Im not talking about my patient care or how I present myself to those who call 999 and get me turning up at their door.
This time, its all about how you can have a positive outlook on your job itself and the stresses that you put yourself under for no reason.
There are some things in our line of work that we cannot avoid, Splashed sadness being the most obvious ( I still think that is one of the best, most descriptive words I have ever heard in EMS – Kudos to Mr Kaiser!), but just for a moment, stop and take a look at yourself and your partner ( or ask yourself the same question even if you are in an entirely different profession) and think of how many times you get angry with control/dispatch or those that manage you?
Sure, I get wound up every now and then when things seem to be going all wrong and you get sent from pillar to post with no obvious reason. Yes, I get frustrated when I am asleep on my feet in the middle of a stint of night shifts and just when I get into the recliner on station I am sent out to go on standby to another station where those staff are resting whilst on their breaks. Sometimes I will grumble on in the vehicle and very very rarely I will question control directly about there decision.
However, 99.9% of the time I will just do as I am told.
I have wrote about this before, but it comes to mind again as the time of year approaches that we in the UK like to call “the winter pressures”.
Calls are already drastically on the increase, there is less and less time to be scraped on station and the late finishes are really starting to mount up. Tempers get frayed and frustrations start to rear their heads and in the vast majority of cases they are directed at those who press the keys and send the jobs from control.
Sometimes when I am on the ambulance its almost like a yin & yang experience in the cab. My mate will be cursing and shouting at the radio as we are turned around and sent in the opposite direction from the job that we were heading too, for the second time in a row, whilst I just sit and say ‘no problem’ on the radio. The discussion follows as he rants about how control dont know what they are talking about and dont have a clue about where we are and how there MUST be a closer vehicle than us.
“If there was a closer vehicle than us, do you not think that they would be sending them instead?”
We are constantly striving to meet our government response time targets and the computers in control automatically flag up the available crews that are close to an outstanding journey. They will also display the approximate e.t.a for all the vehicles and will suggest the most appropriate response in rank of time to scene. Now, I am not so niaeve that I dont understand that sometimes control may not allocate the closest vehicle every single time. There will be situations where the call is a non life threatening one and we have 18 mins to get to scene. If I am 10 minutes away and there is another crew 8 minutes away, but they havent had a break for the last 6 hours then quite frankly I would hope that the allocator would be willing to send us instead of them.
Thats not to say that control get it right all of the time, after all, no one is perfect right?
What frustrates me more than anything that control can do, is when I see colleagues ‘losing it’ because of how we are dispatched, where we are travelling to, the type of job we are going to, or even the late jobs. Like I said, I get frustrated too. Please dont assume that I dont get annoyed at times, but the big difference is that I dont let it spoil my day.
I dont get angry and I certainly dont take it out on anyone else.
Lets all remember that we knew what we were getting into when we took on this job. If you say that you didnt know, then maybe you should have researched your career choice a little more before you signed on the dotted line.
Sometimes it is our own outlook that makes the day tough for us. If I am on my normal shift, I am at work for 12 hours. 11 of those are paid for. That extra hour is for my breaks (unpaid).
As far as I am concerned, control can do with me what they like. You pay me for 11 hours, I will work for 11 hours, and for the vast majority of the time I will have a big smile on my face and will be happy that I am one of the fortunate ones who are lucky enough to be in this career.