This year’s EMS Week runs from May 15-21, with May 18 set aside as Emergency Medical Services for Children day.
This year’s theme is Called To Care.
Across the country EMS agencies will be both working to raise awareness of what EMS does and recognize the hard work their providers perform every day of the year. Unfortunately it is inevitable that somewhere the coffee will be cold. The good donuts will be gone. A shift will slip through the cracks and be forgotten. The cuts in reimbursement will be enough of a budgetary hit to remove an entire agencies ability to demonstrate their appreciation. Someone will feel slighted, disappointed, and unappreciated.
It shouldn’t be that way. We shouldn’t allow it to be that way. So why would we?
One of my partners shared this image with me a few months ago. I had a good chuckle over it because it’s true… which also is really sad. Unfortunately it is even worse than that. We are an industry known for “eating our young” and driving good people from its ranks with bad behavior.
The true problem is that it isn’t just the young we are eating. We are eating everyone who doesn’t wear the same uniform we do and in many cases we’ll eat them even if they do. Maybe it’s because they are new. Maybe it’s because they are old. Maybe it’s because they’re from “that” agency. Maybe it’s because they’re also working at “that” department. Maybe they took the class at “that” school. Whatever the reason that we come up with, we will find a way to eat them.
We will eat them by complaining about them. Maybe it will be how long they take doing a patient assessment. Maybe it will be how they look in the uniform. Maybe it will be their handwriting (for those that still use paper). Maybe it will be the amount of work, or lack thereof, we perceive them to be doing. We will find something about them to complain about, even if we are turning around and doing the exact same thing.
We will eat them by criticizing them. I’m not talking about the constructive criticism that SHOULD occur, but the type that has neither a basis nor are we necessarily qualified to give. The type of criticism we offer to others about them, yet never offer it to the subject of the criticism themselves.
We will eat them by ostracizing them. We won’t greet them when they arrive or say goodbye to them when they leave. We won’t converse with them unless it is on a clinical level. We won’t allow them to be part of the conversation.
That drawing should say “Your fellow EMTs and Paramedics are partners, not food.”
All the things they are going to be giving out during EMS Week this year, I don’t want any of it. I don’t want the lunch bags, water bottles, keychains, pens, flashlights, beach chairs, bagels, or donuts. Not even the coffee (*GASP*).
All I want for EMS Week this year is that we stop trying to eat one another.