You deserve to die of malnutrition

Few industries have seen the change that ambulance has. Mixed amongst the old school head stomping managers who commenced when paramedics had little more than a bottle of oxygen and a ute (or as the Americans call them; a ‘truck’) with a stretcher inside, are people with bachelors and post graduate certificates in pre-hospital emergency medicine.

By character, most ambos have a fairly strong personality. As a result we clash. It’s not rare to see (or rather hear) two paramedics of various rank or file arguing or yelling it out. Sometimes it’s because the dinosaurs insist that management shouldn’t fraternise with the people of ‘lower rank’ (and by fraternise he means attend social events or have a beer at the pub). Other times its because a door was slammed a little too loudly which upsets a mind in an office around the corner.

Yeah. From slamming doors, changing rosters, not putting things back right, through to posting people to places without consultation, arguments are part of the job…. and just as often as not they involve friendly fire with our own communications division, management and even our fellow paramedics. Let alone what happens with bystanders, patients, and their families.

So when people complain about the conditions in ambulance it’s usually met with a bit of flashback. Some think there’s nothing to complain about. Other’s see things differently.

We have a pretty good job in the Australian realm: Our pay is more than fair, our hours are reasonable, managers are more and more beginning to see things from the point of view on road and we’re even becoming less cynical.

Ok, maybe I’m kidding myself about the last one.

Point is, with a bit of common sense most of the gripes that people complain about do get avoided. As a staff member was heard yelling out recently “if you don’t carry a handful of bloody muesli bars in the truck you deserve to die of malnutrition!” Another was voiced which said: you don’t spend the 12 hours before coming on day shift water skiing… so why the hell would it be an excuse to not turn up to night shift for spending 12 hours doing the same thing.

Whilst I think that their methodology may not quite be ideal….. and hard and fast isn’t as effective as it once was (many claim us new graduates aren’t produced as tough as ‘the good old days’), many points remain:

We get paid meal breaks.

We use state of the art gear.

We get sick, maternity, annual and a bunch of other leaves.

At the end of the day, we’re exceedingly blessed to live and work where we do, and with the conditions we have. Particularly in this industry: if the worst thing that happens to you today is missing your meal break….

maybe it’s time you had a look at what’s happening on the other side of the world.

I’ve been told that in this industry I need to earn my cynicism. Well I’d like to challenge that, and I encourage you to do the same: How often do you allow little gripes and problems other people bring into the work place to make you a grumpy jerk?

Kinda shameful when you think about what’s happening in Syria.


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