First Arriving Network
First Arriving Network

They’re Protocols, Not Suicide Pacts

Brandon Oto over at EMS Basics shares a story where monkey-see monkey-do medicine went wrong.

Go read the whole thing, and then come back.

If you learn nothing else in EMS, learn this: protocols are no substitute for common sense and clinical decision-making.

In fact, they’re often the antithesis of critical thinking and clinical decision making. Protocols, with very few exceptions, are written to keep the dumbest medic in your system from being too dangerous to satisfy a risk manager. They are testament to the fact that your medical director only places limited trust in your knowledge and skills, and the more restrictive they are, the more they say that your medical director thinks you are a barely competent idiot.

And if you apply them blindly, without thinking of why, like the medics in this story, you are indeed a barely competent idiot.

Don’t be that guy. Don’t be a protocol monkey.

Think. Question. Protest. Advocate for more clinical freedom and better protocols. Do your research, and make your argument count.

And if you fail, and you still find yourself in a system built around the lowest common denominator, get the hell out.

Better systems exist. Find some place that challenges you and expects much of you, and work your ass off to be worthy of that trust.

And if you’re satisfied with being a protocol monkey, don’t bitch because you continue to be paid in bananas.

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