This is a simple test that you can use to see if you have the proper mindset to make it a decade or longer in this insane profession we call EMS.
NOTE TO NON-EMS PEOPLE: This post is geared especially to those in the industry. It explores humor that we employ to keep us with a healthy degree of insanity. If you’re not in the industry and you find this to be disagreeable in some way… well then in the words of Motorcop: “You’ve got the wrong frikkin’ blog pal!” Go read about scrapbooking or something.
This is a simple three question blog based quiz that you can use to determine if you have the right mindset needed to make it more than a few years in this crazy, wild profession we call EMS. If you fail this quiz, um… well then you should tear up your EMT card immediately or not. Nevertheless, if you find this at all funny, you’ve come to the right place. Howsabout that?
You’re working a service that employs two paramedics per day to support BLS ambulance crews in your jurisdiction and beyond. The other paramedic on duty with you that day responds to a neighboring jurisdiction and manages to resuscitate a patient in cardiac arrest. He transports the patient on-board the BLS ambulance to the local community hospital that does not have ICU admitting capabilities on site. Shortly after he transports the patient to the small ER he contacts you asking you to respond down with the ambulance to stat-transfer the patient to a tertiary ICU approx 1.5hrs away lights and sirens. The patient’s got three drips going, is receiving bolus cardiac meds, is on a ventilator, and is not doing well. The ER doc wants the patient outta there as soon as he can get him reasonably stabilized for emergent transport. Oh, and before you ask, the helicopter’s not flying due to weather. You’re it, Buddy.
You arrive at the ER with your EMT-Basic partner and um, you’re “enthused” about the “challenge” you’re about to face. Walking into the ER you hear more than the expected commotion coming from the patient’s room. You enter the room to find the ER staff performing CPR and attempting to resuscitate the patient after he went into cardiac arrest again. You and your partner assist, but despite everyone’s best efforts, the patient unfortunately expires.
When you return to service and get back to quarters, you expect your coworkers to:
- A. Be supportive and consolatory, understanding that you’ve just been through an intense, traumatic experience.
- B. Make fun of you and suggest that you’re an incompetent paramedic because, after all, the other paramedic “saved” the patient… then you showed up and killed him.
- C. Insist that you’re an agent of the grim reaper and pin up another chalk outline with a line through it on your “Bulletin Board of Death” they’ve got going.
Your rural ambulance responds to a local community health clinic for a “Woman in Labor”. Upon your arrival you find a 36 week pregnant female Gravita 3 Para 3 (3 Pregnancies, 3 live births) with contractions 5 minutes apart. The physician wants the patient transported to the local OB unit that is 45minutes away lights and sirens. You load the patient in the ambulance after assessing the patient and find that she is an otherwise healthy pregnant patient possibly in early labor. You initiate ALS care including o2, an IV, and an ECG monitor for good measure. Your partner points the ambulance towards the hospital and you take off lights and sirens. Ten minutes into the transport, the patient’s bag of waters ruptures and the patient states that she urgently feels the need to push.
- A. Tell your partner to pull the ambulance over to the side of the road in a safe area so that he can come back and assist while you pull out and open up the OB kit, preparing for imminent birth.
- B. Administer a fluid bolus in the hope that you can slow the imminent delivery.
- C. Calmly tell your partner to “Drive it like he stole it” and coach the patient in “trying not to push” while you try answer “B” and hold her legs firmly closed because hey, who wants to clean up afterbirth all over their ambulance?
You’ve just returned your ambulance to service after a mundane call on a particularly busy day. The other ambulance in the jurisdiction has not had a rough of a day as you’ve had and was out getting lunch when you returned to the station. Before you have the chance to radio dispatch and let them know that you’ve restocked and are back in service from the previous call, the tones drop for an unresponsive male patient that sounds like he has a severe lower GI bleed. Although you’re probably two blocks closer to the call than the other truck, they are dispatched because you haven’t gone in service yet. Their most direct route to the scene puts them right past the front of the station where they’re sure to see you on their way by.
- A. Call dispatch on the radio and inform them that you are indeed in service and will respond to the call if they wish you to do so.
- B. Quick, hide! Close the station door and pretend that you’re not yet back in quarters. They deserve to get the call, they’re only out two blocks farther than you are, and you don’t want them to see you and know that you’re ducking it.
- C. Run out to the front apron of the station and smile and wave as they drive by! Hiiiiieeey!! Enjoy the butt bleeder! Don’t forget to write!
Extra Credit Question:
How many fingers do you think that the other crew will wave back at you with when they pass you in the previous question?
If you answered mostly “A’s” – Congratulations, you’re a new, competent, caring EMT. Feel proud of yourself, but you’re probably not going to retire from this job. I could be wrong… but you’re pretty straight laced. Have fun with that.
If you answered mostly “B’s” – You’ve been in the business a while, haven’t you? You’re well on your way to developing the hard outer shell you’ll need to survive for a while in this business. Just don’t lose your gooey center.
If you answered mostly “C’s” – Um, you’re one of my coworkers, right?? Guys, come on… Why’d you go and dump a bucket of water on me last night while I was sleeping? If you’re not one of my coworkers, e-mail me and I’ll send you an application. You’ll fit right in.