Bid Shift

We had our first bid shift in several years recently. For me, it presented a dilemma. Continue working in the city or go to the suburbs in a fly car.

I have always loved the city, even when I was posted to the suburbs as a contract medic to ride as a paramedic in a volunteer ambulance, I still worked 20-30 hours a week on overtime in the city. In the past two years (I have been back in the city full time), my time in the city has been invigorating. In particular, I enjoyed the year when I was able to be in a fly car in the city, responding to any call I wished. When that experimental program ended, I still enjoyed being in a regular ambulance. Now let me be clear, not every call is “in the city.” In a regular transport ambulance, you can respond to a multiplicity of towns, but for the most part (50% of calls), you do 911s in the great city of Hartford.

So why would I consider going to a flycar in the suburbs?

Let’s go through the pros and cons.

City

Pros
Busy. Averaging 8 transports per 12 hour shift, plus additional refusals, cancels, etc.
Chance to be a paramedic. Several decent calls per day. A wide variety of calls.
Food. Great variety of ethnic restaurants.
Social/Comraderie – You interact reguarly with other crews and everyone at the hospitals
Stories – In the city, even if the call is not always medically challenging, the view of life is riveting, sometimes sad, others laugh out loud funny.
Partner-Could have a good partner

Cons
Exhausting – Of late we are constantly being called out of the hospital to take calls, and rarely even have time to post. And I’m not getting any younger. The equipment seems heavier (along with the patients), the stairs we climb steeper, and more elevators seem to be out of order.
Transfers – It’s not that I mind the occasional transfer (1-3 a day), I just mind getting them when BLS cars are doing emergencies.
Dispatch — EMS responders and their dispatchers seem to always have different views on how ambulances should be used. Our system is perhaps no different from others. Having said that I acknowledge dispatch may not be the easiest job and I for one would not want to do their job.
Partner- Could have a Bad Partner

Now lets look at the Suburban Fly Car

Pros
You only do 911s.
Lots of good medicals that go along with the more elderly population.
You are dispatched directly by the town
Less exhausting
Lots of time to read
No transfers
Plenty of help on scene from transporting amulance crew, PD and Fire Department, who are both first responders depending on the nature of the call.

Cons
Having to sit in car all shift, and pay attention to radio (i.e. no nodding off).
Having to turn most calls over to the transporting ambulance if the transporting ambulance has a medic, and call does not necessitate two medics
No one to talk to.
Could bump longstanding medic from suburban shift

So how did it all come out?

While the time may come one day for me to settle in the suburbs, I am still a city boy. I got my first choice. Sunday, Monday, Tuesday 5:30-17:30 in the city. Moving from the 7-19 shift to the early slot may prove to be a mistake, but I figure, it gives me more time at home with the family, the chance to have a sit down dinner every night. And with age, it is easier for me to get up in the morning than it used to be. I’ll just need to make certain I get to bed at a reasonable hour. And while I know on the first wait and return transfer I am given on the new shift, I may regret my choice, I know I won’t regret it when I am in the midst of the city, its calls and its people.

I’ll let you know how it works out.

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Peter Canning

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