Everyone hears the propaganda about how EMS makes a difference. Some of it might even be true. I’ve had a few calls in my career where I’m at least somewhat convinced that having trained EMS providers on scene made some difference for the patient. A couple of heart attacks, a couple of allergic reactions, and a couple of difficulty breathings remind me of how my partners and I might have saved a life. Countless hands held, pain meds given, and nausea meds administered remind me of how the “little things” might make more of a difference than management in the administrative offices ever will be able to quantify.
But that’s not the difference I made today. Today, I made a difference for two of my colleagues. Between my presence on some EMS Facebook groups and this blog, people know who I am and what I stand for. Even more importantly, because of the nature of social media, people know who I consider my EMS family. One colleague, a younger EMT, came to me today and asked me the age-old question about their readiness to advance to paramedic. We had a good conversation and a few laughs and I hope that at the end, I was some help. Shortly after that, a paramedic colleague called me with questions about recertifying.
Neither of these calls were a big deal in the grand scheme of things. But if we, those of us who consider ourselves to be “good” providers, motivated by the right things in emergency medicine, don’t make ourselves available as mentors, resources, or peer support providers, then someone else surely will. These may be the the Low Information Voters who chant the shopworn phrases of low EMS standards.
So, for those of you who consider yourself to be good medics, you’re not truly a good medic until you’re helping someone else grow and advance. The only way to grow the numbers of “good” medics is to not give an inch of ground to the “meets minimum standards” team. And that means making yourself available and approachable to your EMS friends, family, and colleagues.
It’s that important. Really.
And I couldn’t let this go without thanking a few unnamed physicians, a few people on the old Yahoo Groups, some Austin/Travis County EMS paramedics, and the family I grew into at Harris County ESD-1. Each of y’all saw something in me, even when I didn’t. Each mentoring opportunity I have is but a small attempt to pay each of you back.