Sunday, August 26

My Experience

I began volunteering at a local rescue squad at the ripe young age of 13 and became proficient in the art of ambulance washing very quickly. As I washed the one ambulance in our squad I listened to the over-inflated stories that became more gory and self gratifying the longer they were told. I was hooked, I wanted to start IV's and intubate and shock a dying heart. I couldn't wait to pull a person out of a burning car or hang from a cliff while dragging a bus load of bleeding hemophiliacs out of the grips of death.

I enrolled in the first EMT night class I could a few months after I turned sixteen. I excelled for two nights a week. My boring high school classes suffered dramatically but I really didn't care about the Cartesian Coordinates or literature.

I progressed through EMT intermediate and then paramedic shortly after graduating high school. High school came and went, much to fast, and I was out in the world. I worked in construction during the day and volunteered at the rescue squad at night. I even began telling some of my own war stories. Many of them growing from a small sprout of truth into a tree of exaggeration. I did learn from some of the best.

My love for pre-hospital care continued to grow and I was lucky enough to be hired by a large urban service in North Carolina. Prior to beginning there I had never met someone who went to school with the intent of becoming a paramedic and nothing more. I assumed everyone volunteered during their free time and was ecstatic to be paid for something they loved. I was wrong, actually I was extremely wrong. Many of the paramedics were unhappy with their job, their life and especially their role in the health care system. My enthusiasm dwindled quickly, sadly much like my naivety. I learned that the stories that were told, out of fun I thought, were really a way to vent frustration and prop up fragile egos. My hobby, my passion, had become a job and my job quickly began to frustrate me.

I quickly experienced burn out, my attitude turned nasty and I was rude to patient's more often than I would like to admit. I formed my own opinion of what an emergency was and unfortunately no one met my criteria.

Looking back at this time in my professional life I realize just how negative I was. It was so easy to feed of off everyone else and mimic their poor attitudes. At least I now have those experiences. The gift of hind sight is priceless.

My passion has returned and I enjoy the medical field once again, thankfully. So much so that I plan to return to school and learn those things that I neglected in high school so that I can progress into a leader in medicine. How knows, I may have the opportunity to improve pre-hospital care for the sick and injured and maybe even those who take care of them.

This post has completely veered away from what I originally intended. Oh well, better luck next time.

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Chrysalis Angel said...

I've just found you this morning. I like your blog. Negativity is in fact catchy and can take on a life of it's own. I'm glad to see you've corrected yourself, as these people need you.

You are a leader in medicine. You are on the front lines. Whole different ballgame being the first medical personnel on a scene, to being the one's getting prepared as you bring the patient to them "alive".

I'll try to get back here to read more.

The MSILF said...

You know what they say - get out before you get addicted...

Anonymous said...

I worked as an EMT for 4 years in the southeast, and your post really resonates with my experiences. I attended college full time while working full time and quickly burnt out working those night shifts, hauling many people who didn't need me and a few who did. Taking a break can be a great thing, and now from a distance (in the middle of medical school) I can say that I honestly miss the EMS world. Hopefully I will be able to avoid the burnout or at least keep the big picture in mind this time around. I enjoy your blog a lot, please keep it coming.