Is it normal to be treated bad by your FTO?

FutureFlightMedic

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Hi Everyone, I am just begining my first Medic job and have been assigned to a very intimidating FTO. I am wondering if it's supposed to go this way? This person gets obviously frustrated with me and occasionally puts me down in front of other professionals on scene. I am really trying my hardest, and giving it my all. I try to do everything my FTO asks of me and always keep a positive attitude, even while being yelled at. It's all just little things, but it seems I CANNOT make this person happy. I have sacrificed so much for this job because being a Paramedic means everything to me, but I am scared and a little sick when thinking about going in each day, because I know it'll be more of the same. I am so afraid this person will try to get me washed out, and I've tried good communication and welcome all the feedback I can get. Other medics in passing tell me I'm doing well. My supervisor said I'm just new, but I'm doing well. My FTO HATES me. At least it feels like it. Some days I come home wondering why I chose this? Please help! :sad:
 

Sasha

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Hi Everyone, I am just begining my first Medic job and have been assigned to a very intimidating FTO. I am wondering if it's supposed to go this way? This person gets obviously frustrated with me and occasionally puts me down in front of other professionals on scene. I am really trying my hardest, and giving it my all. I try to do everything my FTO asks of me and always keep a positive attitude, even while being yelled at. It's all just little things, but it seems I CANNOT make this person happy. I have sacrificed so much for this job because being a Paramedic means everything to me, but I am scared and a little sick when thinking about going in each day, because I know it'll be more of the same. I am so afraid this person will try to get me washed out, and I've tried good communication and welcome all the feedback I can get. Other medics in passing tell me I'm doing well. My supervisor said I'm just new, but I'm doing well. My FTO HATES me. At least it feels like it. Some days I come home wondering why I chose this? Please help! :sad:
I hate to take this stance, really I do, but... it's better to just stick it out and keep quiet.

If you start complaining about the FTO to a super, you'll be viewed as a whiner, or someone who can't take it. You are new, don't go causing trouble.

It's not right in the least, it isn't normal, nor should it be expected, but you can either say something and take the chance of being labeled a "whiner" or stay quiet, deal with it. It's only for training, right? S/he isn't going to be your permanent partner. Keep your head up and keep your eye on the horizon.
 

PapaBear434

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Absolutely unacceptable. Report him to a superior, get a different FTO. His job is teaching you, and it does no good to you, him, your system, or your patients to treat you this way.

And to berate you in front of others and in front of patients? No. Not ever. Taking away your credibility in front of a patient is one of the worst things they could do to you.
 

Sasha

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Absolutely unacceptable. Report him to a superior, get a different FTO. His job is teaching you, and it does no good to you, him, your system, or your patients to treat you this way.

And to berate you in front of others and in front of patients? No. Not ever. Taking away your credibility in front of a patient is one of the worst things they could do to you.
He is going to make himself look high matience, like he can't play well with others, or a whiner. Do you really want your employer thinking that way of you right off the bat?
 

PapaBear434

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He is going to make himself look high matience, like he can't play well with others, or a whiner. Do you really want your employer thinking that way of you right off the bat?
I'd say it depends. Is it a small department or a large one? Is this person well connected within the system? Do they have a history and reputation for this crap?

Personally, I don't play the politics thing very well. It's one thing for someone to teach with "tough love." A little bit of hazing, even, can be fine. But this sounds to be a lot more than your usual "Go wash the rig and get me a coffee, newbie" or "Let's let the newbie handle the impacted bowel on his clinical, it will be HILARIOUS." This sounds like someone that should just plain not be teaching.
 

MMiz

I put the M in EMTLife
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I'd hate to say it, but I think a lot of being successful in life is playing the game. How long do you have to work with this person in your current capacity?

I've had bosses I've hated, made me feel like crap, and worse. It has always been a learning experience.
 

PapaBear434

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I'd hate to say it, but I think a lot of being successful in life is playing the game. How long do you have to work with this person in your current capacity?

I've had bosses I've hated, made me feel like crap, and worse. It has always been a learning experience.
Of course, there are always people you don't want to work with but have to anyway. A certain amount of politics are necessary. But there is no reason to take exceptional amount of abuse. You aren't learning anything if your teacher is treating you less like a student and more like a burden.
 

MMiz

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Of course, there are always people you don't want to work with but have to anyway. A certain amount of politics are necessary. But there is no reason to take exceptional amount of abuse. You aren't learning anything if your teacher is treating you less like a student and more like a burden.
I agree, but life is all about perspective and perception. The original poster feels hated by the FTO. The poster questions why they picked this profession.

Haven't we all felt that way at some point in our lives?
 

