A great EMS burnout tip from my father

A good attitude and proper mental health is important not only for yourself, but also for your colleagues and patients

"Dad, what did you do at work today?" I asked benignly at dinner.

"I quit my job and we are starting a business in the basement tomorrow," he replied. 

That was the beginning of my afternoon and weekend apprenticeship in furniture delivery. For the next 35 years, my dad, Tom Friese, was the owner and operator of a successful interior design and home furnishings company.

Attitude adjustment opportunity

One afternoon during my sophomore year of high school, I decided I had better things to do than help deliver furniture. As we left our house, I complained sarcastically and incessantly about how furniture delivery was cramping my style and interfering with my after-school routine – snacks and TV.

We were about two miles from our house when my dad pulled over suddenly, looked me square in the eye, and sternly said, "Get out! And get out now!"

The long walk home gave me the opportunity to readjust my attitude. To this day, I would drop almost anything to spend an afternoon delivering furniture with my dad.

If you feel stuck in EMS or burnt out, or want a change, follow my dad’s sage advice: step away to readjust your attitude.

If you want to be part of EMS, we want you and need you.

If you are experiencing burnout, know that burnout is curable

If you don’t want to be part of EMS, the best thing for you, your patients and your co-workers is to, "Get out! And get out now!"

This article, originally published June 27, 2009, has been updated

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