Any EMT with more than a month on the streets has worked with that Medic. The one who gives all the others a bad name. The one that sees you as a driver and a janitor, and not much else. There are several names for this Medic, most of which are not considered polite for normal conversation. I call him/her the Paragod. Paragods are the ones that think your title should be “ambulance driver”, your sole purpose is to stock the truck and lift the patient, and when asked a question, fires off a quick “you’re just an EMT, you wouldn’t get it.”
My typical response is something similar to “you’re more than welcome to drive AND treat your patient if you don’t want me here,” which usually gets me a stern talking to from the Commander and another station change. All this being said, what can we do as a collective to “re-educate” the Paragod that we’re more valuable than we’re treated. Before you say “you can’t teach a dumb dog new tricks,” lets think about it. What value IS a basic on an ALS truck, really?
The obvious first response is “driver,” which makes my nuts hurt. But it’s also a valuable part of an ALS team. As I’ve pointed out numerous times, albeit usually to my detriment, one cannot treat a patient and drive a bus at the same time. The other obvious response is “manual laborer,” i.e., the one who works with his back while the Paragod works with his brain. This one gives me a testicular twinge as well, but like it’s predecessor, is also a necessary part of the team.
Keep in mind, even though the focus of this post is the Paragod, I have worked with some AWESOME Medics that I would follow into the bowels of hell with a smile on my face. What I’ve noticed about these Medics is that they consider you a valuable part of the team, and express the sentiment. One Medic in particular, which I regularly refer to as my Mentor, has a favorite saying: “We’re partners. You go, we go.” This goes a LONG way when you’re spending 24 hours together in close quarters and environments that are less than ideal.
So how do we get the Paragod to accept us as a “partner,” instead of a “flunky?” Suggestions, anyone?