FutureFlightMedic

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Thanks everyone for your advice. Please don't totally knock me. I would never want to be viewed as a whiner and any communication I would need to have with anyone would occcur very professionally and tactfully. It is just hard enough to be new and go through nastiness when I don't treat ANYONE like that. And, just so you know, I am a woman :p Thanks again, and I appreciate you all!
 

berkeman

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I'm only an EMT and not a medic, but I have a fair bit of experience in analogous situations. I'd recommend setting up a written debrief with your FTO after each shift (if you don't have it already), with the calls/scenarios and feedback put down in writing. This should be acceptable to your FTO, as long as you do the bulk of the work capturing everything in writing. Get him or her to sign it off.

That helps at least two ways, right?
 

Ridryder911

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Is it your perception or does others agree with you as well? I encourage FTO's to be tough but not a butt to noobies. Making mistakes is the norm; hence why you are on orientation. Now, with that saying making a mistake once is okay but again and again is no longer mistakes.

I suggest toughing up. Some FTO's are awaiting just "how much" one will take. I have seen some alike drill sergeants that will only respect you for standing up for yourself. I don't know, I only read your perception.

I suggest, making notes. Following close orders and directions. If they try to immediate you in front of others, pull them to the side and agree to receive constructive criticism but you will NOT tolerate rudeness and unprofessionalism. Again, I would emphasize the ability to receive appropriate constructive points.

One has to pick their battles wisely, but again they maybe responsible for your future career. Also be sure you have nothing to give them ammo to be right. Cover your bases by performing at top peak and as they directed.

I wish you good luck.

R/r 911
 

PapaBear434

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I agree, but life is all about perspective and perception. The original poster feels hated by the FTO. The poster questions why they picked this profession.

Haven't we all felt that way at some point in our lives?
Now is the part where I sheepishly admit that I stopped reading the original post about at the halfway mark, and completely missed the part where he was questioning his career path. Though it does say something to this guy's teaching techniques that it makes a guy want to switch fields.

We aren't a military service. We aren't even a paramilitary service like the police department. There is no reason to run things like a boot camp and breaking people down to this extent. Then, this could be a consequence of combining EMS (a medical profession) with the fire department (a paramilitary organization).
 
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NolaRabbit

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I suggest toughing up. Some FTO's are awaiting just "how much" one will take. I have seen some alike drill sergeants that will only respect you for standing up for yourself. I don't know, I only read your perception.

I suggest, making notes. Following close orders and directions. If they try to immediate you in front of others, pull them to the side and agree to receive constructive criticism but you will NOT tolerate rudeness and unprofessionalism. Again, I would emphasize the ability to receive appropriate constructive points.
I completely agree with this advice. Take your FTO aside and speak to them one-on-one. I went through this sort of thing at my workplace with a few of the old-timers back when I was new, and I found that all of my issues were resolved by sucking it up and addressing the involved parties directly. Most people will respect the fact that you had the backbone to speak to them directly without going behind their back to a supervisor.

If your FTO continues to act inappropriately after you speak with him/her, then by all means address this with a higher-up. But try to fight your own battles first.

Good luck, and stand strong!
 

Airwaygoddess

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One needs to vent

I know that some FTO's can be very very hard on the new person, one way to look at it is maybe they don't want you make the same mistakes they have made in the early start in their career, another is that being an FTO puts a little more pressure on them because the FTO will hear " well so and so trained them, why did they teach him/her like that??!!"

You have said that other FTO's said that you are doing well, that is great!! Keep up the good work, always ask for feedback, and never be afraid to ask questions, you have worked too hard to get to were you are now.

Hang in there gal!!!!! Look at it this way in a strange sort of way your FTO is training you also how to work with a difficult person, you will come along a few of them in your career. Take a deep breath and smile, we are all here pulling for you!! :):) * Sending postive thoughts!! *~*~*~* ;)
 
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Aidey

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I think it's necessary to say something. The fact that your FTO is putting you down in front of other people you work with means that he's crossed a line. It's one thing to be tough and demanding of the new hires, it's another to be unprofessional.
 

BossyCow

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I would definitely do some research before making a big deal out of this. Ask someone who knows you well if you are extraordinarily sensitive to criticism. This is a trait that is very hard to see in ourselves. We all feel that we are being fair and reasonable, but our perceptions can be skewed.

Also ask around the other students who have had this FTO. Did they feel he was fair, unreasonable, or a horses patootie. If everyone else loved him, I'd rethink my own perceptions.

Be very careful how you approach him. If you start out with "Why are you so mean to me" you have very little chance of resolving this well. I would start with saying that you can be a bit oversensitive and ask the FTO about a specific incidence. When you said this in front of the patient, it made me feel ..... stupid.. incompetent...(however you felt). I am trying to learn the process, and I'm sorry if this is difficult for you. Is there something I can do better or differently? Could you please try to approach me after a call instead of in front of the pt? Would it be helpful to schedule a regular review of my calls, so we can talk about it in a constructive manner.

