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Post: Blog2_Post

First day (to the power of infinity)

What’s wrong with my partner?

It was my first week off of orientation at my first EMS job. I was 18 years old, an EMT, but was already in paramedic school (I went straight from EMT to Paramedic). My partner? An individual about 25 years my elder, who had been working in EMS for over 20 years. They were nice to me, and they took me under their wing. I was glad they took interest in me because I had a lot to learn. What did they teach me?

They taught me how to navigate the response area, how to fill out the ambulance check-off form, how to use the radio, which hospitals had different specialties, and where the good (and quick) food was. They also taught me the phrase “we’re 10-42” (Which meant we were past the end of our shift and unavailable for another call). That last part came in handy for sure. But, something seemed to be missing from this individual's wealth of knowledge. What was it?

Being a paramedic student I had a lot of questions and ideas about medicine, and I was excited to bounce this mess of information in my head off of someone else. However, they didn’t bounce very well off of my new partner. I came to find out that talking to my new partner was basically like talking to a layperson who happened to have been around EMS for a long time. Don’t get me wrong, they were a great technician - they had the basic skills in their hands and a decent flow about them. They could get vitals, move the patient, obtain a 12 lead, start an IV, etc... They could also talk to the patients much better than I could - I didn’t know how to be conversational in an emergency yet. However, their clinical knowledge was almost nonexistent. As I would study my protocol book and talk about them, they had no idea what the protocols were. As time went on I realized they wouldn’t give medications when it was indicated because they didn’t understand the treatments. They would shy away from anything besides a non-rebreather mask for everyone. They almost never wanted to stay on scene and assess a patient or stabilize them. They always wanted to do the minimum (sometimes less) and transport quickly. I was so confused. What was going on with my new partner? Some of my thoughts about the situation went like this:

-How have they been doing this for so long but seem to know so little about treating a sick patient?

-How have they lasted this long in EMS when they rarely treat anyone?

-I’m pissed.