Posted by: medicblog999 | December 30, 2008

A Good Day!!

I recently had a shift on the vehicle which turned out to be a very rewarding day! There were no lives saved, there were no horrendous traumas, no babies born and no “big jobs”.

The day consisted of 9 separate 999 emergencies, all of which didn’t really require an ambulance response, none of which needed to go dashing up to the local accident and emergency department and none of which needed a single paramedic intervention.

Now, most paramedics would see this as a waste of resources, a waste of time and also a waste of the years of training and experience that we are required to have to perform our role well. I too hold this view at times but this day was different…

 Amazingly, all of the patients my partner and I attended that day were pleasant, grateful, gracious and generally nice people. Their families were apologetic that they had to call us but they felt that they had nowhere left to turn. They knew that this wasn’t really what ringing 999 was for and they hoped that they were not wasting our time!

 It makes a big difference when you walk into a house and are met with kind faces looking for help rather than expectant faces demanding care when none is required or demanding transport when emergent care at an accident and emergency unit is not needed.

 All of the patients that day did need help. To be honest, none needed emergency life saving care, but they all had a genuine need for some help or direction as to where they can get the help they require. A number of these patients were referred onto local GPs who would be visiting later in the day, some were referred onwards to teams of outreach nurses that tend to the patients in their home rather than in the hospital. These are not district nurses, but nurses who will assess and look after patients with urgent problems such as mild exacerbation of COPD (chronic airways disease), chest infections and nausea and vomiting, in the short term to try, and keep them from needing a hospital admission. One was treat in the home by myself by glueing a small scalp laceration and one needed nothing else other than reassurance that nothing horrible was happening to her.

It was only a few years ago that all of these patients would have been taken up to the hospital to spend a few hours in casualty only to be discharged home later the same day. We have come a long way in a short time. We now have multiple care pathways that we can access to ensure that they patient gets the right type of help, in the right time and at the right place, which will hopefully be in their own home.

It may not have been a dynamic or dramatic day but it was a good one. Each and every patient and their families appreciated our input and valued our attendance. I honestly feel that we made a difference to those patients on that day. It is very easy to become jaded and disheartened with this job, but it is of the upmost importance that we as professionals remember that although we see hundreds and thousands of patients, the one contact a patient may have with the ambulance service may be the day that we feel undervalued, taken for granted or just generally fed up.

It would be a real shame for that one genuine patient with a minor ailment to feel the brunt of a disheartened paramedic just because they had no where else to turn.

 We dont always need to save lives to make a difference.

 We dont always need to save lives to have a good day!

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