How has being in EMS changed you?

VentMonkey

Ajaw
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My end goal was always flight, so I knew I had to build a good reputation and not get sucked into the drama that comes with putting a bunch of type A personalities together.
Here, here. This was also me.

OP, try this. You can replace our end goal/s with whatever yours is, or will be. It’s a lot easier said than done.

Pay-wise I agree, you’re worth (or should be) what you bring to the table. I’m certain I make less than some of my co-workers still, yet they gripe infinitely more. So yeh...there’s that.
 

DragonClaw

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Here, here. This was also me.

OP, try this. You can replace our end goal/s with whatever yours is, or will be. It’s a lot easier said than done.

Pay-wise I agree, you’re worth (or should be) what you bring to the table. I’m certain I make less than some of my co-workers still, yet they gripe infinitely more. So yeh...there’s that.
I want to be a cop. Maybe it's the wrong thing to say, but I want to be a police officer eventually. Gun? Badge? Yes. But for now, BSI SCENE IS SAFE!
 

mgr22

Forum Deputy Chief
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Risk tolerant mindset. This means "I'm okay with doing dangerous things and in kind of used to it"? Is that what you're meaning?
More like, I'm ok with doing things that carry greater risks than what I did before EMS.
 

DragonClaw

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More like, I'm ok with doing things that carry greater risks than what I did before EMS.
I mean, I guess I've always been /kinda/ risky? Getting out of moving vehicles, explosions, fire, living in my own dang house (Still alive, knock on wood), blood and screaming never had me all that phased. I've seen enough of my own and others to be calm and just get to "fixing" it.

Dumb stuff, dumb scars, but you lived. Nothing more exhilarating than to be fired upon without effect, you know?
 

Peak

ED/Prehospital Registered Nurse
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EMS (keeping in mind that I worked in the fire service) taught me that there are many people in society with no moral compass. As a corallary that many decisions are made with increadibly selfish intent, even if the alternative still benefits the self and others.

It taught me that those who speak in absolutes often have no idea how limited their understanding may be.

It taught me that rank and authority don't equate to leadership or justice. And that a large number of officers (in the lieutenant, captain, chief ... sense)/managers/leaders are poorly suited for the job, even if they have the best of intentions. Those who are great leaders don't want to work in leadership.

It taught me how quick so many are to complain, while also doing nothing to help themselves.

It taught me how many people are willing to work the system, and why even if the majority of society do the right thing why social programs often fail.

It taught me how many people are willing to manipulate bad numbers and bad science to get or prove what they want.

It taught me that unions (specifically fire and law enforcement) exist for their members, not the public.

I learned how much fiscal waste their is in the fire and EMS services, and meanwhile not enough spending on things that would actually benefit the staff or community it serves.

It taught me how much I dislike adult medicine, and why I only work 2 or 3 shifts a month in a environment that regularly cares for adults.

It taught me how much our society doesn't actually care about children, the poor, the mentally ill, the disabled, and so on despite what they say or post on social media.
 

DragonClaw

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EMS (keeping in mind that I worked in the fire service) taught me that there are many people in society with no moral compass. As a corallary that many decisions are made with increadibly selfish intent, even if the alternative still benefits the self and others.

It taught me that those who speak in absolutes often have no idea how limited their understanding may be.

It taught me that rank and authority don't equate to leadership or justice. And that a large number of officers (in the lieutenant, captain, chief ... sense)/managers/leaders are poorly suited for the job, even if they have the best of intentions. Those who are great leaders don't want to work in leadership.

It taught me how quick so many are to complain, while also doing nothing to help themselves.

It taught me how many people are willing to work the system, and why even if the majority of society do the right thing why social programs often fail.

It taught me how many people are willing to manipulate bad numbers and bad science to get or prove what they want.

It taught me that unions (specifically fire and law enforcement) exist for their members, not the public.

I learned how much fiscal waste their is in the fire and EMS services, and meanwhile not enough spending on things that would actually benefit the staff or community it serves.

It taught me how much I dislike adult medicine, and why I only work 2 or 3 shifts a month in a environment that regularly cares for adults.

It taught me how much our society doesn't actually care about children, the poor, the mentally ill, the disabled, and so on despite what they say or post on social media.
Not sure really what to say. I mean, I know you see a lot more from different sides, but I guess it's hard to know how much until you bear witness to it?
 

DragonClaw

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I make a lot more frequent stops at Starbucks.
So, I've never been one for coffee. Like, I think it's pretty nasty and I had my third cup maybe last October after camping in 40-50 degree weather for several days. I like hot chocolate though. I don't want to start down that path though, like one of those coffee zombies... I dunno, is it inevitable?
 

