… for the fans of the JEMS Facebook page who come here and can’t get beyond the blog title, or for some other reason get the mistaken idea that I look with disdain upon EMTs, I thought a little repost of an old blog entry might be in order:
New Medic Syndrome*
For you brand-new medics, a few little things to remember as you embark on this phase of your EMS career:
1. There is no Monro-Kellie doctrine for EMS crews. Their is no finite knowledge base to be split between you and your partner. Just because you have a shiny new paramedic patch doesn’t mean the EMT-Basic on the truck suddenly became stupid overnight. Try to remember that they have more to contribute to patient care other than being our personal pack mule, and they might just save you from making an ass of yourself one day.
2. Your paramedic class may have taught you the bare minimum medical knowledge you’ll need, but it didn’t teach you leadership and scene management skills. Those things, you learn on the street. And the best way to do that is remembering a) that you’re part of a team, and b) that a leader doesn’t ask a subordinate to do anything that he isn’t willing to do himself.
3. The paramedic patch on your arm doesn’t buy you any respect. To your partners, even the EMTs, you’re still the same marginally competent dumbass you were last week. You want respect, earn it. And the best way to do that is to practice The Golden Rule.
4. You may not believe it now, but your biggest mistakes early on are going to be made in Items 1-3, not because of some deficiency in your medical knowledge. If you’re smart, those mistakes will be few and far between, and your partners will work hard to cover your ass. If you’re a jerk, they’ll work just as hard to expose your ass when you do make a medical mistake. And you are going to make mistakes, Hero. Count on it.
5. The vast majority of the stuff you’re going to do on scene is BLS. Assessments, history, and interventions, it’s mostly BLS, and many of your ALS interventions can be done in the back of the rig on the way to the ER. That means the guy with the EMT-B patch is just as important on that scene as the guy with the EMT-P patch. They know how to do what’s needed on a scene just as well as you do. Do yourself and the EMTs a favor, and resist the urge to tell them how to do their jobs.
6. Remember that paramedic every EMT hated? You know, the one that treated you like you were stupid, micromanaged every aspect of patient care, called you out in public, and generally acted as if their personal feces were not odorific? Now that you’re a paramedic, try not to be that guy.
*New Medic Syndrome: A mysterious malady that seems to afflict a great many new paramedics. Some researchers postulate that the new medic, nervous and unsure of himself and hyper-aware of his new status in the medical pecking order, projects that lack of confidence onto others. Others theorize that paramedic patches refract and focus undesirable character traits much like a magnifying glass refracts and focuses light.