Well, it is almost the end of another EMS week. A week of ticker tape parades, people bursting into song when you pass them on the sidewalk, a flash mob at the Emergency Department entry/exit when you go to leave, banners all over your community, and of course, all the cakes, cookies, catered meals, and other goodies.
It’s not that many don’t feel that way…and while right now you might think they would be more “in tune” to EMS that ever, many of them have endured much hardship in the past year. You may read that and think “it was that way before Covid” and for the most part you would be right.
We are a unique breed. We obviously never got into this for the money. The same love of caring that got many of us into this in the 70’s still calls to those entering the EMS workforce today.
And for all the bad calls, the long shifts in bad weather, and the extended trips back to quarters when your “proud” partner had tacos for both lunch and dinner, remember the good times also. Remember the first baby you delivered. You know the one…you were the mighty EMS shark, quietly, reverently, powerfully moving through the waters of EMS with a great cool, collected, commanding presence. Then with one push, this tiny little slippery thing created emotions in you that you did not know existed. Yes, remember the good memories that you share with your co-workers that “others just wouldn’t understand.”
Celebrate the positive part of EMS week, month, year, etc., inside of you, but let some of it out. There is a bilateral location in our brains called the ‘insular cortex’ that has a direct neural connection to the heart. There is a growing body of mostly anecdotal evidence that points to insular cortex strokes inducing cardiac arrests.
So, what if this works differently in EMS folks? Maybe we the believers in the “Great Empirical Knowledge of EMS” have that connection to ascertain that we deliver that empirical care that resides in our brain with the empathy of our heart that makes us who we are, or maybe it is in there for our hearts to remind our brains to take care of ourselves and each other.
I have been around long enough to know there will always be “those” people in our industry. I have seen and experienced the impact that has on ‘station life’ or worse…department culture. No one has to be that guy or gal. It only takes a few seconds or a couple of minutes to lift up your co-workers or co-volunteers. Yes, you could be the medic that gets to work early every shift and has a good word and a good attitude, instead of being the guy that hides in his car until the exact moment the shift begins.
In a few hours another EMS week will have come and gone. Each of you has my undying appreciation. Make it a point to take the best parts with you into this pseudo “EMS New Year” and remember to be safe out there.