Sunday, June 19, 2005

The Basic EMT "Big Lie"

Ok, I'm back now. After months of not posting and my mental health continuously declining I feel that it's best that I start writing on a regular basis again. I just have to force myself into remembering that I can NOT say whatever I want to say. We all remember what happened with that the last time. I certainly don't want a repeat of that. Nor do I want to end up like this person.

If you are new to blogging let me fill you in on a few things. NEVER, EVER post ANY pictures of yourself. Either in uniform or not. Never post pictures of your company or their property unless you have their WRITTEN signed approval. Never mention ANY names or ANY places that can even remotely be linked back to you or your company.

Most people would never post any of these things out of malice. Most people just want to vent and have a little fun with the blogging community, but you have to understand that as you write more and more often you lose track of what you might have said. As you mood changes you might step over the line of what is acceptable by your company. This can and most certainly WILL lead to termination of your position with them.

I got lucky. I did not lose my job, but after I reviewed all the facts I realized that I could have been in much more trouble. Be smart guys, venting is fine, but do it in such a manner that your not going to put yourself in the soupline.


On to today's thoughts. The Basic EMT "Big Lie"

It's been quite awhile since I was a basic EMT, but I can still remember going to class with this big stupid grin on my face and really cramming the books.

I was going to be a HERO, I was going to be the guy that came in the nick of time and cured the full arrest, stopped the seizure and pulled the drowning baby from the bathtub. That was going to be me and my Basic EMS Classes and Instructor made me feel that way. IT WAS ONE BIG LIE.

Ask yourself. Are you going to work for a private service or a public service?

If your going to work for the public odds are your either a volunteer or a driver. Paid public service in most areas are going to have and Medic or Advanced in the back of the truck. As a volunteer you might get to work a bit more but check you scope of practice for your area and you'll find that your going to do just a little more than your adverage Red Cross person.

Now here is where the "Big Lie" starts. No EMS instructors tell their students what private EMS is like. In some areas private EMS companies run all the 911, but in most areas private EMS does either "Hand-Offs" or "Transports" Your basic EMTs in school are not properly informed as to what awaits them in the job market! Lets examine them:

1) Handoffs - Quite simply put; a public responding EMS service such as the fire department responds to a scene. They determine that there is a need for ambulance transport to the hospital, but there is nothing life threatening. They call a private service to do the transport. That is a perfect example of a "Hand-Off"

2) Transport - Sometimes referred to as a "tote". This is the private service bread and butter. It is also a very important part of EMS, but instructors fail to tell new basic EMTs that this is NOT lights and sirens and rush, rush, rush. Your going to be taking grandma to her doctors apt. Today because she can not sit for long periods of time. Get used to it, it makes up about 75% of all private service EMS runs.

As a basic EMT in a private company you can look forward to long hours with a pay scale of somewhere in the 16-22,000 a year range depending on where your working. You can expect to turn your lights and sirens on about 3 times a year (if your not on a 911 rig). You can expect to do anywhere for 6-10 runs in a 12 hour shift and have about 40 pages of paperwork to complete before you go home. You can expect to be under appreciated by every ER doctor you meet and frowned on by all Public EMS employees. Now that's the truth, but there is also another side! Read on before you start flaming me.

As a basic EMT in a private company you can look forward to taking your "regular" patients who know your name and are always happy to see you. You can expect to be a counselor to people with terminally ill family members. You can plan on being requested by patients in facilities that have grown to only trust you and your partner. You have the freedom to do things "Just Because". You can make your rounds though the nursing home checking on all of "your" patients keeping track of their progress with the staff. You can cry with a family on their loss. You are free to feel the joy of watching someone walk after the powers that be said they never would again. You get to see so many sides of medicine, and 10 times as many sides of the human race. This is where you are fortunate. You make a difference in these people's lives everyday and most of the time you never know it.

So instructors, start leveling with your basic EMT students. Those that want to actually make a difference in people's lives will respect you all the more, and those that are the glory hounds will silently drop from your classes and you are probably better off without them.



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Anonymous said...

I just somehow ended up here and I have to say, the first thing my instructor told me in class was QUIT NOW. Well we had a class of 30. At the end we had 5...of that 3 of us passed our national exam. I am happy to say that I am only part-time making 40,000. Our ambulance service is the busiest in our region although we are only a population of 4,000.