Well the summer of 2015 is now behind me and it is time to get back to writing. I have been doing a lot of traveling as of late both to Austin, TX for the EMS Compass project as well as some traveling for pleasure as well. It was very therapeutic and frankly it was nice to get away from the keyboard for a couple of months. It did, however, remind me of how much I enjoy writing so it is good to get back to that as well. I have a lot of ideas developed that I hope to roll out here over the next couple of months. One of the biggest ones is I plan to include a few posts here and there that have nothing to do with EMS at all. If you follow me on Twitter or are friends with me on Facebook you know that I can be pretty opinionated about some issues. While I plan to touch on those on occasion I also want to talk a bit about life outside of EMS because getting away from the field can be just as important as what we do on the street. After over five years of writing, I feel like a break was exactly what I needed but rest assured, I am back! Now, let’s get back to it. . . Share...
We took the week off last weeks or Labor Day and this week the podcast is back with a short interview that I did on Jamie Davis’ The Medicast where we talk about the show and what it is all about. Regular shows will be back next week! Enjoy! To download the show in MP3 format, follow this link! Otherwise check the show out below: Share...Read More
In almost fifteen years in this field I have seen a lot of people come and go, and that does not just go for coworkers but also spouses and significant others. I don’t know what it is but so many of us in this field are so self-destructive when it comes to our interpersonal relationships, myself included, and I cannot help but search internally for an answer. I have yet to find one. This job is difficult. This career is difficult. The level of depression, substance abuse, and suicide that we see in emergency responders is way too high. It goes without saying that one occurrence is too many, but we are so far beyond that and the numbers just keep climbing. I have seen far too many broken homes through the years and it makes me sad. I just do not know what we can do to make that better. Do we need an orientation class for spouses when their loved one gets hired into this field? Should we be sending take home information with our new EMTs and paramedics...Read More
For the Field
Some of you might have noticed a little bit of a slowdown through the month of April. There are pluses and minuses to this sort of thing. The minus, of course, is me putting out less content for those of you who read this blog regularly and for that I apologize. The plus side though is that with the additional projects that I have recently taken on, I am actually in a position to add more content. So for anybody who has been wondering, here is where I have been and here is what I have been up to. My time has been divided lately on two fronts. If you look to the right side of this page you will notice a new disclaimer specifically addressing the EMS Compass project. About six or seven months ago I was asked by a colleague to be part of a work group that was going to have a hand in developing statistical measures and benchmarks for EMS. This initiative by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the National Association of State EMS...Read More
Lessons to Learn
With EMS week upon us, I wanted to talk about what this journey through EMS has meant to me, and what it has taken to take some of the steps that I have in my career and there is no better place to start than that first leap. One of the most common questions that I have been asked by new and prospective EMTs and paramedics is “when will I feel comfortable?” It is one of the most difficult questions to answer and one that I really do not know the answer to. Truth be told, it took me a lot longer than I ever expected to be comfortable in my skin as a paramedic. When I started medic school I felt confident as an EMT. I had a strong grasp on what my role was at a scene, and felt that I could effectively perform any of the skills in my toolkit when called upon to do so. Medic school proved to be a struggle at times, more because of my lack of good study habits but I got through...Read More
Jun 12, 2015
I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a week or so. It’s a tough decision to make, but I feel that its something that I need to do. I started this blog about five and a half years ago on a whim to see if I could get myself back into writing which is something that I have always enjoyed since childhood. Now, here I am almost 400 posts later, and still going strong. Anybody who reads what I write regularly knows that there has been a bit of a slowdown as of late. That is mainly due to the amount of stuff that I currently have going on in my life outside of the blog. EMS Compass, a part time job, teaching, my full time job, traveling, a social life. Most of my “EMS related” time ends up pretty tied up leaving less and less time for writing. As far as internet age goes, five and a half years is pretty old. Most of the blogs that I pick up and read seem to have a shelf life of six months or less. People get into writing, put 110% into it and then just grind to a halt mostly due to a lack of material. Somehow, I pushed through that and found that comfortable balance between having things to write about and posting them in moderation so that I could stay ahead or at least keep up with my posting schedule. Its not easy to do, and for anybody looking to start a blog that is the biggest tip that I can give you. What it comes down to is I think that it is time for me to take a short break from writing here at EMS in the New Decade. The blog is not going away by any means. Instead, I am simply going to take a few months off and start fresh in September. This will give me time to get reorganized, deal with what is shaping up to be a very busy summer, work on some other side projects, and just do some writing in moderation so that when I do come back in September I have lots...
