Empathetic vs. Pathetic

Empathetic vs. Pathetic
Listen up EMS

By Adam Thompson, EMT-P

I know I have pretty much kept this blog purely aimed towards education, fact, and evidence. It is time for a rant though.

Please read the following links before continuing:
So what do we do? How do we change the attitude of our fellow EMSers? Do we need to make the change, or do they?

This is something I have been cognizant of for some time. Being an overachiever in EMS gains you no friends. The more successful you are, the bigger your blip is on the radar of ridicule. But who cares, right? They aren't talking about you for being a cretin medic that screws up on calls.

Example. I am a young, but experienced medic. I have achieved a lot in my career. I am a published author. My training captain recently sent out one of my articles with a thumbs up message to my entire agency. The response was as good as it was bad. The ongoing joke is with every conversation I bring up I hear "why don't you go write an article about it". Some of this may be just a joke, but I can feel the animosity from many. Why?

The Problem

I think, from my experience I have pinned down one problem. We are our own bosses.

I know we all have bosses, chiefs, supervisors, what have you. What I mean is, most of us don't have those people on our trucks with us. If you work in a system like mine, you may be the lone medic working with an EMT, or maybe you are the EMT. I think that the systems that have multiple medics per ambulance suffer less from these issues--and here's why.

If you are use to making your own decisions with little repercussion and the ignorant feeling of correct-fulness, you will not likely be inclined to take advice from your fellow medics. I dread the response of a peer that I attempt to assist with a smidgen of education. Because there is a naive belief that they know EVERYTHING.

Why are we so damn sensitive?

If you haven't read my letter to the new guy, go read it. It is time we toughen up. If a salesman isn't making a company any money, are the bosses going to be fearful to approach him?

I was speaking with one of the white shirts (officer) from the training department the other day and made some proposals. I said we should have a real QI/QA committee that picks ten calls at random every month. Some ran good, some not so good. Then, the medics on each of those calls would have to present each case in front of their peers. There would be questions and answers.

My thought was that we hear about the bad calls through hearsay all the time, but do those medics get to defend themselves on a normal basis--no! A lot gets lost in translation. Sometimes you have to be on a call to understand, right? Well here is the chance to remedy that while implementing a QI/QA process that physicians use and grow from.

His response: The union will never allow it.

What the hell are we doing to ourselves? While unions might be established to protect the best employees, why do they work so hard to keep the worst? We can learn so much from each other, but you can't learn if you keep thinking there is nothing left to learn.

We all mess up. Get over it!

I consider myself a pretty educated paramedic. I have made many mistakes.

Now think about that. When do you learn most? I'm not saying that there is a cemetery somewhere, filled with all my mess-ups. I'm talking about simple, little mistakes. Mistakes that if unmade, would have lead to more information and a faster diagnosis or better treatment modality.

If you think you are invincible, go ahead and continue living on your beachfront desert property. You make mistakes too.

If you can learn so much from your mistakes, and I can learn so much from mine, why can't we BOTH learn from EACH OTHER'S mistakes? This of coarse requires a deflation of bulbous craniums.

When did this stop being about the patients?

Empathy is a virtue that is quickly finding itself on the endangered attributes list.

Please read Professionalism: What we say by me.

No matter what you read here, or believe. No matter how long you have been doing this. No matter how bitter you are. You have to agree that at some point of your career you wanted to help people. You wanted to make a difference, and do some good. So I ask you this... Are you?

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