointed it is and yet open to each of our own interpretation. I read it as a fairly new medic getting into too much of a casual work rut and ignoring the feeling under my skin that i need to DO something. Get back in school, get on a more active truck, reread some stuff before all my insecurities greet me on one big bad call and i kick myself for not being the best medic i can and should be. Then after reading another persons response, i went back through and reread it with a more open mind. It talks about EMS, talks about fire, talks about plumbing… but at no time did it say one of those is better than another, nor did it tell me to change and become any of those things. It just said to be who i am- but better. I feel like i was just called out a little bit, and i appreciate it. I think defensiveness could be a step in the right direction as far as self improvement goes. The thinking process has started and led to talking. A little more talking, a lot more listening, even more action and well, the prospect excites me.

    Thank you again HM. I think i'm gonna go study something now…

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