For teaching I love seeing a students face when they finally grasp and understand a topic that they were struggling with.
For EMS as a whole I enjoy they challenge and the puzzle that patients are. I do enjoy helping people but I would be lying if I said that was my main motivator. I think that is what drew me to the critical care/flight side of the house. I will gladly take a complex medical patient over a trauma patient any day of the week. Sure the skills I can do for a trauma patient are cool but not extraordinary complex.
What drives me is validation, in the context of whatever role I happen to be in. I wear a lot of hats and I'm no different than the CNA in a SNF or the BC with the big city FD. The trick is to not let the validation become a "religion" of sorts. To keep it in perspective, like an employment benefit like vision and dental...once validation becomes the prime motivation, I've gone down a path of no return....the prime motivation has to be conscientious attention to detail and work ethic...the validation has to be a function of those things and can't be considered a guarantee because validation comes from other people that are...seeking validation...
I keep circling back to this thread, this is not as easy an answer as I thought.
I really enjoy taking the total jumble that is most every call when you walk through the door and making some order out of it. I take the most pride in being exceptionally efficient and making sure that by the time we get to the hospital that the patient is really set for whatever the next step is. If the hospital is not the right choice, I perversely enjoy the challenge of helping the patient navigate the healthcare system and find the care right for them.
I don't have a sciences background, in fact I think that's one of the weaker points of my academic career. I have a political science degree and enjoyed studying government systems, as in how and why services are provided the way they are. I think I enjoy taking that angle out to the truck and thinking about why we do things the way we do. If we do things in a slow, convoluted, or unsafe way, I want to come up something better. This is occasionally seen as neurotic by some of the more tenured folks but fortunately it's usually just me as the paramedic at my station and my crew is generally on the same page with finding the best way that we can do things.
I really believe in "looking good" when you're out doing this job. If you have time to make everything look good while engaging with your patient, to me that means you have thought deeply about the care you provide and are totally dialed in. No time or motion is wasted. To me there is no bigger compliment after a challenging call when someone is like "where's the mess?" If you've been introspective about what you will use in your care, you won't make a mess. I am far from perfect when it comes to all of this, but it drives me to be better. I think I've hit a bit of a clinical ceiling working the suburbs with pretty good but not expansive protocols, so this along with constantly fine tuning my assessment skills are what drive me to be better. I'm not doing hot-poop critical care work, most of what I do is run elderly sick patients, falls, and TAs on the interstate.
On a bigger level, I think EMS suffers from having a lot of people who are satisfied with "good enough." I think I have the unique ability to be pretty good in the back of the ambulance but also see the bigger pictures in EMS. I support evidence based guidelines and work to be involved in that. But I don't get mad when things "get taken away" so long as there is some data to support it. I see problems at a system and not individual level and believe in promoting just and safe cultures. I am a younger person which limits my credibility towards admin staff at times but helps in that many of our fledgling paramedics and EMTs look at me as their mentor as I can be relatable to them unlike the 20+ year folks, who of course have tons to offer as well. I take this "responsibility" and have worked hard to become a decent educator through the community college system and one of the hospitals.
I love being a paramedic very much. I am fortunately not as addicted to it as I was when I first got the gold patch and let it overcome my life, but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a true passion.
Still under the umbrella of helping people, but deeper than that. I want to be involved in something that could determine how someone fares later in life. Not that I'm looking for a power trip, but I want to do something that matters, especially if you can see the result of your hard work.
I haven't had the opportunity to work many codes or call a stroke alert or anything, but I know there's a big good feeling when you hear back about a pt and they're doing great. And you were a part of that. It's a gift you were able to give.
I want to answer the call, especially as many don't. Just call me and I'll be there.
I want to have a good camaraderie with like minded folks. People you entrust your life to. Even if it's not anything high stakes, but even driving around town or on a LD.
I do want something more than a desk job.
I want to be dependable, knowledgeable, teachable and a teacher on an every day basis. I don't have a lot of experience, but I share what I know. I want to be first pick on the team, someone you want in your corner when things get bad. Someone you know will keep the course and a cool head if things get bad.
The other day, our truck's electricity went out. No brakes (not sure why), no power steering. I was able to clear my lanes as I got over into a parking lot with little inerta to spare . As a reaction I hit the primaries and siren (at this point I didn't know what was going on. It made a sad woop woop and died). I shifted to park and waited a bit.
It was on a city street, parter was riding shotgun, so no pt.
I was concerned as things started to unfold that we had vehicle issues and then realized we had basically no power, but didn't freak out. Without power steering I really had to work the wheel but it was manageable.
Even small "emergencies" are things to learn from.
If we'd been going faster in heavy traffic it would have been worse.
I also love medicine. It's fascinating.
Point is. I just want something that fulfills me. The element of importance in what I do, urgency, medical and I'll admit, the possible danger is...
