Monday, March 12, 2007

Rules of a Night Shifter

So while I was sitting cubicle hell today, trying to fight off sleep and my ADD by reading the newest issue of JEMS (Journal of Emergency Medical Services) I can across an article by Steve Berry. For those who aren't familar with the man. He is the man behind the I am NOT and ambulance driver cartoons. ( He also writes a column of JEMS. A humor column dealing with some of the lighter things in EMS...and they include the wonderfully twisted humor. This month's column actully caught my eye because he writes about the diffrence between Night shift medics and how we can be a little bit more...ah...rough around the edges. Mostly because we are sleep deprived weirdos who deal with more drunks, more psyhos, more violence than our daylight counterparts. EMS can be a difficult job, and even more when the sun goes down. We, as Steve puts it, "replace [our] pen- lights with the foot long MagLite, donning bullet-proof apparel, and matching garlic necklace, carrying Taser guns with silver-tipped prongs, recharging [our] iPods, and carrying a coffee mug so dee that it warrants a lifeguard when left unattended" He also explains how the attitude of the average EMS worker changes after about midnight. We may not be as sharp looking, sometimes fairly ragged, espaically if you catch us at the tail end of a 36 hour shift. As we know from my other post, I prefer the night. I am the only one in my circle of "medic friends" All the rest prefer working when the sun is out. I tried to explain it to them once, but it was futile. I think it has something to do with my mom being a night RN when she was pregnant with me, and when I was growing up, and when I started this job. It was the time I got the hang with my mom. Even now, if I work the city truck, we sometime go to the ER she works in and chill with them. The other people that work in the ED don;t mind because as long as we are with them, we aren;t out reeking havok and bringing them patients. And sometimes we even bring them donuts or bus-cuits from the 24 hour Hardee's down the skreet. So like like the night.
Steve Berry also mentions that everyone seems a little more laid back post midnight. oh...and he also has a list of rules that he states should be "posted on the ceiling of the ambulance, above the stretcher" They cracked me up, but are so true. Just ask any night medic so here...I will share...These are his words not mine...although I agree with every single one of them. (esp. rule number 2 and rule numbers 8, 9 and 10)
1. It's past midnight and I am not the same kindly medic I was at 8am, so be nice. I have big needles
2. I may need to examine you, but you..."no touchy" the medic
3. Alcohol may turn you into an idiot, but try not to be stupid
4.You are not Immortal. Beware: Ambulances used to be hearses
5.Don't force us to use retraints. We used to work in the rodeo
6. If you drank enough to require my services, it's not beneath your dignity to have me hand you a wastebasket to throw up
7.By law, you are not allowed to smoke in most public places. So what makes you think I am going to let you light up in an oxygen-enclosed closet on wheels
8. Arriving by ambulance to the ED won't necessarily get you faster service. Welcome to Managed Health Care.
9. If you think I'm tough, wait until you meat the ED triage nurse and hospital security guards
10. Maybe I wouldn't have to cut your clothes off if you had worn your seatbelt
11. Life's not fair. Get used to if. If it were there would not be 2 million lawyers in this town
12. Coming in by ambulance is not a "get out of jail free" card
13. To repeat: I am sorry, life is not fair. If it was, I wouldn't have to be here with you at this time and at this place. So, take responsiblity: Will this be cash or charge?

Taken from: "The Lighter Side: What They Don't Tell You in Medic School; When Darkness Falls by Steve Berry (JEMS, March 2007)

So To my fellow vampires...enjoy the night. Because everything looks to bright in the daylight.


Anonymous said...

I wholeheartedly agree with everything you wrote and want to add that it's all true for those of us who still do the 24's too!


Anonymous said...

LOL- yep- you said it! Thanks for the post- it had me rolling!