Saturday, October 22, 2005
On Being Green
There are several sayings in EMS, like "it's not my emergency", "never do anything you don't want to have to explain to the paramedics later", and my personal favorite "Paramedics save lives, but EMT's save Paramedics" My first crew chief taught me that one. She said it after a bad call in which I was able to catch something that she had overlooked. It was something simple, something in the Basic Life Support department. We, medics sometimes get so wrapped up it doing the advanced medicine that we sometimes forget the Basic stuff. One of my pet peeves is Paramedics who develop this god complex and think they are above their EMT partner. I recently worked with a Paramedic who spoke very harshly about one of newly hired Basics, who is very green, however very sharp and always asks a lot of questions. The Basic was my relief one night after working with this medic, and she asked me if she could vent a bit. As she spoke of being very nervous during calls and how she really didn't know her place, I was brought back to when I was first hired as a brand new EMT. I had the same feelings. I shook my way through my first calls, hell, even now, I still shake through some of the bad ones. I told her that my voice sometimes still cracks when I give an encode to the hospital, especially if it's a sick patient. Since she is a part timer, she has had to work with many different crew chiefs and she said that was hard for her not working with the same partner. She was worried because every partner wants things done different ways...Like some carry all the gear into the house, some just carry a drug box. She got all worked up because she has worked with some of the most asshole of Medics, she kept saying how stupid she felt. I calmed her down, telling her that even I get freaked out, I'm still a bit green myself. I showed her how to set up things like the nebulizer and the CPAP machine. I told her most medics expect the basic EMT partner to put the patient on the monitor. If she works with a good Medic, not only will they show her how to work the 12 leadEKG correctly, they will show her what they are looking it, especially if it's interesting. I told her to ask alot of questions if she didn't understand. And that eventually it will all come to her. She will be able to do it without thinking. I hope I made her feel better. I still remember my first days. It was the hardest two weeks of my life, not counting the 14 months I spent in paramedic school. (but that was hard for different reasons). I was constantly being yelled at about my driving. And running code, and not blowing through intersections without clearing them first. Everyone has their strenths and their weakness. My just happened to be driving the unit. Hey, I was used to driving a compact car....What can you expect from me?