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.