I don't know how to describe it. As I'm very cautious and analytical (leg incident was an outlier), but it draws me. The same way a police or military career would. Not that I'm looking for trouble, but it's like.... having the chance to be able to do this, to carry the risk, is an.. honor? Not everyone wants any sort of responsibility over anyone else and not that I'm having to have a God complex. I don't know how to describe it. I'm just glad to be able to offer myself in the place of everyone who says "I just don't know how I could do that job", "I can't deal with what you do", or "I could never..." so they don't ever think they have to.
I don't know how to explain what I'm trying to say really.
For those who know, I guess you know. And for those who don't, no amount of explanation will suffice.
I know everything isn't an emergency and it's sometimes hard for me to explain everything I think, feel or know. And then there's all the things I don't.
On things where it's life threatening (most things for me at this point. A vast majority), its all the little things.
A patient thanks us for the nice smooth ride. Because last time they went by ambulance it was super bumpy and high speed, white knuckle terrifying.
It's the nice conversations you can have and learn about a patient.
It's the patient who was in the hospital for 9 months SP MVC finally going to a rehab.
For hospice pts its trying to make them comfortable. If family is there, letting them know they're going to get great care from compassionate providers.
When you are able to talk to a nurse or someone else and learn something. Maybe it's about wounds or their protocols, medical or hospital terminology etc.
My patients are mostly low acuity, but I'm grateful for this job as it's been a stepping stone I'm going to use to the fullest. How to talk to patients and family, work with others in a team environment, lifting and body mechanics, driving larger vehicles, building rapport with hospital staff, doctors, nurses, FFs, other EMS services.
I want to be the best provider, partner, employee, friend, I can.
I don't settle for being less than I can be. That's one thing that bothers me about others in life. They let that flame of passion dwindle or die out. They'll get the job done, sure. But they're not going to go the extra mile. They won't be happy in anything. Everything is an inconvenience.
It's kinda sad to see the burnout. Most of these people used to be incredibly motivated. They used to care.
I know I'm smart enough to do more and I feel it's my duty to help others. So if I don't it's kind of... rude? A waste?
Aside from my upset and edgy posts, I've been given a lot In life. I've been lucky even with everything that's gone on. Crappy parenting made me never want to be like that. It made me want to do things right the first time. Bad times show you and others what you're made of.
I just have a lot to give now and in the future.
A lot of times I just want that chance to do that.
I strive for excellence. Do not confuse this with perfection, as that does not exist. However, excellence in all that I do is attainable. My excellence may be subpar to someone else's, but if it truly is my excellence at that time, in that moment, then I have done it. When I learn later that it was not actually my best excellence, due to lack of knowledge, training, or experience, then I improve myself in order to improve my excellence.
The above requires some humility, integrity, and desire for positive change without a negative undertone. Performing at my best, so that others may learn from it definitely drives me. Not only in a patient care setting, but business and darn near everything else in my life.
Pride. I have to take pride in what I do, I have to know why I do it and how I do it and then take pride in execution of that. I do take pride in a routine granny call and being able to make her smile. I would be a fool to admit there is not also a sense of ego doused in there...such as in my stubborn head I say, I am gonna get this grumpy looking, grumpy acting old person to smile...or I will say something similar about a critical patient or a difficult extraction. No matter the case, I take pride in challenging myself from something quite simple and mundane to something overwhelming and seemingly impossible. I take pride in those things and the satisfaction is usually in my head only.
Validation. I want to know I am doing something beneficial. I want to know it is meaningful, to others, not just myself. I want to leave a mark on people, places and things in a good way. Again, there is that underlying need for serving the ego, but its true. I have always had the desire to help and do good things while others appreciate and benefit from my hard work and efforts. This particular part of the drive has also burned me many times over, especially in recent years, however I do not stop seeking it and I do not stop allowing it to drive me.
Money. Despite all my feel good liberal tendencies, I do value myself more and more these days. Money drives me in the sense it allows me to do things I want to do, not things I need to do. At the peak of my prior company, I had millions of dollars. Having that cash allowed me to go work "undercover" if you will at some very low paying jobs simply because I wanted to do it, to have the experience. I definitely answered the question of what I would do if money was not a concern. I did not stop working that's for sure. LOL. Then a couple lawsuits and a very protracted, nasty divorce, my "endless" well started to dry up, so I sold the company and extracted myself. Because of the pride in my work and my people, I suffered tremendously emotionally and physically. Because of my seeking validation, I was burned at the stake mercilessly by others who had less and had their own intrinsic driving factors (two in particular were driven purely by cash).
Despite what transpired, I return to the original list above and acknowledge they are my driving factors. Because of those driving factors, I returned to school and completed my R.N. I have started a new company. I have returned to both the streets and the facility, basically have started over from the bottom and am again rising up, due to those driving factors. I have my lessons learned and will apply them (Excellence). I am happy with my resolve (Pride). People know what I did in the past and they already know I will do it again (Validation).
Great topic, took a while for me to reply because I wanted some time to give it serious thought and not be some off the cuff cheesy remark. I try to personally reflect and speak with honesty and transparently without sounding like a douche.
NomadicMedic: I wish even 1/4 of supervisors and managers had your attitude about things. Turnover wouldn't be as high as it is in EMS. If people were treated better people wouldn't always be looking for something better.