Remember Why You Started.

Remember why you started?

Thanks to DT4EMS’ EVE, I have met thousands of nurses, medics, and EMTs all across the country. At the start of every EVE class, during introductions, I shake each attendee’s hand, thank them for coming, and ask, “What got you started?”

I may joke and say I got into EMS originally because Rush already had a drummer… but the truth is- my father was electrocuted when I was 13. I am the one who dialed 911. I was so scared, overwhelmed, and powerless… I didn’t know what to do.
The crew helped my father, and helped me too. One took a moment, a single moment in time to place his hand on my shoulder, and told me they were going to take care of my dad.

As with you, and your reason, none of us knew that moment would shape my destiny.
While each person’s answer to my question is unique, it still follows a common path: They gave a shit. Not about money, but about making a positive difference in the world of a person… one call at a time.Social media is ripe with those in medicine spewing vitriolic phrases and attitudes toward the various disciplines they belong to.

Any discussion starting out with genuine information-seeking questions regarding the use-of-force, quickly degenerate into hate filled verbiage directed first at the supposed patient, to the patient’s family, bystanders and eventually toward the employer, and even the person asking the question. Further discussion turns into how everyone hates ED nurses and EMS, and how it is everyone else’s fault a combative patient exists.
My original reasoning for asking the question was to use the answers received to turn the focus of the jaded attitude back to the real world.
If while presenting a scenario a person in the class piped up with “Whack’ em with an O2 bottle.” or when a person bragged about how many drunks they had used force on came up… I would abruptly ask, “So, you got into this because you like to fight?” Before I even let them finish I would make reference to how their desire to use force may be better suited for a profession as a fighter, soldier, or police officer.Interestingly, not a single person at the start of a class, EVER claimed they joined EMS, or nursing to hurt, or injure people. Furthermore, those I have met, who could destroy me in a “fight” are never the ones spewing hate. It is quite the opposite.

Look, I created DT4EMS because I knew healthcare needed real self-defense. I was appalled at how the de-escalation, talk-only, feel-good, fail-in-application crap was being forced down the throats of front line staff. The have a plan to kill everyone, jaded attitude, must be tempered with the ability to be humble, caring and NEUTRAL, while on the job. Medicine is unique regarding the use-of-force upon another. It is a high-liability, high-risk subject that must be addressed properly. Allowing hip-pocket, water -cooler-trash-talk be the self-defense teacher… well, we see how that has turned out.

So, the next time you hear someone brag about how many fights they have been in, how they have an abundance of combative patients, how EMTs and nurses should be learning how to kill a man in three moves…Consider if that is why they started to begin with?
Thing is, I get it. I’ve been there. Becoming disenchanted with how one was/is treated… Not only by supposed patients, but their family, bystanders and even employers and peers…

One thing I found that helps… remembering what got me started…