May 18, 2015
With EMS week upon us, I wanted to talk about what this journey through EMS has meant to me, and what it has taken to take some of the steps that I have in my career and there is no better place to start than that first leap. One of the most common questions that I have been asked by new and prospective EMTs and paramedics is “when will I feel comfortable?” It is one of the most difficult questions to answer and one that I really do not know the answer to. Truth be told, it took me a lot longer than I ever expected to be comfortable in my skin as a paramedic. When I started medic school I felt confident as an EMT. I had a strong grasp on what my role was at a scene, and felt that I could effectively perform any of the skills in my toolkit when called upon to do so. Medic school proved to be a struggle at times, more because of my lack of good study habits but I got through and added that “PARAMEDIC” rocker to my EMT patch. Once I hit the street as a medic though I felt very overwhelmed. I remember sitting in my car in the parking lot at Springfield College with my door open dry heaving the morning before my first 7:30am shift as a medic. I was terrified. Most of it stemmed from the fact that I did not want to disappoint anybody, especially myself. That first shift went well though, and the first group of shifts did but for the most part, I can fully admit that I was scared. When it comes to type of air that a medic must carry with themselves on a scene, I tell most brand new medics that they need to be “like a duck.” Under the water, you might be paddling your little duck behind off but outwardly, above the water line, you need to be cool, calm and collected and just quack your way along with no one any the wiser. I was a terrible duck. This overall sentiment went on for about the first year or so...
May 11, 2015
What determines “success” in EMS? How do we know that we are doing a good job? Is it measured by our department’s ROSC rate? Or maybe it’s response time compliance (but I hope it’s not). What makes a good paramedic a good paramedic? Do we determine it by looking at how successful they are at starting IV’s or intubating patients? Is it something simpler like the number of people who thank them at the end of the call because they genuinely feel better? With EMS still in its infancy there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to figure out exactly what our impact is on society. We are a high speed, high volume industry that does not take nearly enough time to slow down and really look at what we are doing. The biggest reasons for that lie in the fact that we lack the knowledge to really know what data to collect, or once we have the data we lack the guidance from within the industry to understand exactly how to process that data in a way that will allow us to paint a clear picture of how well we are performing. Which brings me to today’s post. As I mentioned in my post last week, I have taken on a lot of different responsibilities over the past couple of months. One of my favorite ones in my involvement in the EMS Compass project. I was asked late last year just before I headed out to Nashville, Tennessee for EMS World Expo if I wanted to be involved in a project tasked with developing statistical benchmarks and measurements for prehospital care. From the sounds of what was to come, EMS Compass combined many of the things that I really enjoy about the field so I had no choice but to say yes. In the last five months we have had a number of conference calls, and two face to face meetings. The team that I am involved with on the Measurement Design Group is made up of some of the smartest EMS thinkers in the field today. And then there I am, adding my two cents and contributing...
Apr 30, 2015
I am a vocal supporter of the police in the world of social media and in my every day life. My stance has gotten me called many different names such as asshole, racist, conformist, and even boot licker by some. Much of the support that I express for them is derived from my life experiences with people in law enforcement. I grew up in a small town where every cop was on a first name basis with just about every resident. I worked for twelve years in a metropolitan area that was recently named the second most dangerous metropolitan area in the northeast. I have been pulled over a few times in my now twenty years of driving and received two tickets. Regardless of the offense that I committed or the fine I always treated the officer that pulled me over with respect because you respect. Over the last ten months tensions in this country have hit a new high. Dumping fuel on the fire, as usual, are people like Al Sharpton or Joe Madison to name just a few. City Council members in the City of Baltimore have done press conferences standing next to the “leadership” of street gangs. Their mayor is now back peddling after she talked about her poor choice of wording or justification for the destruction in her city (depending on which side of the fence you are on). Leadership in other cities continue to stand on the wrong side of the lines that have been drawn, much like Rebecca Lisi has in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Mainstream news outlets like Fox, CNN, or MSNBC do not try to put a stop it because it gives them things to fill their 24 hour news cycle and the people who suffer are the citizens and the responders. I will be the first to admit that not every police officer is the most legitimate, upstanding person. There are bad eggs in every single profession including my own, but the vastly overwhelming majority of those who have chosen law enforcement as their careers do their job because they care. Sometimes, sadly, they are asked to care for those who could care less about their well-being. Everybody...