Thursday, January 28


As a kid I can always remember hearing adults whine and complain about their jobs. And with all the negativity that's going on with my life right now I just wanted to talk about something positive; something that I am truly passionate about...being a paramedic!!

Having just graduated and just recently been hired, it's still fresh in my mind what is was like to be a student and out with a crew. I can still remember the first shift I had as a student.

The pager went off - BEEP BEEP BEEP BOOOOOOOOP...I can't even begin to describe the level of excitement that I felt as I booted it to the truck. I didn't know what we were going to, what I was going to see, what I was going to be allowed to do, where we would end up and I was working with an ALS crew. We were dispatched code 4 (more emergent) for a 60ish male who had fallen off a roof. Now, being an overactive imaginer, my mind starts going all over the place - I wonder if he's got broken bones, is he dead, has he damaged his spine, etc. We pulled into the driveway of this guy's home and there he was laying on the ground. I was completely surprised with how fast I jumped into the call. C-spine, ABCs, level of awareness. We put him on a backboard, collared him, checked his vitals, got the history and transported him to the hospital. He ended up being fine but the whole rush thing had me completely hooked.

Now, I would never consider myself an adrenaline junkie, but the more and more cases I got to see, the more it's started to click in: the rush of never knowing what you get to do on a day's work, the way I still jump whenever the pager goes off, the ease with which a call-in makes me jump for joy...I LOVE getting an adrenaline high! Being a paramedic isn't only about the adrenaline though - it's about "helping people" and teaching. Sure there is a LOT (and I mean A LOT!!!) of disgusting things (I'm not going to elaborate - patient confidentiality - blah blah blah) that I get to see on the job, practically everyday, but it's the whole combination of things that makes me love my job. Sharing what we learned with new students and the public...I've got to say I love that too! Right nowthere are several crews that have taken on a 4th semester student.

Yesterday at work we had a student as part of our crew. Now this girl is the same age as me, we both went to university first before deciding to do the paramedic thing, and both graduated with kinesiology degrees. This was not my first chance getting to see her in action. I have to be honest, the first shift we had together she seemed pretty mediocre - mind you it was her first real shift where she was allowed to be 100% involved in every skill. On our first call of the day she completely blew me away with her ability to develop a rapport with a patient suffering a mental crisis. Even thinking about it now I shake my head and smile. I love seeing students blossom before my eyes; to actually see them taking something I have taught them and putting it into action. I can safely say that just from the small amount of time I have had to teach her and see her work, that she will be an amazing medic one day - hopefully for the same service as me! I would LOVE to work with her in a one-on-one setting!

Some of my most favourite shifts have been so because of the genuine gratitude some patients have in the worst hours of their lives. As a paramedic, I get to witness these worst hours, or minutes and I have to try my best to change it. Hip fractures, myocardial infarctions (heart attacks), head injuries, choking episodes, diabetic emergencies, and death are everyday experiences for me. Ideally, my goal is to make the patient as comfortable as possible, and I don't expect to be thanked or praised for doing so. That doesn't mean that when the little old woman who was humilated in front of her congregation when she fell at church, broke her hip and became incontinent, thanks me with tears in her eyes that I'm not completely thrilled! It just makes me love my job even more! All in a days work I guess! I can only hope that this feeling of complete and utter elation that I have for my profession stays with me. Here's to not giving in to desensitization - which is a problem for many in the emergency service industry!

1 comment:

Rae Elle said...

Sounds like a hard job. Can't say I could do that kinda stuff!