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

JEMS Talk: Google Hangout

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greg
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"Thanks Mike. I just walked my kids to the school bus. We stood in the cold for 10 minutes. Then I had to drive to the school because my son forgot his shoes. When he called and said, "Dad can you bring my shoes to school?" I had to ask which pair from the pile…
2014-11-21 16:03:20
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Thanks Brian, your comment came at the perfect time, I'm in a bit a a creative slump, was wondering if anybody was getting anything from these posts, I guess they are! Thank you for reading.
2014-11-21 13:26:34
Brian McPherson
I know
I am a Paramedic and my wife is from Burrillville RI, and we live outside of Charlottesville, VA. I really enjoy reading your column and I am glad that someone is actually posting the stories, both good and bad about our profession. Next time I am in RI I would love to come by and…
2014-11-21 01:31:59
chiefbobr
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What an exceptional article written by a man who has truly 'been there' and that has but one purpose in mind: to herp his brothers and sisters deal with the demons that some of them are wrestling with. Please, if you are wrestling with problems of addiction, stress, or personal strife, pick up a telephone…
2014-11-18 05:31:27
Inovateps.co.za
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I'm amazed, I have to admit. Seldom do I come across a blog that's equally educative and amusing, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. The issue is something that too few folks are speaking intelligently about. I'm very happy I found this during my hunt for something relating…
2014-11-14 00:05:19

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