This is an excerpt from my ebook 25 Things They Should Have Taught You In Medic School… But Didn’t available now on Amazon
Respect Not Included
Ever get a gift as a kid that was so incredibly cool and awesome, and you wanted it SO bad? You wanted to play with it in the worst way and you ripped the packaging open. You tossed any instructions for assembly aside, set it up to press that red button that would do the coolest most incredible thing. Then you pressed it and… nothing happened.
Because the batteries weren’t included.
EMS has something very similar. It’s what everyone thinks is so incredibly cool and awesome, and they want it SO bad. They want it in the worst way and tore through Medic school to get it. They tossed the advice and recommendations of their instructors and preceptors aside, got out on the street to get the coolest most incredible part of the job and… they got severely disappointed. Or worse… ended up in the back of a police cruiser after a fist fight.
Respect, my dear friends, is not included with the EMS patch.
I will freely admit that I was one of these people. I’m not sure why I thought the patch would get me respect I thought I deserved. Possibly because I started in a volunteer organization as an uncertified member, and it seemed the members who were certified held you in very little regard unless you wore the same patch they wore. Once I had that patch, not much changed and the focus became on becoming a Crew Chief for the agency. Then that happened, and still not too much changed.
At the same time I was working my first job at a private company. It was a little rough to start. The whole concept of being told where to go by the dispatcher as opposed to telling them where I was going took a little getting used to. After a few weeks I seemed to get the hang of it. More importantly, I felt that I was getting at least some of the respect I thought I deserved.
I mentioned this to my partner at work, who also happened to volunteer at the same agency I did. He turned to me with a serious look and said, “Over there you act as if you deserve it, over here you’re just you. Stop acting like you deserve it and earn it.”
That was the best advice (and probably the only advice) he ever gave me. I stopped acting as if I was deserving of something and instead treated everyone like I would a patient… or like a customer. This included the police officers, fire fighters, other EMS crews, and the nurses at the hospital.
Fast forward a few years and someone came to me and told me point blank that they wanted to ask my input because they respected my opinion. Guess what they asked? Guess what I said?
Your certification, your patch, or, for that matter, your title do not automatically get you respect. What gets you respect is how you treat others and what you actually do with that certification, patch, or title.
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