Since I have clearly irritated some people, allow me to elaborate on my previous post. The third comment on my post illustrates fairly well the immaturity that is rampant in EMS. I received another comment that was fraught with such profanity and grammatical errors that I simply don’t have the time to edit. In response, I was born to unwed parents, but was then subsequently adopted, so the assertion that I am a bastard is partly correct, but nullified when one realizes I was chosen by my parents.
I don’t suggest that it is okay for us, as EMTs and Paramedics, to accept being called “Ambulance Drivers.” What I do suggest, however, is that we should get over it, and stop viewing the term as some sort of slur.
Nothing irritates me more than hearing fellow EMTs and Paramedics with wet ink on their cards bitching about the proverbial “little old lady” calling them an ambulance driver. The vast majority of the public have no idea that I spent more than 3 years combined learning how to take care of them. They just know that they are in the midst of what they perceive as a medical emergency, and they want an ambulance to take them to the hospital.
And that’s what I do. I put the patient in the ambulance, then I drive them to the hospital.
EMS Outside Agitator made a couple of analogies in his rebuttal post to my original post. I’m flattered to be considered an “esteemed colleague” by the way.
Show me the cop who accepts being called a Gunslinger. Show me the Fireman that tolerates being called a Hoser. Show me the Nurse who is fine with being called an Asswiper. Each of those things are the LEAST of what they do.
He goes on to make some more excellent points, one of which I will get to at the end of this post. While it was suggested that I “screwed the pooch,” I’m okay with that suggestion from someone who literally paved the way for me.
Police officers (Cop is actually a slang term, and some police officers view that as derogatory) have been around since Gaius Octavius created a police force sometime around 27 B.C. Firefighters have been around since at least 6 A.D., when Augustus created the first fire brigade designed to fight fires, as opposed to bargain for their services. In the United States, Benjamin Franklin established Union Fire Company in Philadelphia in 1736. Nursing began as a profession, using the term “nurse” around 1568 in Spain, with the Obregones Nurses. Nursing certainly began long before then.
It would be inappropriate to call a police officer a “Gunslinger” because, well, that’s not what they do. Perhaps they sling guns for a very small fraction of their career, but not much. I know police officers with 20+ years on the force who have never pulled their guns. Police officers certainly don’t spend 75% of their time slinging sidearms.
It would be inappropriate to call a fireman a “Hoser” because that’s not what they do. Firemen these days spend the vast majority of their time on the job responding to medical calls, or creating fire plans for buildings in their territories. They certainly don’t spend 75% of their time messing with hose.
It would be inappropriate call a nurse an “Asswiper” because, again, that’s not what they do. Sure, nurses are occasionally tasked with cleaning bowel movements. It’s a thankless part of a noble profession. Nurses spend the vast majority of their time assessing patients, writing care plans, completing orders written by physicians, and taking care of sick people. They certainly don’t spend 75% of their time wiping asses.
EMS doesn’t have the history of either one of those professions. We do take care of people, and we do it well. There are things that need to be improved on, and as a whole, we are moving in the right direction. And, we spend a large amount of our time driving ambulances.
The earliest establishment of any significant prehospital care was during WWII and the Korean War, in which battlefield medics gave narcotics to wounded soldiers. Korea saw the advent of the use of helicopters to evacuate wounded, but those helicopters wouldn’t make their way into the civilian world for another 20 years.
The public does not care that I spent more than 4 years in school to learn how to take care of them. They don’t care than I have 19 post-nominal letters after my name, which were earned in those years of education. (Those letters don’t mean anything, anyway, just that I spend a lot of time in classes.) What the public cares about is their emergency (perceived or real), and getting to the hospital. The public calls an ambulance when they want to be taken to the hospital, and guess what?
We, EMTs and Paramedics, drive the ambulance.
EMS Outside Agitator went on to make several more salient points in his post*, and I agree with the majority of what he has to say. I am not suggesting that we, as members of this profession, refer to ourselves as such. I will never refer to coworkers or colleagues as an “Ambulance Driver” because I recognize that we do much, much more than that.
What I am suggesting is that we stop getting so bent out of shape when that little old lady, or that kid who rarely ventures out of his mother’s basement, or that snooty lawyer in the BMW who just rear-ended the soccer mom, refers to us as “Ambulance Drivers.”
*I felt this was worthy enough to warrant it’s own paragraph, but didn’t fit with the rest of my post.
…but for Chrissakes why can’t we just be honest about our contribution; even if it is running IFTs! There’s nothing wrong with coming up from the bottom as long as the system you’re part of helps you come UP instead of go nowhere.
I think the IFT side of EMS does a valuable service. I thoroughly enjoy IFT, and learned most of my knowledge there. Sure, I learned how to decompress a chest and drop an ET tube on the 911 side, but I learned how to take care of people on the IFT side.