The following article is what I submitted to my Fire/Rescue/EMS department’s monthly newsletter for this month’s EMS column. It has a readership of every one of the the 110 or so members of the department, their families, and a good percentage of the 30k or so people in our district. They know me personally as someone who (Imagine this) likes EMS.
If you like this article, feel free to steal it and use it for your purposes. All I ask is that you keep the links intact and give byline credit. Shoot a comment to me too so I can see if it indeed does go anywhere.
Oh, and here’s a thought. If you would like a short EMS related piece to put into your department’s newsletter, shoot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org I’ll be happy to come up with something.
It’s well known around the department that I like the ambulances and EMS in general. I do, and I’ve always been proud to be a part of (My Department’s) EMS program. I think that the level of dedication and professionalism in our department is second to none and that our program is certainly one of the best in the region and in the state.
With that said, in EMS there is never a time to slow down and rest on our laurels. The science that drives our brand of medicine is constantly evolving and the only constant is change. In my EMS career, I’ve seen “The Right Thing to Do” for my patients change more times than I thought possible. Continuing education, reinforcing the basics, and studying the latest research is key in keeping oneself in step with how best to care for our patients. As with any community based Emergency Medical Services provider, our citizens are our families, neighbors, and friends. We have the responsibility of being the first line of defense against the very worst times in peoples’ lives and it is our duty to be at our best when we are called to make a difference. The people we care about most are depending on us.
Just as in firefighting, in EMS, the little things make the biggest difference. It really is the Basic Life Support care that makes everything else work and our calls run the smoothest. Patients do not necessarily perceive the skillful application of Advanced Techniques or medications given to them, but they certainly appreciate the attention given to treatment of their ABCs, their comfort on the cot, pain relief and stabilization through proper splinting techniques, the compassion of the care providers, and the cleanliness of our ambulances and equipment. It has been said that “Perception is Reality”, meaning that the way someone perceives you or your organization affects their own reality. In EMS, good perception actually has been shown to provide for better patient outcomes. Really, if you have more confidence in the skill or effectiveness of your medical provider or a technique, you’re statistically more likely to have a better outcome.
It is so important for us as healthcare providers to focus on providing the best care possible for our current patients, but also to keep an eye out for future patients. Start now by making sure that the ambulance is thoroughly cleaned at the start of every day and after every call. Make sure that your equipment is ready to go and that you’re an expert in its use. Read something educational every day to keep yourself in the right mindset and to keep your skills sharp. Pull things out and practice with them. Come up with questions to ask the more experienced providers and don’t be afraid to ask them. It is every EMTs duty to become an expert in prehospital care and you are the only one who can expand your knowledge enough to become one. Study every day.
Here are some resources I use every day, they teach me something every time I use them:
- Http://www.happymedic.com – A San Francisco Firefighter/Paramedic and his adventures in EMS.
- Http://www.999medic.com – A British paramedic working EMS with our neighbors across the pond.
- Http://www.theEMTspot.com – Educational tidbits, tips, and tricks from a Colorado Paramedic.
- Http://www.EveryDayEmsTips.com – A Social Media, training, and EMS guru with daily tips to improve your care.
- Http://paramedicine101.blogspot.com – In-Depth Educational Articles for EMS providers.
- Http://www.LifeUnderTheLights.com – Your’s Truly’s random musings on the EMS.
Of course, getting your hands on a copy of JEMS or EMS Magazine is great too. Learn something every day, take pride in yourself, your service, and the care you provide. Your next patient could be your loved one, make sure they’d get care that you’d be proud to give them.