Two Jobs: Good and Bad

I’m back at work today on the ambulance after four days working the desk job, reading run forms, working on education presentations, and entering trauma data. There are good and bad things about each job. Here’s a brief run down.

Desk job:

The Good – I can sleep until 7 in the morning. I don’t have to worry about getting shit on my boots, vomit and blood on my pants or MRSA filled phlegm on my gloved hands. I get paid to read research studies. The biggest thing I have to lift is my laptop or a package of copy paper. I have met many intelligent, interesting people. They have an awesome lunchtime cafeteria where I work. I get to see a more global picture of EMS and my mind fills constantly with new insights and ways to make things better. If I work twenty years, I will get a nice pension. (19 years and six months to go).

The Bad – I have to critique other paramedics based on calls I have not been on. While I understand this is a necessary part of my job, I am still uncomfortable with it. As in any desk job/office environment I have to be mindful of proper etiquette and chains of authority. Not that I violate these, just that it takes much effort to remind myself of them and keep my actions guided by them. I cannot always belch when I wish to belch. Some projects seem to take forever and are dependent on other people. The data entry can be tedious. I have no patient contact.

Street medic Job:

The Bad:

I have to get up at 5 in the morning. I have to scrub my hands all day long. After some calls I still smell the patient. I hate the sound of lights and sirens and I hate putting my life in the hands of another driver. I have to wait in the triage line. My 401K retirement plan is in the toilet. Carrydowns.

The Good:

Every call is a new experience. Every day a new day. I am in charge of the scene. I still love the adrenaline rush of a challenging call. Each call is a complete episode. I have a choice of any restaurant or market in town to eat at. I meet lots of interesting people and have great stories to tell. It’s the best job I’ve ever had. I feel like a good guy. I get to take care of people.


  • Herbie says:

    You forgot the mention The Ugly for each part.P.S. I moved my bwog, since I’m not in Newark anymore.

  • PJ Geraghty says:

    This was one of the best parts of my east coast existence…I got to play office/hospital dude as an organ recovery coordinator, and street badass as a volunteer paramedic/firefighter. Now I have to channel my inner badass elsewhere…I just haven’t found where yet.

  • Anonymous says:

    I hate the critiquing end of the job- always have! but always learned from it too but now I am just old and jaded I guess. Hang in there!

  • Rogue Medic says:

    I believe that chart review is inadequate for quality control.You might be able to get your bosses to broaden your job description. You should encourage them to put your street skills to use. Spend time going out to assist/observe on calls. Compare those calls that you were on to the charts that are written about the call.Talk with people in the hospitals about the patients transported there. What do they see as problems with the way that EMS is treating patients? what do they see that EMS is doing well? Ask about particular patients that were received by them (of course, you need to try to filter out whatever biases they may have, but that is just a part of the job).Talk with patients and family about how they perceived patient care. The ones who call up to complain, or praise, the crews are only a small self-selected sample of the patient care experiences. They are certainly not the only ones that matter. They are just the ones that come to the attention of the bosses.I always viewed the availability of restaurants as more of a tease than anything else. When would I be able to have a nice sit down meal, and actually finish it?

  • Kim says:

    I can understand how hard it must be to critique your peers on calls that you weren’t a part of. I cannot stand it when ER nurses (and doctors) try to second guess what the medics did in the field.First of all, not only were they not on the call, but the majority of them have never even seen what “in the field” looks like.Everyone thinks my job as an ER RN is so tough. My job is a picnic compared to you guys in the field.

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