Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A little more about me, and some thoughts on the night life.

Welcome back..Surprised to see I had several other people actually read the first post, so why not continue on some more, eh?

As I said before, I have been a medic now for almost 10 years, and have worked in a variety of systems. I have done the BLS first response side of things, moving to ALS once the squad was on scene as needed, worked as both a basic and a medic on the truck, worked on the fire department, and was even a supervisor at one EMS agency. I am still learning, and probably always will be, given that healthcare is a continuously evolving career field. Anyone new to the job who happens to be reading this, keep that in mind! I have a few years experience under my belt, but am by no means one of the "old timers" who have been doing this job for as long as I have been alive.

When I became a medic, it was in a system that had, and still has, a GREAT field precepting program. Just because you have a pulse and a P, does NOT mean that you got thrown onto a truck and told to go save lives. There was an extensive training period where you could ONLY work as a medic if you were with a Field Training Officer, who was a seasoned medic. After most of a year, and having a number of high acuity patients, both medical and trauma, you could go test out with the Medical Director. He would quiz you on anything and everything that he wanted to out of the protocols, and expected you to know and understand not just what was written, but the rationale behind it. The Good Doctor used to work in EMS, and would show up at random on scene's where he might be of assistance, so he was an involved director, who knew his crews and what they were going through. Once you became a proud new Level 1 paramedic, you still were not going to be working with anyone other than other paramedics. After another year or so as a level 1, you could once again go back to the Director and test out again on protocols, with harder questions and a higher standard of care, to become a Level 2 medic. Again, still working with other medics until you tested out to the Level 2 Platinum status, which would allow you to work with a basic. After some time at the Platinum level if interested you could pursue becoming a PFI, Paramedic Field instructor. Only once one had reached that level could you be training new medic's on the truck.

I was privileged to start my career in a system such as this. It developed me as a strong, well rounded medic. It allowed me to work with a number of different PFI's, taking advantage of their experience to add to my "toolkit" of skills, tips, and tricks to make me a better provider. I feel so bad for those that are thrown to the sharks, and expected to function proficiently as an Advanced provider without that guiding hand their to help them. I also was lucky enough to do a large chunk of my training time as a probie on nights. I soon discovered that much like Dear Old Mom, I was a night person. I despise mornings. The sun is evil, and exists to make it uncomfortably warm, and to hurt one's eyes. Maybe that isn't the case for you weird daytime folks, but to us Nightwalkers, it is. I quickly learned that night people are a whole different type of animal altogether. From the gas station clerks we hung out with, drinking coffee and pop, to the staff at the hospitals, there is an entirely different attitude than the day shift. Yes, most of us have our quirks, but overall I think the night crew was much friendlier and entertaining.

I had to convert to evil daytime existence when I began working a 24 hour shift, which I did for about 3 years. Back in October, I got lucky enough to find a new full time job, working nights, 7pm to 7am. I quickly adjusted back to my nocturnal routine, and have been living every minute of it.  Since those day's of starting in EMS 10 years ago, many changes in my own life have come about. I have a daughter now, who is 3. I have a fiancee, who has a 4 year old son, and is going through her own Paramedic program currently. We also have a new little one on the way. Unfortunately, at least in my case, the rest of my family are those weird "normal" folks who are awake while the sun is up. That leads to creative sleeping arrangements so that I can still see those that I love. Most of the time, I just keep to a mostly nocturnal schedule, but every other weekend, when my daughter is here, I have to switch back to days. Man, that is rough! It is even worse when I happen to have a scheduled shift on that weekend..trying to juggle spending time with her vs being well rested enough to safely and efficiently perform my job duties. So far what seems to work best is for me just to get up in the morning with the kids, hang out until noon or so, then take a few hour nap. I wake up feeling rested, get to eat dinner with the family, and then go to work.

Alright..I just noticed how much I have been rambling..I blame the Burning Ball of Hydrogen...

Till next time folks! Be safe, and have fun!

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