Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Releasing Super Heros into the Wild World of EMS!

Last week I completed teaching my eighth EMT Basic class.  This week many of them are testing for National Registry and a couple have already passed.  Several of my students from previous classes are completing their Paramedic class and soon will be testing.  I am beyond elation that these folks are beginning their entry into the wild world of EMS.  However, it made me think about a few things. 

Sending out new Basics in to the world is like releasing baby Super Heros into the wild. 
They are entering a world where sometimes the logic is a little skewed.  They will encounter situations I could never create in the classroom environment.  They view themselves as heroes and haven't quite grasped the concept of humility and humbleness.  While I think it is an awesome thing they have accomplished, I do wonder how I can better prepare them for what they may face.  How do I take the "Super Hero" concept and not tarnish it, but make them realize that this job is one of the most difficult and life consuming jobs.  I imagine this is what they envision as soon as their certification shows up on the computer.

What I want them to know is that they will experience things most other people will never have the opportunity to.  Some of these will be awesome and some of them will be tragic.  I want them to maintain their sense of wonderment at the thought of this job.  I know that some of them will go on to be great- You know- like the old timer medics we talk about with such reverence.  Many things will happen to them along this crazy messed up path we walk.  They will have the high moments of -" Yeah, I saved that guy!" or "If I hadn't been there he would have been talking to Jesus."  They will have their low moments of doing compressions on a chest that barely accommodates two fingers, of explaining to husband that his wife of 50 years is gone, of holding the sobbing mother after another teenage drunk driving incident.  I try to prepare them for these situations,  I have them close their eyes and think of what they would do in that situation.  I know that will never be enough.  On the first day of class I ask all of them- Why are you here?  Nearly all of them say "I like/want to help people."  A few are a little more honest and say "I wanna drive fast and run red lights".  I know that many of them have the hero concept built into their heads. Pumped up by media and portrayed in interesting albeit mostly inaccurate probabilites- these students are excited about the class.  I don't want them to lose that- I just want them to realize we deal with real life.  Real life is raw, it hurts, it elates, it stabs, it steals happiness, it provides hope. 

Some time in the future I hope all my students look back and see how far they have come.  Most of them are very young and lack the life experience to accurately judge how beautifully cruel life can be at times.  For those that choose to remain in EMS, there will come a point of realization.  For some it won't take long and for others it will take a lifetime, but they will know that heros are for movies. They will take their Super Hero cape and put it away.
From that point on they will realize, that it's just a job.  A job that counts.  A job that is important.  A job that makes a difference.  A job that gives us fulfillment.  A job that dishes out disappointment.  What I want from them and you at this stage in their career is to pay it forward.  We must always look to the future.  We know we cannot last forever.  We must pave the way for future EMS generations to go forth and SAVE!!  Yeah I know- still get a little excited sometimes!!  Seriously though- We have been tasked with continuing on the way of EMS.  For those of you who take the time to show the "new guy" a few tips and tricks, Thanks!  Sincerely, I thank you for taking the time to invest in the future.  Too often I hear people talking about all the "rookies" or "newbies"- If you are one of these people who will take the time to point out what they are doing wrong instead of taking the time to show them the right way- maybe its time to find a new line of work.  We should all remember where we came from.  We all made mistakes, and learned from them.  We should all take the time and make it a priority to pass on our experiences and our mistakes.  For every student that comes out of my class, I hope that someone will take them and continue the process I have started. 

So, Good Luck my little super duckies... I wish you well.  There will be tough times. There will be great times. Don't lose the greater vision.  Find yourself a mentor.  And when you have served your time don't forget to pass it on.


  1. Great read Christie. There's alot more bs going on than what we see on Tv. Its knowing how to handle the BS correctly that'll make you a great medic.

  2. I have taken the time recently to go back...Facebook makes it pretty easy...and find the instructors, preceptors and partners who taught me what I know and tell them that every time I go out there, I carry them with me.

    Everything they were taught by somebody, lives within me. When you pass what somebody taught you on, it lives within them, and it will be passed on.

    You never know how you've affected somebody, so go find the people who made you what you are and tell them. Its fun!