As an active EMS provider in both ground and air transports, I deal with a lot of different EMT and Paramedics from different services and this allows me the opportunity to listen in on different conversations, be apart of different debates and hear different ideas and views from the crew members. One particular topic that always gets to me is when I hear providers say we don’t get the respect we deserve from nurses and doctors in the hospital. Yes...believe me, I know first hand that this is true on several cases as I have been disrespected by numerous nurses at beside treating me like I don’t know what I an doing, or as if I was just some glory hound who tries to talk a good talk.
Ok so there is no doubt in my mind that we deserve more respect than what we get. But what exactly are we doing to deserve it. Yea we save lives, and we are the first line of treatment that someone in trouble gets, and on several cases we have the patient’s problem fixed or narrowed down by time we get to the ED. The patients are presented to the nurse with an I.V. , 12-lead, and initial work up and for the most part there is not much left for them to do initially. What I am talking about is training, education, a unison standard of training and care. There are several people against everyone being Nationally Registered, saying its not really beneficial to their state or for practices. But with the national registry for EMT's and Paramedics, we all may receive our training from different institutions but in the end we are all taking the same standard test to be certified. It doesn’t matter if your a Paramedic or EMT in New York, Georgia, PA, or wherever, prior to holding that state patch you pass a National Standard test.
So back to what do we do to deserve respect from the Nurses and Doctors. Although I generally get no less than 200 hours of con-ed a year, am certified in Critical Care, and work as a flight paramedic, when I walk in to a room, unless im in my flight suit no one really knows what all training I have. Because its mostly optional. I am viewed as that paramedic that shows up with my uniform all wrinkled, as piss poor attitude, and have no clue or no cares about the report the nurse is giving me about my patient. BINGO! There are several Paramedics that are just "get by" paramedics, they are there for the paycheck and do nothing to hide that fact. In Pa the minimal amount of Con-ed you need in a year to maintain your Medical Command is 18 hours. That’s an ACLS class and a couple extra hours and you’re golden. No trauma lectures, not advanced training, refresher courses..nothing. These are the people that are making us "wackers" as they call us look bad and are keeping us from getting the respect we deserve. This was proven straight out to me when I started working as a flight paramedic.
As a flight paramedic for the service I fly for there is several training factors you must meet yearly in addition to your 18 hours of state con-ed. there is a minimal number of live intubations you must perform, con-ed, education days etc etc etc... Hospital staff know that we are highly trained and as a flight paramedic I probably have the same training as that nurse and then some with emphasis on critical care that my company makes sure we get. with that being said, I could walk in to the same ER, or ICU,CCU whatever wearing my street paramedic uniform and another time wearing my flight suit and can guarantee different results and respect. and it all comes down to them knowing that to get to where we are as a flight paramedic and to maintain this position we are highly trained therefore highly respected. We must aim for the same standards in EMS period. no matter if its in an ambulance on in a helicopter. People view us the same as our weakest link (you know the saying).
So think about this the next time you want to start lecturing people on how we don’t get the respect we deserve. ask What are we doing outside of saving people. recognize your lazy "just getting by" crew members and try to make a difference. Yea there are state minimals on amount of con-ed you need, but that doesn’t mean your service can set there own standards. We are always demanding more pay; pay scales can be based on training levels and so on. Once we start proving ourselves as providers and our skills and consistent education is known. We will be respected. Everyone needs to help nationally.