Playing EMT

Let's Pretend (02-08 Epijunky)

I need to vent. There has been a lot of talk lately on what makes a Real EMT vs. someone “Playing” EMT. So, a short quiz for you:

A) Is it someone who volunteers and does the job for the love of it? The one who runs out of dinner at the sound of tones coming from his pager?

B) Is it someone who is a paid “Professional”? The one who they show on TV dropping an ET tube while hanging upside down through the sunroof of a crumpled up car?

C) Is it the Firefighter/Medic or the Private service EMT/Medic who works 24 hour shifts 48 or 72 hour weeks?

D) All the Above.

Of course the answer is D. All of the above. I don't know anyone who would disagree. Of course all of the folks in these roles are true EMT's. They're out there helping people when they're at some of the most vulnerable points in their lives. They are out there making a difference.

There is another group of people out there. A group who is often looked over, made fun of, thought less of, mocked, and even pitied. I'm talking about the Day Car crews. EMT's who work anywhere from 8-12 hour shifts (often longer if it's a busy day). They run all day long, from the minute they clock on until they clock out at night. Constant transfer runs. Pick up the patient, take them to dialysis. Pick up the bariatric patient, take them to wound care. Pick up the 98 year old woman and take her to a urology appointment. Your back hurts? Too bad, there's another run to take, and another six after that. You haven't eaten yet? Too bad, you should have packed something. You have to pee? Tough luck. Oh yeah, and we're paid very handsomely for all of this running.

Wow, it sounds like I'm whining. Please don't take this the wrong way, I LOVE my job. I LOVE (most) of my patients. I Love the fact that I work with such a fantastic group of people, and that I have a partner who can make me laugh to the point of tears (It helps the day go by much faster).

What I can't stand is being treated like I'm “Playing EMT”. I don't like feeling like I'm a second class citizen because I'm not out running dozens of emergency calls. The scary thing is it's OTHER EMT's and Medic's who are the most guilty of doing this.

We are every bit as much a part of the EMS system. We are important. We make a difference. We might not be out there saving lives and “Living the Dream”, but we're out there. We're comforting the Grandmother of ten who is in pain and tired from her dialysis. We're making sure the 600 pound gentleman can get to his doctor's appointment. We get abuse from people too... We get yelled at by people who refuse to lift a finger to help themselves. We get screamed at by psych transfers. I've been spit on, bitten, and knocked on my backside.

I respect all EMT's that do their job well. Whatever job that is.

We're all important to the system. So cut us Day Car crews a little break. We might not be working a 24 hour shift, but we're exhausted just like you are. A lot of the day cars do as many runs in 12 hours as you do in 24. We just want to be treated with the same respect that you expect for yourself.


Fyremandoug said...

Oh I hate the condesending Shit that I am just a Volly
I get so muther humping sick of it

And your word verification is still talking to me, it did in police and fireman also


Medic61 said...

Ugh, I hate that too! I'm a volunteer, and I've been very fortunate not to get that, but I've heard people talk shit about private transport companies.
Somebody very close to me is a private transport paramedic, and I can't even imagine not respecting that. He works way harder than I can fathom.
I appreciate what you do, Epi!

Epijunky said...

Fyreman: I have no idea what you're talking about, what exactly is it doing? Speaking in tongues? Has it shared tomorrow's lottery numbers with you? (and if so, can we split it?)

All joking aside, I can't imagine talking down about a volly guy... The best firefighters I know are vollys, including my former partner.

Same for you, Sam... Why can't we all just get along? :) OKay, so that's a little Pollyanna of me to expect, but still. By the way, I really enjoyed your last post.

Medic61 said...

Yeah for real, why *can't* we all just get along!? *Sigh*...

And thank you! :)

(Also, the word verification thingy says "ldsdjvag". Nothing great there, except for "vag"...hehe.

Epijunky said...

You made me snort. It's not very attractive to my husband. He thanks you :)

You said "vag" hehehehehehehe

Okay, time for sleep... 0430 comes awful early.

david mcmahon said...

You're so right, Epi.

It's all about respect, not about stats or figures or budgets or anything else.

I recognise the objects in the picture - have spent many hours with my kids, using those play instruments!

And thank you for the very generous comment on my blog, too.

Keep smiling.

Epijunky said...

Hey David, thanks so much for the kind words...

And I meant what I said on your blog... You've been inspiring. You've given freely of your talent and I appreciate it.

katydidnot said...

keep doing what you do. it matters. nice post.

John-Michael said...

So much that could be said ... all offered in "NAMASTE" (The spirit within me ... bows in honor of the spirit within You.)

Anonymous said...

I started my career running "granny calls" for a private transport service, and was a volunteer ff in high school. Went on to be a professional ff/paramedic. All the haters have truly forgotten where they came from. Don't worry about it. Paying your dues now is the best thing you can do....remember, everything relies on basics, ABC's-the work you are doing now is just as important-and will pay off in spades later when green people come out of paramedic school and you are already seasoned. Kudos to you, honey. Well said.