DrParasite

The fire extinguisher is not just for show
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Everything @Peak said is pretty spot on, but I wanted to address one thing:
It taught me that unions (specifically fire and law enforcement) exist for their members, not the public.
I knew this going in, as unions have (historically, going back to the early 20th century) existed for their members benefit. That's why the members pay dues, so their union can benefit their members. Sometimes the goals of the union line up with the benefits to the public (and it's great when it does), but the job of a union is to look out for, and benefit, their members.

This isn't exclusive to fire and law enforcement; it also applies to hospitals and nursing unions, trade unions, the teamsters, industry/steam workers, you name it. The union works with management, but make no mistake, their primary job is to do what is in the best interest of the union members. Also why I think unions in public safety are a good thing.
 

DragonClaw

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Everything @Peak said is pretty spot on, but I wanted to address one thing:
I knew this going in, as unions have (historically, going back to the early 20th century) existed for their members benefit. That's why the members pay dues, so their union can benefit their members. Sometimes the goals of the union line up with the benefits to the public (and it's great when it does), but the job of a union is to look out for, and benefit, their members.

This isn't exclusive to fire and law enforcement; it also applies to hospitals and nursing unions, trade unions, the teamsters, industry/steam workers, you name it. The union works with management, but make no mistake, their primary job is to do what is in the best interest of the union members. Also why I think unions in public safety are a good thing.
Back on that, this was one if the things I didn't think was all... interesting (not sure how to describe Peak's comments. I'll have to mull on it)

I've heard some unions aren't worth it, they charge you fees and don't do much for you. I don't really know about the state laws and such on unions, guess I should brush up on unions.
 

Peak

ED/Prehospital Registered Nurse
362
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Not sure really what to say. I mean, I know you see a lot more from different sides, but I guess it's hard to know how much until you bear witness to it?
Working in EMS has definitely made me a bit jaded, but it also helped me to realize what I want in life and what kind of work I want to do. I can say that I now love my work, although it is because I get to spend a large amount of time in our various pediatric critical care areas (and most of the NATs and CSAs go to the competing pediatric hospital system or the county hospital).

EMS taught me a lot and definetly helped to make me a better clinician whether I'm working in the ED, unit, or outside of the hospital. It was a great experience that I wouldn't take back, and I worked with a lot of great people. It just exposes you to a lot of society very quickly.
 

DragonClaw

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Working in EMS has definitely made me a bit jaded, but it also helped me to realize what I want in life and what kind of work I want to do. I can say that I now love my work, although it is because I get to spend a large amount of time in our various pediatric critical care areas (and most of the NATs and CSAs go to the competing pediatric hospital system or the county hospital).

EMS taught me a lot and definetly helped to make me a better clinician whether I'm working in the ED, unit, or outside of the hospital. It was a great experience that I wouldn't take back, and I worked with a lot of great people. It just exposes you to a lot of society very quickly.
I definately can understand why. Went on a ride along for a respiratory distress problem that had me gritting my teeth, to suffice it the least. Literal lies, poor home air quality, and the child is the one who suffers without asking for it.
 

StCEMT

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I think what StCEMT meant is to follow through on a risk-tolerant mindset by making riskier investments with higher potential returns and consequences. Plenty of people do that, and it's certainly one way of trying to grow one's assets.
Kinda this, more so tongue in cheek than anything. EMS folks tend to have so many side jobs that they're often quite good at, how better to use the ability to not panic at the little things? 😂
 

StCEMT

Forum Deputy Chief
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It taught me that rank and authority don't equate to leadership or justice. And that a large number of officers (in the lieutenant, captain, chief ... sense)/managers/leaders are poorly suited for the job, even if they have the best of intentions. Those who are great leaders don't want to work in leadership.
This one is painfully true. I have some that I will follow in any situation and will clear up if they really need me no questions asked. On the flip side I have some I just want to stay the hell out of my way and make every effort to avoid them. Ultimately though, I feel like our leadership fails us more often than not.
 

DrParasite

The fire extinguisher is not just for show
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I've heard some unions aren't worth it, they charge you fees and don't do much for you. I don't really know about the state laws and such on unions, guess I should brush up on unions.
A union will typically be more beneficial to the bottom half of the employee pool, as it will prevent people form getting fired or terminated for arbitrary BS. The union will also sign a contract with management, to ensure raises are given at the proper time, and will use it's resources to ensure that management abides by the contract. And if you have a supervisor who is treating you unfairly, or management that is implementing questionable rules regarding working conditions, the union has resources to get that resolved.

