Forum Ride Along
Hello.. I am the EMS Captain for a small town volunteer fire department. I have recently taken on this position as it was free and I enjoy the responsibilities. I got my card in June. I am still new to the idea of training others in EMS as I am still learning myself. However when we are on scene for a medical call, it's more chaotic than it should be. I am trying to teach writing in vitals on the PCR, bringing proper equipment inside even when you are not medical, basically the basics. This is an even harder challenge as I am an 18 yo female in a male dominated department. While most listen to what I have to say, often times I am shoved under the carpet and ignored. Or my point is ripped apart by people who have no idea what I am saying. I have some great ideas so far for training but am struggling with getting my point across in a professional manner. Any help would be appreciated. (Note - I am not new to the department, I have been around for 4 years..)


Nationally Certified Wannabe
If you're being ignored, it's not as much about getting your point across, as it is about being a leader. Why won't you start by telling us why you were selected for the job, what makes you stand out of the predominantly male crowd and how you deal with it (being a fresh 18 y.o. chic EMT and all).


Forum Deputy Chief
This sounds tricky, in that you are young, female and inexperienced in EMS, which is what you're trying to teach. I'm old and male, so I'm probably not the best source of advice, but I think maybe a little self-deprecating humor would help without inviting ridicule. Also, you might defuse some of the hostility by occasionally asking people with the loudest mouths what they think. If nothing else works, try focusing on fewer, more important topics, and keep each of them really short -- like 5-10 minutes, if you can. Also, try not to meet for longer than, say, 45 minutes at a time.


Forum Deputy Chief
I am trying to teach writing in vitals on the PCR, bringing proper equipment inside even when you are not medical, basically the basics.

Sounds like the problems are cultural and operational in nature. It doesn't seem like they're clinical - unless, of course, there have been incidents with improper care being provided. Do you have transporting apparatus? Are there folks who are more experienced and/or higher-level EMS providers?

For the cultural issue, it's very hard to change how people behave - and how they perceive people different from them. It sounds like you're trying to lead and it's hard - it may be beneficial to try and engage with them with language or mannerisms that they understand.

As far as fixing the operational problem, that's not as hard (assuming people will listen). You need to develop an SOP and make sure people follow it. There should be a minimum list of equipment for every EMS call (ideally forever, but at least until people are more competent/aware), and there ought to be requirements for PCRs. For non-medical personnel (pretty sure FF1 and FF2, etc. require First Aid/CPR - so they can at least help!), try to familiarize them with the flow of an EMS call. How many EMR, EMT, etc. providers do you typically have on an EMS call?

With respect to the required equipment list, I'd go with something like this:

"For all calls that are medical or potentially medical in nature (e.g. motor vehicle collisions, welfare check, difficulty breathing), EMS-trained personnel are required to bring the following medical equipment:
- Trauma kit
- Oxygen bag
- Suction unit
- Patient transport devices, including a stretcher, backboard, and/or stair chair (as appropriate to the location of the call)
Non-EMS personnel shall be responsible for transporting EMS equipment and assisting EMS-trained staff with its use. Assisting EMS personnel should only be undertaken within the scope of the first aid/CPR training of the non-EMS personnel, or otherwise at the explicit verbal request of the EMS provider (e.g. EMS provider tells non-EMS provider to "Squeeze this bag every 5 seconds.")."


ex-Parole officer/EMT
It's hard to "force" people to listen to you, while this is not necessarily right, I think your results may vary greatly if you can find somebody(male) in the Dpt. you trust that would be willing to "co-teach" with you. To be honest I don't say this much but personally if what your saying is true your kind of getting screwed because you are a girl. Adding onto what Epi said, i know sometimes when i have to present for work, or when i help my boss out by going to a college class or two, if i present to "younger" then myself, I will not hesitate to add meme's and things like that to relate to them. However, on the other foot, i had to present for the governors cabinet not to long ago, and it was strictly facts, and I didn't really even use the slides, because thats more how presentations were done, and what they are used to (an older population then me, they were 40+ im still not even 30). So i also think tailoring your presentations/lessons to who your giving them too may help.


Forum Deputy Chief
Being around the department for 4 years is possibly a negative more than a positive...fair or not here is another issue you are dealing with.

If these mostly men have been around just as long, well they have watched you grow up from 14 to 18. Awwww, how cute, you went from mascot, junior member to a full fledged adult who is now trying to correct us when we have done it this way for many years.

No, this is not the proper mindset but it will and probably does exist. I myself, as open minded as I try to be...if suddenly an 18 year old was in charge of training me...I would have a very difficult time giving that person credibility or respect. Could I overcome, absolutely but it will take a LOT of work on YOUR part to make that happen along with some willingness on my part. These two things might never come together in your organization. I mean no disrespect to you, I actually admire your tenacity, but I have visions of a scrappy little puppy trying to play with the big dogs.

You have been given some great advice above. You have a HUGE challenge ahead of you and I hope you succeed. I have been in your shoes...I was a 19 year old Paramedic taking charge of the FD on scene calls...not easy to do. Good Luck.