People Care

If you are looking to get someone in EMS a great Christmas present, here is the book for them or for yourself:

People Care: Career-Friendly Practices for Professional Caregivers

Thom Dick is the author of Street Talk, a book of essays that came out about the time I was in EMT school in 1989. It was extremely influential in instructing me in what it meant to be a caregiver. It encouraged me to see the patient as a person, to respect the people I work with, to take the time to be kind, and other important lessons that helped me become a better EMT.

A few years later I heard him speak at an EMS convention and he was fantastic. He got you fired up to go out there and hold old ladies’ hands. He made you feel like the work you did, even the mundane parts, was special. I read his book often over the years and it always charged me up. Now I don’t pretend to have always lived up to his standards. I know I haven’t. But I do try.

His new book seems to be a expansion/complilation of his prior book and the talks he gives all over the country. It is enhanced by cartoons by Steve Berry, who does the I am Not an Ambulance Driver cartoon series.

“When you kneel in front of somebody’s granpa who’s sitting on his couch and denying his chest pain, you need to recognize the pain he says isn’t there, detect the shortness of breath he hasn’t mentioned and sense the fear that’s absolutely dominating his conciousness. You need to appreciate the fact that his spouse, seated right there next to him, is scared to death she’s never going to sleep with him again. And somehow, you need to make everything better in just a few minutes.

These are the dynamics of even the simplest emergency response. They presuppose the presence of gifts in us that not even the greatest teacher can impart — gifts that unfortunately, come without instructions.

This book is an examination of those gifts and a collection of the instructions that didn’t come with them. It’s based on the collective experience and wisdom of dozens of professional paramedics and EMTs worlwide who learned to love the lifelong pursuit of helping others.

We hope it helps you to join their number.”

– from back cover of book

“People don’t remember much about our medicine. But they do remember how we make them feel.”
-Thom Dick

“It’s not enough to be the most competent EMT you can be. You need to be nice. And it’s not enough to be nice. You need to be competent and nice.”
-Thom Dick


  • Ambulance Girl says:

    I’ve been keeping up with your blog for a while (practically daily)-totally had no idea who you were….I read both your books a while ago and loved them. They were one of the many things that told me EMS was the way to go. Just want to say thanks! 🙂 My blog is at:

  • Ambulance Girl says:

    Actually, this might seem weird too, but do you write for “Paramedic Journal: a year on the streets”? It seems like many of the stories correlate…I found that blog first and couldn’t find a way to get a hold of the author. If you are, I put a link to the page on my blog for it. Let me know if that’s okay.Thanks

  • PC says:

    Thanks for the link to your blog. Loks good. I will try to give it a more thorough read tomorrow. Look for a blip on your hit map from New England.I was going to suggest that you link up with the emeriblogs net ring linked on my page, but it seems that site has been temporarily highjackedParamedic Journal is my daily blog. I have been keeping my name off of it for confidentiality reasons because the date specificity of the calls makes them a bit harder to completely change the details.I take highlights from that blog and rewrite them for this one. It is okay to keep a link to it on your blog.Thanks again for reading.

  • Dislocated Gumby says:

    felt compelled to tell you that i found the entry entitled “Praise Be” hillarious. i would read it a couple more times, but my ribs hurt too much from the first two times. . .