There’s a lot of enthusiasm on EMS social media and some of the most enthusiastic of these people want you to know just how much enthusiasm for EMS. There’s a lot of people saying how much they love being in EMS. There’s a lot of those people sharing pictures of ambulances, fire trucks, helicopters, and badges. These are usually the people who have all the cool sayings, catchphrases, and memes down. These are the ones about heroism, pride, sacrifice, and everything else all-American and apple pie. There’s also a group of marketing types who make a fair amount of money selling T-shirts to those enthusiastic EMS types.
Here’s what I never see from those types. I rarely see why they’re enthusiastic about EMS. And I never see their enthusiasm about the MS of EMS — medical service. These people are never at the EMS conferences, except at the vendor’s booths getting their latest “Big Johnson EMS” t-shirt. If they go to continuing education, it’s because it’s mandated. They share the hero stuff. They don’t share the medical stuff. And what they do share about medicine falls into two typical categories — war stories and dogma. For them, it’s even better if they can share both. “There I was, taking this guy to the ER who’d slipped and fell. Good thing we put him in a C-collar and a backboard because he had a hairline fracture of C-3. You can’t ever be too careful.” These are the same people who believe that cutting edge medicine involves a backboard, a non-rebreather mask, and a diesel bolus.
I’m enthusiastic about EMS. What I love is that it’s an opportunity to help someone and provide medical care when someone doesn’t know where else to turn. And to me, that opportunity to serve comes with an obligation to provide the best care possible. There’s an imperative to be up on the medicine.
EMS social media is a phenomenal tool for networking with like-minded providers and to share the latest developments in medicine. I am incredibly thankful to some great, smart EMS professionals online who’ve shared their tricks of the trade with me. I’ve learned more about Ketamine, sepsis, rapid sequence intubation, push dose pressors, and countless other topics from the online EMS world than a hundred local classes could ever have attempted to provide. And when I’ve despaired over things, whether in EMS in general or in my personal EMS world, there’s been a friend out there who’s shared the same frustrations. But social media friendships, just like “real world” friendships, are highly dependent on who you choose to associate with. As the old saying goes, “choose wisely.”
In conclusion, it’s great to be proud and enthusiastic to be in EMS. The challenge is to channel that enthusiasm into being a provider that provides a service to your patients. If not, you’re just another whacker. Don’t be that whacker.