Posted by: medicblog999 | October 28, 2009

Why I do this job.

night car

This post could go one of two ways when you read it, depending on who you are and what you do.

If you are in EMS, then you may like what I have to say, although if you are cynical about our profession and disillusioned with your work, you probably won’t.

If you are non EMS and are reading it from a lay person point of view you may also think I’m being a bit over the top, or you may value the fact that someone who may one day care for you (if you live in my region) feels this way.

So lets see, am I am pompous, over sentimental, over the top guy or am I just sharing how I truly feel, whether that be ‘cool’ or not.

Anyway, I have just cleared from a job which again had my heart fluttering a bit. On route it seemed like it was going to be one of those really bad RTC`s (road traffic collisions) that come around every now and then. However, once I arrived on scene I saw everyone out of the car that was absolutely destroyed at the side of the motorway.

No-one seemed injured in any way what so ever. If I was a religious man, I would say it was a miracle, but I am not, so I will say they were all truly lucky and the protection of crumble zones, air bags and seat belts really did do their jobs.

Following this, I was sent to another emergency out of my area and co-incidentally just around the corner from my home. Nothing exciting this time, but I still got some satisfaction from referring a patient on to an appropriate health care professional for further care and assessment instead of hauling them out of their house late at night.

Once I cleared, I quickly popped around the corner and knocked on my door to sneak a quick goodnight kiss from Mrs999, and headed off into the night again.

Now, here is the bit I might get called for……

As I am driving out of my estate and heading towards the motorway, I have a sudden and hugely enjoyable feeling of contentment in my work. The streets are getting quiet and there isn’t too much traffic on the road. I am driving my rapid response car back towards the station and some nice music is playing through the stereo. It’s a cool night, and my window is open slightly, letting the air flow into the car. I start singing along to the radio (I’m alone remember, I don’t have to torture my usual partner on the ambulance!) and I feel so calm.

As I drive through the streets, I feel a real sense of responsibility for my community. People are going to bed, children are sleeping soundly. Some may feel unwell and some may have health problems which cause them to call on us from time to time. Some unfortunate family may be about to have the worst night of their life, and I am driving around, just waiting to be called to go and help.

I feel lucky that I found my way into this career. I have worked hard; I have done more than what is required of me so that I can be the best paramedic I can be. I study more than the average person and I always learn from any patient that I didn’t know everything about their condition. It is my duty to know as much as possible about all of the reasons why my patients may dial 999.

The responsibility doesn’t scare me; I embrace it as a gift because of where I have got to in life and in my profession. No matter what comes up on my little computer screen in the car, I know that I can handle it. It may make my heart go fast and get the adrenaline going, but my patient and their relatives will never see that side. They will only see the calm exterior of a mind that is flying along trying to think of the best thing to do to help my patient.

I may not always get it perfect. I am only human, there are times that I still get my guidelines book out to check dosages and drug volumes, but I am fine with that. I would rather take a few seconds to check that I have a paediatric dosage correct than jump in and do something that I may regret later.

But as I drive along the road, I feel a smile come over my face. This is the best job in the world. There are so many people who would give anything to be in the position I am in. Maybe we should all remember that from time to time.

If you have been reading this blog for a while, it will be blatantly obvious that I am a glass is half full type of person. No matter what is going on in my work, if there are problems coming down from higher management, if my staff have gripes with things on station or with things that I ask of them, then that all disappears as soon as I am out in the car and looking after my patients. That is why I do this job, and hopefully, that is why you do it too.

I make no apologies if you are reaching for the vomit bowel. I have always said that I will share what I am feeling with you all, and it just so happens that tonight is a good night.

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Responses

  1. I hate you.Not for any other reason that I'm horrendously jealous. Knowing that you have the knowledge, skills and ability to walk into a horrible situation and make things better must be the most amazing feeling, especially when it all goes right. It's the same reason I volunteer – I've seen people come to us upset, scared or completely unconscious and after treatment they are able to walk out happy. Or at least happier than they were when they came in. Having to treat someone at a festival or something, where if the options are treatment or going home, and you're able to make it so they can go back out and enjoy themselves is an amazing feeling. It's nice being able to have a little chat with people as well, learning a tiny bit about them before they disappear and you'll probably never see them again.People look to you for that bit of reassurance, and it's scary, but so worth it. I don't really hate you 😉

