Trending Topics

How to tell if your EMS partner is a jerk

Good partners are a no-brainer; when things aren’t going so well, it can be a bit tricky to figure out the cause

By Sean Eddy

Throughout my years in EMS, I have found that partners are what make or break your shift. They are literally the one thing that can single-handedly turn a good day bad, or a bad day good. They are the glue that holds together your sanity.

Good partners are a no-brainer. When it’s good, you know it. Calls flow well, you laugh together, you complain about the same things, you match each other‘s work ethic (or laziness), and you easily agree on what to eat (extremely important). When things aren’t going so well, it can be a bit tricky to figure out the cause. Are you just having a bad day? Is your partner a jerk? Or are you the jerk?

Here’s a little flowchart I created to help with assessing your partner situation. If you still need help, keep reading. I’ll break it down even further.

EMS jerk flowchart

Here are some example scenarios with conclusions:

1) You have to start off descriptions of your partner with phrases like “He’s a good guy, but…” or “Once you get to know her...”

There is no skating around this one. Your partner is a jerk and you’re just trying to convince yourself along with the rest of the world that you don’t spend a third of your life in absolute misery. Nice people aren’t that hard to figure out.

Conclusion: Your partner is a jerk.

2) You can’t seem to keep a steady partner

Every time shift bids come open, your partner jumps to a different shift and you can‘t figure out why. You might make up excuses like, “I‘m particular about how I run my calls” or “I just have high expectations.” The truth is, you’re just difficult to work with. The only reason you keep getting stuck with new people is because anyone with more than five minutes of seniority has already figured out that your shift sucks and they avoid you at all costs.

Conclusion: You’re a jerk.

3) It’s nearly impossible for you to get your days off covered

Everyone else seems to have no issue doing shift-trades or getting days off. You, on the other hand, get responses like, “Ummmm, no thanks” or “LOL, you’re joking right?” when you text around looking for coverage. This is because your partner is absolutely miserable to work with and the only reason anyone would consider working in your place is because they are really hard up for money, all the other open shifts are taken, and McDonald’s turned down their application for part-time work.

Conclusion: Your partner is a jerk

4) Your partner seems absolutely miserable

Let’s be real here ... it’s 3am and your partner is 5 charts behind with sleep being nothing but a pipe dream at this point. You haven’t stopped talking since you logged on, your driving was so bad that he hit his head twice while transporting to the hospital, and you said something stupid to the nursing staff, which resulted in a complaint. Give the poor guy a break, he’s using every ounce of self control to not beat you unconscious with an oxygen tank.

Conclusion: You’re annoying AND you’re a jerk.

5) You’re a supervisor

Sure, there are “good” and “bad” supervisors, but they all have one thing in common: No soul. That’s because you traded it in for your white shirt and your pay raise. You’re now known as “the man” and you exist only to appease the people who are so far disconnected from the field that they have to be reminded that we no longer run funeral home calls. You’re now one of “them” and all you do is try to take down the little man. Jerk.

Conclusion: You’re a jerk until we need something from you. At that point, we will love you and think you’re the greatest thing to walk the floor of the ambulance bay. Then you’re a jerk again.

Uniform Stories features a variety of contributors. These sources are experts and educators within their profession. Uniform Stories covers an array of subjects like field stories, entertaining anecdotes, and expert opinions.