Out with the Old

I didn’t like who I had become. I knew I needed to step up my game, but had no idea how to do so. Then, a friend told me the secret.

 

“It’s not the situation, it’s the way you respond to the situation that matters. How you act is entirely up to you. You can think the world is ugly, unfair and useless, or you can think the world is beautiful, harmonious and full of opportunity. How you make your way in this existance is completely, 100% up to you, and nobody but you.”

 

wisdom

 

Responding to the hospital parking garage for a report of a 47 year old male complaining of chest pains and difficulty breathing.

The old me said to himself, “this is ridiculous, sending an ambulance to a hospital!” and put himself into a self-righteous snit.

The new me says to himself, “poor guy, tried to drive himself to the hospital and almost made it.

My old partner would have driven like an idiot because it was nearly shift change, complained all the way to the patient and treated him with barely concealed contempt upon arrival.

My new partner, the one that I replaced my old partner with is asking questions, going over chest pain protocols, watching where he is going and getting us there quickly and safely.

The old team would have arrived on scene, put the patient into the truck, skipped treatment and delivered him to the ER as is where precious time would be lost as the triage team assembled their information and the man’s heart continued to die.

The new team took one look at the guy, immediately recognized an MI, assessed vitals before getting the man on the stretcher, had an IV going two minutes after arrival on scene, aspirin and nitro on board as soon as the initial EKG was done and transmitted, delivered the patient to the ER where the cardiac team had assembled and gave our report as he was wheeled to the cath lab. Seventeen minutes from time of dispatch to treatment.

Falling into an EMS rut is easy. Missing the opportunity to be great at what you do is easy. Failing your patients is easy. Being an idiot is easy.

Changing the way you operate simply by looking at a situation differently is even easier. Every call is potentially the real deal. Every patient needs help. Every responder needs to show up with the proper mental focus on every call. I managed to dump the old me and my old partner when we became stale and had become ineffective. It wasn’t hard, I just needed to change everything about the way I had been responding. Once I did that, everything fell into place.

 

 

 

2 Comments

  • So well put, Michael. I was a volunteer EMT for 15 years with my local FD. I am also a licensed professional counselor and have worked the mental health crisis response end of an ER, and done CISM response since 1987. I love the way you have very simply contrasted the burned out response to the reframed and refreshed one. I have worked with and responded to so many emergency service workers who have shut down because of the continued exposure to critical incidents over these many years. I know many who are still out there doing a great job because they went through critical incident stress debriefings and other CISM interventions, and some who sought counseling. I wish more would do that and be able to make the turn around that you write about so beautifully here.

  • Michael Morse says:

    Thank you Judith, I wish I had figured it out sooner, but at least I figured it out. Thanks too for the good work you do.

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Michael Morse

Recent Posts
First Day Back September 17, 2014
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Comments
Mr618
“Ladder Co. 5 on Scene, expidite EMS”
Maybe, just maybe, Michael, the editors decided to give you the credit you deserve, and were unwilling to give yourself.
2014-09-07 20:31:15
Garry Collins
Survival
Order of priority; Self Fellow firefighter(s) Other disciplines (Cops etc.) Joe public Our gear Public property. That’s how the list is going in. Sometimes, in the heat of the moment, and depending on circumstances it may change, but not that often.
2014-08-31 19:03:08
Posts Outside the Service Area: Some of my favorites from August 2014 | Everyday EMS Tips
The ten other commandments
[…] Finally, Michael Morse reminds us that success is relatively simple if you follow the Other 10 Commandments. […]
2014-08-31 12:01:48
Phil HERSHMAN
Sadness
heavy....... thanks for posting
2014-08-30 19:02:09
Nathan Stanaway
Adrenaline Junky
I think there is room for all of us in the future of EMS. Just like not all nurses like the ER, not all paramedics only want to run the sickest patients. Personally, my favorite calls are MCIs, a close second is probably the little old lady low fall. We can specialize. If you don't…
2014-08-25 02:48:52

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