  2. I'm with ya brother. A while back I wrote my version of this post. http://medicthree.com/2008/04/its-not-what-i-do

  3. I sit here some nights at my dinner table and my wife asks, “What are you smiling for?” I don't even realize I am doing it. Then I say, “I've got work tomorrow.” It's been a while since I was able to have that kind of feeling about my job. Don't get me wrong….there are days when I would rather throw the alarm clock out the window, roll over and go back to sleep, but when I sit down and really think about what I do….I can't help but bust out a little smile too 🙂

  4. I'm with ya brother. A while back I wrote my version of this post. http://medicthree.com/2008/04/its-not-what-i-do

  5. I sit here some nights at my dinner table and my wife asks, “What are you smiling for?” I don't even realize I am doing it. Then I say, “I've got work tomorrow.” It's been a while since I was able to have that kind of feeling about my job. Don't get me wrong….there are days when I would rather throw the alarm clock out the window, roll over and go back to sleep, but when I sit down and really think about what I do….I can't help but bust out a little smile too 🙂

  6. I don't really hate you either… I will however see how late you can stay up the night of the blogger meet up here in the states and see if you Limeys can party like US rednecks.I always get a certain feeling, here in the small jurisdictions where I tend to work, when call volume has called every other medic out of the city and I'm the only one left to respond to whatever call that comes in alone, that there are between 20k and 30k people out there in the night that will want to see nobody other than me if the unthinkable happens. It's exhilarating, and a terrifying responsibility actually. 30k people and *I'm* the one they're depending on to save them or their loved one from…. whatever?Know your stuff, fellow medics… know your stuff.Great post Mark. See you in LESS THAN TWO WEEKS!

  7. You absolutely hit the nail on the head there Chris!That's exactly the feeling I was trying to portray.Oh and as for the drinking me under the table….let's just see shall we!!

  8. I know exactly what you mean, except at our dinner table there are two of us in the job. It's not all laughs, there have been some pretty deep debriefs at that table!

  9. Mark, may I have permission to reprint your article as a handout for my first aid and CPR students? (Of course I'll credit you!) I generally teach at the Lay Responder level — nothing fancy, just your basic Red Cross curriculum — but I try to impress upon the students that this could be the first step in an exciting, rewarding, frustrating, heart-breaking, family-wrecking, fun-filled career that doesn't pay well, has crappy hours, and the ability to save lives.The most fantastic day of my life occurred not when I got married, not at the birth of our son, but when one of my CPR students, coming in to recertify, said she had heard what I said and decided to apply to paramedic school.I like to think I'm reasonably good with words, but you just said it a LOT better than I could.

  10. Mark, may I have permission to reprint your article as a handout for my first aid and CPR students? (Of course I'll credit you!) I generally teach at the Lay Responder level — nothing fancy, just your basic Red Cross curriculum — but I try to impress upon the students that this could be the first step in an exciting, rewarding, frustrating, heart-breaking, family-wrecking, fun-filled career that doesn't pay well, has crappy hours, and the ability to save lives.The most fantastic day of my life occurred not when I got married, not at the birth of our son, but when one of my CPR students, coming in to recertify, said she had heard what I said and decided to apply to paramedic school.I like to think I'm reasonably good with words, but you just said it a LOT better than I could.

  11. I would be flattered to have you share this post with your students Mr618.No permission required though, feel free to share whatever you like!Thank you for your kind words.

  12. Just been off and read it medicthree. I know exactly what you mean.Great post.

  13. it doesnt matter if you are a first aider, a volunteer or a paramedic, the one universal skill that the patients will remember is your bedside manner, your compassion and your kindness.You dont need training for that, you just either have it or you dont.Sounds like you have it too mate!

  14. I am a bit envious of your actually. I wish that I felt like that every day I went to work. Don't get me wrong, I do love my job right now, but working in a lab simply does not have the satisfaction of being on the ambulance. What you wrote is exactly why I volunteer. I love helping the people around me and if being a basic is the only way I can do it right now, then so be it. I will be just as happy getting up at 3 AM to help the grandmother that cannot get up as I am to help the sick dad simply because it means I can help.

  15. Wow. This post is really really inspirational, keep up the good work!It's nice to see someone so passionate about what they do for a living, this really is one of the few jobs that people don't go in for the money, it's about the care, love, helping hand and general compassion that they want to share with others. Maybe one day, i'll get this career, i'm envious of anyone who has it!

  16. Wow. This post is really really inspirational, keep up the good work!It's nice to see someone so passionate about what they do for a living, this really is one of the few jobs that people don't go in for the money, it's about the care, love, helping hand and general compassion that they want to share with others. Maybe one day, i'll get this career, i'm envious of anyone who has it!

