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How to kill a new paramedic

All steps must be closely followed to ensure success; let's start at the beginning

By Michael Morse

By starting early we have the ability to crush their confidence, destroy their self-esteem and make them feel worthless. But killing a new medic is a process.

All steps must be closely followed to ensure success. Let‘s start at the beginning.



EMS humor, you're an idiot

Gather a bunch of idealistic people whose dreams included putting on a uniform and doing something that matters. Teach them everything they need to know about how to save a life and treat the injured. Spend hours, weeks and months teaching things they will see in the field, and make sure they can diagnose every irregular heart rhythm that has ever pounded a beat.

Teach them pharmacology, test them, make sure they have memorized everything that will ever happen to the human body, and how to fix it. Make sure that they will have brains full of knowledge that they will forget long before ever being presented with the learned maladies, if ever.

Spend as little time as possible on human relations, psychological disorders and substance abuse; those things will only make up 95 percent of their call volume anyway.


Let them know the second that they arrive for their first shift that they are morons. Tell them to forget everything they have learned in medic school. Hand them a broom and have them sweep the bay.

Be certain that your own shoes are unlaced, scuffed and dirty — a real medic's shoes. Don't tuck in your shirt, eat a burrito for breakfast and wait for the first call, after the newbie washes the truck that is.

Don't bother going over your vehicle, the drug box and all of the equipment; the newbie just got out of school and should already know what you know about that stuff anyway.


Let them drive if they must, but NEVER let them use their own mind. Tell them which way to go, how fast, how slow and where to stop. Grumble about the idiots that don‘t get out of your way, have them drive aggressively, using the sirens, airhorns and expletives at will. Bang the dash when appropriate-and it‘s always appropriate.

Patient Care

EMS humor, nursing home

Have them follow your lead. The first and most important thing to teach them is that the patients need you, you do not need them. If you have responded to a nursing home degrade the nursing staff, snicker, sneer and act like an ass.

Question everything that the nursing home staff did or did not do. Assume that you know the patient's needs better than they do. After all, you are the medics, and they only spend twenty-four hours a day with their residents, know them, care for them, and actually love them.

When responding to a private residence ask important questions; Why did you call? Where is your car? Where are your shoes? Why are we even here?

Contempt for the patient must be shown at all times, unless the patient is actually dying, but that hardly ever happens.

When the patient IS actually dying

NEVER let the newbie do anything but watch the master. Start your own IV‘s, draw your own meds, diagnose and treat as your fan club of one sits idle. Let him or her take vitals and let them know that they botched even that up. Re-check, making sure they are done correctly.

Do not let the newbie interact with the patient. Allow him or her to drive to the ER after spending at least half an hour on scene doing things that should have been done in a sterile, properly staffed and well lit trauma room, with doctors and nurses aplenty.


Brief the newbie on emergency room protocol before arrival. Make sure that he knows that above all else it is imperative that the people receiving the patient know how smart you are, and witty and handsome.

It‘s showtime, and proper time must be spent proving how important EMS is. Make sure your report is complicated, detailed and full of information that will exonerate you and your service should any legal action be taken due to your negligence. It's all about covering your ass, and be absolutely certain that the newbie knows this above all else.


Avoiding work is priority number 1. Teach the newbie how to stay out of service for as long as possible. Let the other crews handle your calls when you should have cleared. Teach them how to play the game.

Let them know that above all else, it's all about you, and everything else is secondary.

End of Shift

EMS humor, drinking after shift

Your work is almost done. Take off your un-tucked uniform shirt, exposing your clever little “I get paid to save your ass, not kiss it” T-shirt. Dodge the shift change call for chest pains because it‘s probably bullshit anyway. Tell your new partner that his performance was pathetic and you will be requesting a transfer in the morning.

You have taken the first steps toward killing a medic.

Repeat these steps every shift until your new partner is as jaded as you. Finish your shift by going to the bar instead of going home to your families. There you can commiserate about the idiots, the system, the stress and the low pay all night as you fall deeper into disillusionment together.

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