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EMS Education Tips

Everyday EMS
by Greg Friese

Pre-Work Tips for New EMS Professionals

About 30 minutes into my 60-minute commute to my part-time paramedic job, I realized I had put on black dress pants (wrinkle-free cotton Dockers) instead of my black uniform pants. It was too late to turn around. Fortunately, I was wearing my white uniform shirt and not a generic white dress shirt. When I arrived at work, I confessed my uniform error to the first person I saw. I decided it was better to own my mistake instead of waiting for others to notice. What could have led to a reprimand for a uniform discrepancy became a humorous foible.

My slip-up reminded me to return to a basic set of work preparation tips that are as applicable for a veteran EMS professional as they are to a new EMT or paramedic.

1. Own your mistakes. You will rarely make an error without it being noticed. Report errors and mistakes promptly to the appropriate person — partner, patient, receiving nurse, and/or supervisor.

2. Create and follow a preparation routine for every shift. I need to lay out all of my uniform components the night before work so I am not grabbing the wrong pants or mismatched socks at 0530.

3. Sleep and eat well before work. My patients and partner are counting on me to be at my best. I strive for at least eight hours of sleep the night before any shift. I will also wake up early enough for a bowl of cereal before my commute.

What do you do to get ready for work so you are mentally and physically at your best?

About the author

Greg Friese is Editor-in-Chief of He is an educator, author, paramedic, and marathon runner. Ask questions or submit tip ideas to Greg by e-mailing him at
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