Celebrate EMS Week with even more EMS Superlatives
Who are the coffee fiends, tech junkies and bathroom radar detectors in your EMS agency?
National EMS Week is a designated time to to educate and inform the public and lawmakers about what happens in EMS, as well as to advocate for the profession and the EMTs and paramedics who are on the front lines, improving the health, safety and wellbeing of the citizens in their communities.
This May, EMS1 celebrates the dedication of EMS providers and their public safety allies by providing resources for improving mental and physical health and workplace conditions, to help providers stay resilient and well while caring for others. Happy EMS Week from all of us at EMS1!
Well, EMS Week is once again upon us, folks. Everybody has fresh new pens with our company logo on them (night shift had to steal theirs from the Emergency Department), and your supervisor just dropped off that Star of Life cookie cake at your station (with only one slice missing, because supervisors need love and diabetes, too), and your annual awards banquet beckons.
For that awards banquet, here are 2019’s EMS Superlatives, the tongue-in-cheek awards for those coworkers you know and love.
The Dead Sea Award
Given to those medics so salty, nobody else can live for long on their truck. They’ve been known to intimidate cops, nurses and doctors alike, they’ve made EMT students cry, and malingerers answer the door when they knock and decide that they’re well enough to make their court date or IRS audit after all.
The Mister Goodwrench Award
Awarded by the mechanics to those medics who are walking mechanical entropy. They change trucks twice a shift, and they know everybody in the fleet maintenance department on a first-name basis. They can generate an engine warning light just by adjusting the mirrors, and their partners have learned to keep the monitor, first-in bag, suction unit and drug bag strapped to the stretcher – not for emergency calls, but because it’s much easier to just roll your stretcher into the next spare truck.
The Blue Screen of Death Award
For those medics who emits a weird electromagnetic field that causes all electronics to die when they touch them. They tell new medics tales like, “In the good old days, we did our reports on paper, and you stuck your monitor strips to a sheet of gummed paper, but you made a Xerox of it first because the strips would fade to blank in a few years, and if you made a correction to a narrative you had to draw a single line through it and initial it, and only in blue or black ink ... and by God, we were grateful.”
Watching them laboriously complete an ePCR is like watching a caveman discover fire: lots of inarticulate hoots and screeches ... followed by awe and wonder.
The Go Go Gadget Award
For that medic who is up on all the newest technology. He’s clinically astute and a stellar medic, and other medics bring him weird EKG strips to interpret. But he uses acronyms like REBOA and TXA in your community stop the Bleed class, and your operations manager and medical director let all his calls go directly to voicemail, because they’re still trying to figure out how to tell him that video laryngoscopes, point-of-care ultrasound, iStats, and everything else he wants just ain’t in the budget this year.
The ‘I’m Ready for My Closeup, Mr. Demille’ Award
For those crewmembers who already drive as if they have an overfilled cup of scalding hot coffee sitting on their lap, but guiltily look up at the drive cam every 30 seconds. They harbor a deep suspicion that management has secretly enabled the audio recording feature in the drive cam system, and tell their partner, “Ixnay on the itching-bay,” whenever they complain about dispatchers or management, while casting meaningful glances at the in-cab camera.
The Unofficial Bathroom Inspector Award
For that medic whose transitional epithelium is triggered by the sound of pager tones. They have the bladder capacity of a shot glass, and their post-call ritual is unbending: deglove, wash hands, urinate, wash hands again, put hand on bathroom door ... time to urinate again. They have a rating system for cleanest restrooms of all your posting locations, and you’ve heard them ask the nursing staff for a Depends for long distance transfers ... and it’s not for the patient.
The Tetris Award
Given to that medic who rearranges the truck at the start of every shift. They have multiple IV start kits stashed strategically throughout the truck, cardiac monitor electrodes stuck behind every backrest, and every railing festooned with IV tourniquets. If you ever run out of nitro, aspirin, albuterol, or glucometer strips, just steal one from their truck, because they’ve got one of each stashed in every nook and cranny of the patient module.
The Alexander Fleming Award
For that guy who is always growing penicillin on something in your station refrigerator. He can eat leftover meatloaf from 2013, because he has the digestive system of a goat. His shelf in the station fridge is crowded with three Gatorades – all opened and half full – a half-eaten McDonald’s Quarter Pounder, two containers of yogurt, a half-eaten carton of lo mein noodles from the local Chinese restaurant that closed last month ... and something on a Saran-wrapped plate that could be either meatloaf or tissue samples from a cirrhotic liver, you can’t tell which.
The Coffee Radar Award
For that medic who can locate a fresh cup of coffee at any emergency department. She knows where they keep the extra filters and coffee at all your local hospitals, and she can drop off a patient in an ICU 200 miles from home, disappear momentarily and reappear with a fresh cup of coffee the nursing staff didn’t even know they had. Her left hand is permanently curled in the diameter of a small Styrofoam cup.
The Beetlejuice Award
For that emergency communicator you always have to call three times before he acknowledges your radio traffic. You strongly suspect he makes posting assignments by using the Magic 8 Ball, and the two most common phrases in his vocabulary are “Stand by” and “Uh ... unit calling?”
The Doc Holliday Award for longest posting assignments
Remember that scene in “Tombstone,” where Doc, Wyatt, Virgil and Morgan all catch up on old times, while poor Johnny Tyler waits patiently to shoot Wyatt with that shotgun? After they’re done with their conversation, Doc says dismissively, “Why Johnny, I forgot you were there. You may go now.”
That’s what it feels like when you message the Doc Holliday dispatcher after three hours at post, and immediately get assigned back to your station.
Send us a photo with your Superlative honorees at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was originally posted May 20, 2019. It has been updated.