Tuesday, 9 February 2010

The Curse

The curse is well known. You can be busy as anything for days before, then on the day itself, nothing happens. Closely followed by something happening, but it'll be very mundane, dull, even boring. It is the Curse of the Observer. I've had many observers out with me over the past few years, some on a Vanbulance, and some on the Carbulance, but the vast majority have been the same. Cursed. Not every shift with an observer is so, but it does seem to be more often than not.

In fact, just as an illustration, I once had a very eager young lady join me for a shift. She worked for one of the big medical supplies companies, and had travelled from overseas, sent by her bosses, to see first hand how one of their new pieces of kit worked out on the front line. I was one of six people in London trialling it. She spent eight of the twelve hours of my shift hours with me and we did nothing. I mean nothing. We didn't see a single patient for the whole eight hours. Later that afternoon she had a flight to catch, so I dropped her off at a train station, and off she went. Moments later I was called to a hanging, and she missed exactly what it was she had come to see. I also had another few calls before the end of the shift, all of which requiring proper intervention. She missed them all. See what I mean? Cursed.

Having an observer has its positives too. It gives me the chance to learn from these people. Often they are medical students, nurses, or doctors. All cleverer than me, and will instantly fall into the trap of being asked a million questions about one of the many things I don't know or understand.

More importantly, however, is that it gives me the chance to show off. Not necessarily my skills per se, but to show off the world of Prehospital Emergency Medicine. To show how far the Ambulance Service has come in the last few years. To show how we are able to deal with situations that even the best doctor would find challenging. To show off what happens before the patient arrives in the hospital and is presented packaged, 4 foot high, and horizontal. And I love doing it.

Now, whereas I do my little bit in this promotion of EMS to the non-ambulance world, there are those out there who have gone above and beyond the call of duty, and have started a small revolution. This weekend coming, is the premiere of a production called the "Chronicles of EMS". What started as a trans-Atlantic, glorified shift swap between two of my fellow bloggers, 999Medic from England, and HappyMedic in San Francisco, has turned into a huge project that promises to try to change the Ambulance world forever. The initial idea of sharing and swapping thoughts and working practises between two people, has now got thousands involved through all sorts of media, social and otherwise.

The whole concept has taken off in ways that no-one had envisaged. It'll give us all a chance to pool ideas and ideals, to highlight what separates us and, more importantly what we share, and to make us all think about how we can go about improving what we do, as well as how we do it.

So as I go on entertaining observers and their curse, really and truly, I should count myself lucky. More than that. I'm not really cursed at all. In fact, I'm anything but.


medic999 said...

Thanks for the support my friend!

The great thing about the Chronicles though, is that it really and truly does belong to the world of EMS.

Through social media, everyone can have their input and everyone can see the benefits of what the CoEMS team are trying to do.

This weekend is going to be the biggest and best event I have ever been involved in.

I cant wait!!

jeramedic said...

Ahh the curse. I personally love having students and observers or (Ride-a-Longs as they are called on this side of the Atlantic) Even if shift is slow, we still make the best of it.

As for CoEMS, I will be there with Triple 9 and Happy. It will be an incredible evening. And what will follow will be amazing.

Ambulance Amateur said...

Ah, the Curse. As a CFR, I'm expected to do a shift or two a year as an observer. ("We don't have observers on this vehicle; you're part of the crew.")

Yeah, and then nothing happens except for a few nonsense calls that just need reassurance. (I'm not saying that the patients are nonsense, just that they don't need an emergency ambulance. Still, who else would come?)

New Years Eve 08/09 I was riding with a CP in the FRV. We had five calls all night! I get that many as a CFR on a Sunday.