They wrote everyone up for not doing the new ambulance maintenance checklist. A couple weeks ago, they started handing out the checklist. Lights, motor oil, mileage, cleanliness, tire pressure. Scratches, dents. You name it, it is on there. I did it the first couple days and then stopped doing it because they stopped passing it around and it seemed like no one else was doing it.

But the write up caught my attention. I had no problem signing my bad. I could have argued for the specifics – what day and shift did I not turn one in, but the point was I hadn’t paid much attention to it, and the company was now saying it is important enough that we will write you and everyone else up. So I’m doing the automotive checklist now – or if not me, my partner is doing it.

I think as a rule, we are resistant to change in routine. I can think of a number of changes over the years that we fought against, but now are routine. They instituted a policy back several years ago about coming to a complete stop at all intersections. Most of us thought that was stupid. It’s common practice now. Makes sense, too. I’ll all for safety and safe driving. Backing up your partner. Stupid, we thought. People do it now. Locking the ambulance when you leave it unattended. Becoming more common now. Using not just two stretcher straps, and not just three straps, but three straps with a shoulder harness. Seems like everyone does it. Again safety.

Signatures on paperwork. Many years ago, they used to hardly ever enforce it. That’s key, you don’t enforce something, you are telling me it is not important, and I may be less likely to comply if I am not in full agreement with it. I do remember one time they did enforce the signature rule, but it was an odd one. I was working with my old partner Arthur and they kicked back a run form to us for not getting the patient signature. It had been a cardiac arrest. Faced with the blank signature, Arthur took out his pen and wrote “PATIENT DEAD” in big letters. “That ought to take care of it,” he said.

Now with the electronic PCRs, you can’t advance the chart unless you get a signature, but there is a place to write Patient unable to sign due to (fill in reason). And you can write PATIENT DEAD there if you want.

The older I get the easier it becomes to just do what they want you to do. I’m happy to have a job and the company’s checks have always been good at the bank. And besides, as much as I may not like changes to my routine, there is usually a good reason behind it.

1 Comment

  • Rogue Medic says:

    I agree with most of the things you describe. I have trouble getting even supervisors to lock the truck that my controlled substances are in. Of course, many people will pull up at the hospital, leave the truck running and the doors open so that they can rush in to the hospital more quickly. The drug bag with the controlled substances is left unattended in the back of the truck. In spite of this foolishness, we wonder why people do not treat us as professionals.

    On the other hand, I think that an ambulance should only rarely come to a full stop. Especially with a patient on board.

    We are either capable of critical judgment – being able to travel slowly enough that we are capable of coming to a full stop before hitting anything that might pull in front of us – or we are thoughtless incompetents only capable of meeting binary criteria of stop and go.

    We have too many things that distract us from thinking about our driving. This is just one more reason to ignore what we are doing, because all that matters to the managers is that we come to a full stop. Coming to a full stop has nothing to do with safe driving and is the antithesis of smooth driving.

    A competent, attentive driver is what is essential for safe driving.