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Job Satisfaction Is Where You Find It

I’ve been in EMS 21 years.

I’ve paced, cardioverted, defibrillated, needled chests, intubated, birthed babies, given countless drugs, plugged bullet and knife wounds, pulled scores of people from the wreckage of cars, and stood over a score of dead bodies nobody could have saved.

And a handful of times, I’ve even been privileged to actually accomplish the big recruiting pitch of our profession: I’ve actually saved lives.

Yet those instances come few and far between, and are mainly due to luck and good timing anyway.

But one of the most rewarding aspects of my job is the one I experienced just a few minutes ago, and one that, had I been told this before I signed up for that EMT class 21 years ago, probably would have made me choose another career path.

Tonight, at oh-my-god-thirty in the morning, I had a pleasant conversation reassuring a lonely and fearful little old lady.

There wasn’t a damned thing wrong with her. She didn’t need anything more than a reassuring smile and the assurance that someone would come when called, no matter what.

And that conversation was neither a waste of my time nor my talents.

If you don’t understand that, you probably haven’t been in EMS for many years.

And if you don’t learn to understand that, you never will be.




Comments - Add Yours

  • Chad

    You’re a good man, Kelly

  • Old_NFO

    Sometimes it really IS the littlest things…

  • ThatOneEMT

    Reading this blog gives me hope I won’t turn into one of the grumpy, burnt out EMTs I work with. I appreciate posts like this.

  • Cath

    Every time I think “am I the only one not saving lives every day?”, I remind myself of your, and a few of my older collegues’, words that it very rarely happens. And when it does, is often down to luck or, as you say, timing. We’d do well in remembering that people don’t call us because of our awsomeness, but because we can get them to a doctor, and make the trip there a little easier. That’s good enough for me :-)

  • Dave H

    Cath, you may not be saving lives every day, but you and your colleagues make every one of us potential clients breathe easier and go about our lives with a little bit less stress knowing you’re willing to try. Thank you, Kelly, and all the rest who show up when we need you.

  • Matt G

    Like EMS, in copwork it happens the same way. We rarely capture the bad guys in the progress of harming someone. We go on lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of “Prowler” calls with no one there. We go on lots of “Suspicious Activity” calls where it was a strange sound that was caused by the house settling, or the wind. I do lots of close patrols for people that don’t feel safe.
    And they always apologize to me for calling me, and I always tell them: This is the most important call of my day. There is literally nothing that I would rather do, than to confirm the safety of one of my citizens. If you’re scared, call us. If you don’t know whether you should call us, call us. If you’re not sure whether or not to use 911, dial 911.. Let us sort that out. It’s what we do. It is our proud duty.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to my Training Division EMT course. Someone, er, inspired me or something.

  • Wandering Neurons

    Nothing like bringing an elderly patient back from hypoglycemia, and then taking a few minutes in their kitchen heating up a can of soup or making a peanut butter sandwich, to keep them company until a family member gets there.
    AD, you’re just a big softie… And I mean it in the best way.

  • Shelly Friday

    And that sir, is why you are the best of the best.

  • Jennifer Mulhausen

    As one whose life literally was saved twice in the space of a month because of the care received from EMS, I will say that I don’t care how many “nothing” calls those medics have been on – when they were on MY calls, they knew their stuff and I am here because of it. I imagine you have a lot in common with them.

  • John D.

    Working the only BLS overnight car in one of the busier towns in our state, I have the opportunity to do a lot of these ‘wellness checks’ or ‘sick calls’. The thing that really gets me is the opportunity to really HELP someone. Clinically, I believe that a lot of the low intensity calls for the elderly are equally as important as the fall traumas or diff breathers. Especially those who are alone. I haven’t been doing this as long as most on here I’m sure, but I can say the chance to make tangible differences are fewer than most outside this business can imagine. Great story and thanks for the reminder to treat them all equally, regardless of the hour.