In theory, a union isn't needed, and some people will say that a union has vastly outlived it's usefulness. h However with all the poor working conditions I have seen in EMS, I absolutely disagree. If you are a stellar employee, in the top 1% at your company, than a union might hurt you, as it can prevent you from getting a larger than contract mandated raise, and and it won't help you, as you will never need their assistance to defend your job, because you never get in trouble. And if you are ok with all the rules your boss sets for you, than yes, they might just be taking money from you and not helping. but most of us aren't in the top 1%.

The flip side to that is, a union is only as strong as the contract it signs with management. if your union is young, like most in EMS, and signs a ****ty contract, than its likely not going to help much. But everyone starts somewhere, and since most managers are scared of their employees forming a union, and will do whatever they can to prevent one from forming, I can't think that they are bad for their employees. PD and FD have had unions for decades, which is why they often have more political power to sign better contracts.

but forming a union won't save a crappy work environment, nor will it make a sucky job significantly better. And no need to brush up on unions, if your job has a union, they will explain the system. just make sure you get a copy of the contract so you know exactly what it says.
I feel like our leadership fails us more often than not.
in EMS, this is a sad but all too common occurrence (going through this with my local county EMS system presently, and I don't even work for them:mad:🤬🤬).
 

KingCountyMedic

Forum Lieutenant
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Everything @Peak said is pretty spot on, but I wanted to address one thing:
I knew this going in, as unions have (historically, going back to the early 20th century) existed for their members benefit. That's why the members pay dues, so their union can benefit their members. Sometimes the goals of the union line up with the benefits to the public (and it's great when it does), but the job of a union is to look out for, and benefit, their members.

This isn't exclusive to fire and law enforcement; it also applies to hospitals and nursing unions, trade unions, the teamsters, industry/steam workers, you name it. The union works with management, but make no mistake, their primary job is to do what is in the best interest of the union members. Also why I think unions in public safety are a good thing.

I was in the Teamsters Union for the first half of my career in Private Ambulance and they were useless, did nothing but take our $$$ and I think one year we got free turkeys at Christmas or something.

I am now in the greatest Union on the planet (IAFF) and I absolutely do not agree with how they do some things, mostly political support etc. BUT I am a proud member and appreciate all that they do for me and my brothers and sisters. I can tell you this: After over 20 years in the public sector working for "the government" I can't imagine trying to be a government employee without the protection of a Union!
 

VentMonkey

Ajaw
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Those who are great leaders don't want to work in leadership.
This sentence in particular caught my attention.

To expand on it a tad, I think oftentimes the best leadership is indirect, and yet viscerally demonstrative.

I think said “leader” can, and will be completely unaware that they may in fact be leading someone, somewhere, to something. That alone is extremely potent.

I think that there are decent leaders in management. I also think, more often than not, these leaders have forgotten why they got into management in the first place. I’ve said it before, it’s a rough and often thankless job.

@StCEMT I hear you, but people get sucked into management for all sorts of reasons. Different personalities click and clash just like anywhere, both as peer-peer and subordinate-supervisor. Until I was able to experience a little taste of each side, I truly did not know what I didn’t know.
 

Gurby

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I always liked the Douglas Adams quote,

"anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job."

It taught me that rank and authority don't equate to leadership or justice. And that a large number of officers (in the lieutenant, captain, chief ... sense)/managers/leaders are poorly suited for the job, even if they have the best of intentions. Those who are great leaders don't want to work in leadership.
 

StCEMT

Forum Deputy Chief
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@VentMonkey and I agree with that. I realize personality and style has a lot to do with these things and influences my preferences. But on the flip side, when I ask my supervisor what the deal with a change is and the answer is "I don't know, y'all know as much as I do. They communicated nothing with us before this went into effect", there is a problem at some level of leadership. Especially when it has happened multiple times.
 

guitarofozz

Forum Crew Member
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EMS had made helped me stay calm under most situations. EMS has made me not stress a lot of things, especially things that are beyond my control. Working in EMS communications helped me become really good at prioritizing and juggling multiple crises.

I will chime in on the pay comments; EMS showed me that you are only worth what your boss is willing to pay you, so if you don't like your pay, you have three options: get more education, find a new job possibly in a new area, or work on getting promoted. But simply *****ing about the low pay is not helpful, especially when you aren't doing anything to demonstrate why you should be getting more pay.
I see this from the opposite point of view. We assign our own worth. The minute we sign the dotted line with a salary, we say “hey i will work for this much money. No more. No less”

So do your research, find out what is reasonable for your position to make and wait until a company will pay you that.
 
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