I can remember the day I first started in EMS like it was yesterday. It was a brisk November morning about 15 years ago. I was really excited to save lives and be a hero and get on the news, and all that. I had a fancy stethoscope that I bought at the College’s bookstore (for like $10! What a deal!) around my neck, a neat black glove pouch on my belt, and a nice trauma shear/bandage scissor combo that I had in my right leg pocket.
I was a hero.
I was also too young to buy alcohol, so cut me some slack, okay?
As I strode into the station, I admired the sharp creases that I had spent countless minutes and an immeasurable amount of starch ironing into my patches. Then I saw him: my new partner.
He was about six-three, and easily weighed three hundred pounds. And it wasn’t necessarily “fat” pounds, either. This guy was built like a defensive end. And his face was mean, too.
“Damnit. Another new kid! They always put me with the new kids.” were the first words out of his mouth. He sounded, in a word, angry.
“Hi, I’m C” I introduced myself in an effort to break some ice.
“I don’t care who you are, or what you think. Keep your mouth shut and do what I say, and you will do just fine.” was his reply.
While his reply was gruff, I listened to it, and heeded his advice. I kept my mouth shut, and I did what he said, and we got along great. He taught me a lot, and I am grateful for his tutelage. I didn’t get my feelings hurt, and I wasn’t offended by his manner. I was really okay with it. He was the veteran, and I was the rookie, so I knew he could teach me a thing or two, perhaps even three.
But nowadays you can’t get away with that. You have to treat the kids with the “kid gloves.” You have to be all tactful and mindful of the self-esteem of the new kids. Especially when they are kids.
Saying something like “I’ve been doing this since you were in Kindergarten, and we need to do things a certain way” can’t be said. Because the new kid runs to the supervisors and tattles on you, saying “he was really mean to me and hurt my feelings, and I need to cry about it a little bit, but he needs to get in trouble!”
There is a lot that the new people could learn from those that have been around for a long time. It’s just too bad that I have to be concerned with someone’s feelings. Especially when I have been in EMS since they were in Kindergarten.