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You Must Respect Mah Authoritah!

Over at EMS Blogs, they're having quite the little debate on proper nomenclature for us guys what drive the big white taxi.

Captain Chair Confessions thinks we've got bigger fish to fry than what name we're called, and tells the rest of EMS to get over it.

EMS Outside Agitator thinks our battle for respect from the public and other healthcare professions must necessarily begin with what we allow them to call us. As my girlfriend is fond of saying, "Acceptance is teaching," and EOA*  thinks that acceptance of being called an ambulance driver teaches the public that that is all we are.

And Dr. Evil Medic 51 doesn't really care, he just knows that he didn't go to medical school paramedic school for twelve years two years just to be called Mister Evil an ambulance driver.

I've already made my position on the matter quite clear:

In short, be a professional caregiver, with emphasis on the care.

Believe me, they’ll come to see you as far more than just an ambulance driver.

And if you demonstrate with your medical care that you are indeed a professional worthy of respect, the other medical professionals will treat you that way, regardless of the patch on your shoulder or the number of initials after your name.

If people who should know better still call you an ambulance driver, it is because they choose to remain ignorant or disdainful. Arguing with such assholes only gives them the power to make you look like an asshole, too.

If folks can't grasp that, then I'm quite happy to continue having the most hated blog name in the EMS blogosphere.




*Ed. Note: The man needs a nickname, and EOA just fits: it's old school, shorter to say, and no longer actively used on the field.


Comments - Add Yours

  • Anonymous

    Perhaps we use the term “Ambulance Driver” because of the respect you have engendered.

  • PJ

    On those exceedingly rare occasions that another medical professional refers to “ambulance drivers” (that is, when they’re not deliberately jerking my chain), I simply remind them (politely, and with a therapeutic dose of humor) that they’re using one small part of the job description to describe the job, and that doing so is as accurate as calling a nurse a [butt]wiper (with apologies to CCC), or a doctor a disimpactor, or a politician a glad-handing tax guzzling income redistributor. Do they do these procedures? Sure…and EMTs/paramedics drive ambulances. None* of that encompasses the whole role the way that the title of nurse, doctor or EMT/paramedic does. 

    (*Actually, that description of politicians is pretty complete, now that I think about it.)

  • Bernet5

    Kelly  read my comment on  Outside agitators blog.  I agreed with CCC .:) You on the other hand are awesome, driving or sleeping in the front seat. Who cares what the ignorant, ill or uneducated call you.<3

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  • Anonymous

    Well, you could always change it to Chauffeur… 

  • Cath

    I like “ambulance driver”, I think it helps us stay humble. This is basically what we do; people call us because we have wheels on our bed. It’s a reminder that seldom are we what the patient needs, but we can help him on the way and make it shorter. There are enough emts/paramedics out there who play Superman and see themselves as the only true hero of the health care system.

    • Anonymous

      We’re the special teams of healthcare.

      It’s not our job to score touchdowns. It’s our job to advance the ball (patient) as far as we can, so that the offense(emergency Department) can score touchdowns.
      We only get the glory on the rare occasion we break a long touchdown run, but it doesn’t happen often.
      Doesn’t mean our job isn’t important, though. It’s damned hard to win a game without good special teams play.

      Kelly Grayson

  • T Michael Hast

    So “ambulance driver” is pejorative then?  So, your online handle amounts to a big self-deprecating joke?  No more experience than I have with the medical industry, that one went straight over my head.  LOL!

  • mpatk

    The label isn’t as important IMHO as the context and delivery.

    If a panicked person meets me at a scene and asks, “Are you the ambulance driver?”, I might say, “I’m the medic on the ambulance,” or say, “Yes, where’s the patient and how bad is it?”

    On an IFT, it depends solely on context. Hell, sometimes I introduce myself as the driver, to differentiate from my partner as the attendant in back. For the patient who politely asks if I’m the ambulance driver, I’ll usually clarify that I’m a medic who is driving today. To the jerk who says, “Hey driver, can we speed it up, and don’t forget my suitcase,” I’ll grit my teeth in a smile, say something non-committal, and mutter about the entitlement mentality. Similarly a polite RN might get a gentle correction from me; but the RN who says, “Tell the f***ing driver I’m on break,” will get a different response.

    We as a profession need to be more concerned with whether we ARE professional, and if we’re treated with respect than any specific title.

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  • john.shady

    Says Paramedic in the position title on my paycheck so who cares…

    • Anonymous

      There wouldn’t be anything to care about if the numbers that came after the $ matched the position title. It’s a big part of why I am a former paramedic … I loved the work, but the low pay was a smack across the face. I drive a desk now … some call it “tech support” in a similar pejorative manner as “ambulance driver”. My job duties are far more complex, and often fairly critical (healthcare IT, btw) but at three times the pay, a guaranteed lunch hour, a climate controlled office, no one spitting or bleeding on me, and the worst injury I might incur being carpal tunnel syndrome or a stiff back from sitting in a chair for hours, I can take some “name calling”.

  • pater2five

     Medic! Corpman!    when you need help you yell. When you get help its “Doc”.

  • Coma Toast

    When someone dictates or demands respect from another person, respect is about the only thing they will not receive. Remember people disengage from people, not programs or organisations

  • Crusty Rusty

    We call ‘em all medics; when they bring the patients in, we don’t know who was driving the rig anyway so it don’t matter.

  • Mel Maguire

    I find it humorous that they call us ambulance drivers.  Of course, I don’t find it so funny when I get there to find there’s no real emergency and someone only called 911 because they think ambulance rides to the ER are free (for a bad case of the sniffles), but once those are over even they give me a giggle or two.

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  • Me

    It only matters as to what you see in the mirror at the end of each day.

  • Lalo Angus

    Here’s what I don’t like…..when my patient arrives and I say to the float “my ambulance is here, can you watch my other patients?” and the medic gets all huffy and wants to assure me that he is NOT AN AMBULANCE DRIVER….I am forced to point out that he drove up in one, so……… Also, I don’t care what you want to be called, I want to do patient care. So, to show up in the ER and quibble with me over a title while the patient lays on the gurney is not only unacceptable, it is delaying patient care, unprofessional and makes the medic in question look like an ass. When he pushes further and asks if I would like to be called a nurses aid, he FORCES my wonder twin powers to activate in the form of a completely sarcastic, stereotypical ER nurse, rather than the sweet and endearing, shrinking violet I was before he arrived. 

    • Anonymous

      LOL, I totally agree.

  • Farooq Mamoon

    i too work in an ambulance, before working with the crew i had no idea what they went through, until i joined them , i am a medical doctor, my job description is here , all i want to say is that i have some idea about the crap the hospital staff and doctors make you go trough, the point is not that they call you a driver, the point is after they call you a driver they, begin to treat every thing you say as if a layman would put it, the time you have spent with the patient and all the work you have done becomes pretty much point less if the attending doctor does not give a crap about the treatment, and starts all over again with the patient, after witnessing the crap you go through, hats off to you sir, for still doing your job………….