This gives the guy an opportunity to discuss with you the calls, and the method he's choosing to educate you. If he responds by being a jerk, then you can go to his supervisor with the opening line of.. "I tried to talk to him about it and he was again abusive, insulting.. (whatever his behavior)
 

micsaver

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And, just so you know, I am a woman :p
Hi!! Welcome. I'm a woman too and find it funny that even when I point that out in my post everyone still refers to me as a man. Oh well.

When I started out our company doesn't actually have official FTOs so I ended up with Joe Shmoe that has just been around for a while. Some of them even while I stood next to them whined to the supervisor that they didn't want some newbie ride along. I found it hard knowing that these people were standing in my shoes maybe only one year ago and are either being flat out rude/mean in front of patients even, or were just not teaching me ANYTHING.

Honestly, I just tried to stick it out. The more I got to know them, the less I took their crap and just would tell them to chill out and not to be an a*& in front of patients. It did get much better and the ones I had to say something to I found out are the same with others.

Ignore them a bit. don't let them walk all over you. make some friends. LEARN LEARN LEARN and chat here in the forums. That's what help me get through.
 

RDUNNE

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Is it your perception or does others agree with you as well? I encourage FTO's to be tough but not a butt to noobies. Making mistakes is the norm; hence why you are on orientation. Now, with that saying making a mistake once is okay but again and again is no longer mistakes.

I suggest toughing up. Some FTO's are awaiting just "how much" one will take. I have seen some alike drill sergeants that will only respect you for standing up for yourself. I don't know, I only read your perception.

I suggest, making notes. Following close orders and directions. If they try to immediate you in front of others, pull them to the side and agree to receive constructive criticism but you will NOT tolerate rudeness and unprofessionalism. Again, I would emphasize the ability to receive appropriate constructive points.

One has to pick their battles wisely, but again they maybe responsible for your future career. Also be sure you have nothing to give them ammo to be right. Cover your bases by performing at top peak and as they directed.

I wish you good luck.

R/r 911
I agree here. Most of the time things can be resolved just by telling them you arent there to take their crap.
 

nomofica

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As far as I'm concerned, this can be considered bullying if they are treating you like crap in front of other professionals and in front of patients.

I completely agree with R/r's advice. Just a little something to add in, though: be assertive when discussing the issue with him. Don't look up, down, all around. Don't fidget. Look your FTO in the eyes and say with confidence that you won't tolerate it. However, don't be too aggressive. Just assertive.
 

Lal

Forum Ride Along
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You are not going to to get this person on your good side. Many of these guys & gals use the FTO position as a way of controlling influx so that they can ensure they have new hires that mesh with their personality. In other words, they will try to wash you out if they don't like you, they may be racist, sexist or hate the new policy that they have to be paired with a new medic/emt.

With that said, have you asked why he acts this way? To cover your ***...do have a non-confrontational discussion before going over his/her head. Utilizing the question in this paragraph, ask with a higher up in earshot or send it to him in a list of scheduling or non-clinical/EMS questions you have (don't email just the one question as I guarantee your FTO will see it as a threat). Just say..."How do FTOs with XYZ org. correct employees while maintaining a high-quality patient care experience?" They won't like this...but if you really feel they have it out for you, you're not going to get on their good side this is the time for you to cover your ***!

I had an FTO that would always try to trip me up and then give me low scores. He would say something like how many mls should you give for this situation. I would say I don't know let me think...I might say "I would actually give 1mg"? I would get it right, even though he tried to trick me with mls but because I said, "I don't know" he would write, 'FTO didn't know proper dosages of medications'. He knew that I meant that I needed a few seconds to think about it but it was a way for him to slam me on my daily review. In other words, things can get easily twisted on you.

On a side note, I have a good recommendation, stay busy with the simple stuff they will have a hard time hitting you on....many FTO's are eagle eyes out there trying to catch every mistake you make. Never mind they just almost ripped off a door handle and flipped a patient because they weren't paying any attention to the cot, or that they completely forgot to evaluate a potential stroke patient with the Cincinnati Stroke Scale and than made up some bogus crap when you reminded them. In the same stroke, they are going to make sure they write down that you weren't pushing the cot fast enough or that you were driving too cautious ..lol...I really can't make this stuff up!

Side note: For me, in the end, I had to disagree with him in a review and to do this I had to have a lot of proof indicating otherwise. This could always come back to bite me but I wasn't going down without a fight. I will let you know how this turns out in a few months.
 
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