  17. It's the point where you look forward to going into work that you realise you've made the right career choice…

  18. Hi mark, you asked me to comment on your blogs (if you remember??) so I'm commenting!!! Regardless of what anyone else at work thinks about your blogging, I find it very useful!! (especially the clip with the guy agonal breathing, I've never seen it before)As a brand spanking newly qualified Paramedic (currently awaiting registration, eeeeek!!) sometimes hearing the thoughts of another colleague who has been 'on the road' longer than I have is very very helpful. Its nice to know that you also have moments of trepidation when heading to jobs. As Ive been a student Paramedic for 2 years and allowed no responsibility during that time I find that the sudden arrival of full responsibility for my patients as soon as my name appears on the registration list rather daunting!!! Just a quick note of thanks, and keep up the good work!!!! P.s enjoy your wee break in San fran!!!

  19. B****y H**l Chris, you lucky sod!You have 20-30k people and you have more than one crew? The area in which I volunteer (as a CFR – get Mark to explain if you don't know) has one ambulance nominally on stand-by in the area, and sometimes a Fast Response car. There was even talk of “our” crew being moved nearer to the big city, adding 7-8 minutes to the travel time to the centre of our town.Whilst we've got two big cities nearby and can get ambulances from there, I went to a call less than two weeks ago where I was waiting 25 minutes for the truck. When I arrived the patient was blue around her lips (and just lighting a cigarettte!). She had sats of 78%. Luckily a little oxygen restored a bit of colour and gave her decent sats. However, if she'd had to wait another 25 minutes…Mind you, I know what you mean. I've called clear from a job to be told “you're it – we have no one else in the area”. The sense of responsibility and the level of trust given me allows a great deal of satisfaction and not a little apprehension.

  20. Hi mark, you asked me to comment on your blogs (if you remember??) so I'm commenting!!! Regardless of what anyone else at work thinks about your blogging, I find it very useful!! (especially the clip with the guy agonal breathing, I've never seen it before)As a brand spanking newly qualified Paramedic (currently awaiting registration, eeeeek!!) sometimes hearing the thoughts of another colleague who has been 'on the road' longer than I have is very very helpful. Its nice to know that you also have moments of trepidation when heading to jobs. As Ive been a student Paramedic for 2 years and allowed no responsibility during that time I find that the sudden arrival of full responsibility for my patients as soon as my name appears on the registration list rather daunting!!! Just a quick note of thanks, and keep up the good work!!!! P.s enjoy your wee break in San fran!!!

  21. B****y H**l Chris, you lucky sod!You have 20-30k people and you have more than one crew? The area in which I volunteer (as a CFR – get Mark to explain if you don't know) has one ambulance nominally on stand-by in the area, and sometimes a Fast Response car. There was even talk of “our” crew being moved nearer to the big city, adding 7-8 minutes to the travel time to the centre of our town.Whilst we've got two big cities nearby and can get ambulances from there, I went to a call less than two weeks ago where I was waiting 25 minutes for the truck. When I arrived the patient was blue around her lips (and just lighting a cigarettte!). She had sats of 78%. Luckily a little oxygen restored a bit of colour and gave her decent sats. However, if she'd had to wait another 25 minutes…Mind you, I know what you mean. I've called clear from a job to be told “you're it – we have no one else in the area”. The sense of responsibility and the level of trust given me allows a great deal of satisfaction and not a little apprehension.

  22. He's a northerner Chris,. they only drink shandy up there. 🙂

  23. He's a northerner Chris,. they only drink shandy up there. 🙂

  24. hi Kirsty!Thanks for taking the time to have a look at the blog. Im glad you like it. Please come back and comment whenever you want. Even (no,especially if you disagree with what I am saying)

  25. hi Kirsty!Thanks for taking the time to have a look at the blog. Im glad you like it. Please come back and comment whenever you want. Even (no,especially if you disagree with what I am saying)

  26. hi Kirsty!Thanks for taking the time to have a look at the blog. Im glad you like it. Please come back and comment whenever you want. Even (no,especially if you disagree with what I am saying)

  27. Hiya. Not reaching for a bucket – just hoping that if any of my loved ones ever have to call on our local services – that the person attending has your complete dedication to the job!

    Karen
    Just a member of the public 🙂

    • I’m really sorry that it to me so long to reply to your comment. Been a little hectic lately!!

      No need to reach for a bucket Karen, your comment is very much appreciated and means alot to me.

      Thank you for taking the time to leave it on the blog.

      Mark


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