Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Good Days, Bad Days

You finish a big project.

You close a big deal.

You build a house.

You paint it.

You sell a new product.

You use your skills, knowledge and training, and put them to good use.

In short -

You've had a good day at work.
But what does that mean if you're in EMS? How do you have a good day at work? My friends and family alike struggle with the concept that for me to have a good day at work, someone, somewhere, has to be having possibly one of their worst. As I was writing this post, someone I follow on Twitter posted a very similar update. "Today was unfortunately a very good day", is how it ended. Good, yet unfortunate.
How do I explain that I don't want people to have a bad day?

How do I explain that I don't want people to be seriously ill?

How do I explain that I don't wish a life-threatening injury on anybody?
But then, there's the "on the other hand":

I want to have a good day at work.

I want to put my training to good use.

I want to feel that my journey to and from work was worthwhile.
It's a conflict of interests. A conflict of emotions. A conflict of reasoning.
The best way to sum it all up? I don't want you to be sick or injured, but it happens.

And when it does, I want to be the one there to help.

That way, hopefully, we can both look back on a good day, even if, at least for you, it started off badly.


Pie said...

Oh I hate that! It's so tricky! Because if you say it was great because you were pushed to limit of your training and you felt the adrenaline of emergency health care they think you're a bad person because you "got off" on someone else's misfortune! And it's not like that. Not at all. But it is nice to see people that NEED and ambulance not those that WANT one. It's nice to feel like you were needed. It feels good to have made a difference.

That's how I explain it though - I don't want anyone to get hurt or get ill...but if they do?? I'd like to be the one that's there when it happens.

People outside health care don't get it. And I don't think they ever will!

Anonymous said...

I used to work with a lot of diplomats. If you asked them how business was and they responded with the word 'busy' it meant things were bad, there were problems and crises for them to sort out. 'Quiet' was good in their world.

It seems to me that it is the same in your line of work.

Yellow Boy

Michael Morse said...

Nothing worse than wishing for things to get busy. And then they do.

Anonymous said...

I recently saw a t-shirt advertised on a services kit website, the logo on it said:

"TRAUMA JUNKIE, it's not that I want you to be seriously injured, I just want to be there when you are"

Tom said...

It took several years for me to fully appreciate your point, but in the end I reasoned that the patient and I both had a good day as a result of our (emergency services) intervention.

Whenever you see blue lights and here a siren, it is because some poor bugger is having a really bad day, and other 'buggers' are rushing to rectify this.


dcj said...

The deal of working in healthcare is would would wish yourself to be unemployed. The reality of working in healthcare is that you can go anywhere in the world and you'll never be unemployed.

If your going to have your skills and knowledge its great to use them to best of your ability with the people who need it, when they need it most.

It's not wishing bad luck on others. It's using knowledge and skill to care for others, when bad things do happen. I think that makes a bad day better for all, if you weren't there.. thats a bad day all round.

Tom said...


You hit the nail on the head.

ps I meant to say hear and not here.

DisasterCh1ck said...

As a disaster responder & emergency manager, I describe it as "struggling with the karmic implications of loving my job."

Love your blog.

PAul said...

The same as I wish to the marshalls at the races where I drive, I hope you have a quiet day, but if it gets busy, I hope you have a good day.

the-dark-fyre said...

Working in a late-night vet hospital I totally understand what you mean - it's horrible that some of these things happen but it's good that we are there when they do and can do SOMETHING at least.

oneunder said...

It is strange that, in an ideal world, we would be out of work.
As this world is not perfect it is good that there are people out there willing to do this type of work.

There is nothing wrong with taking pride in doing your job well and using your skills to their fullest extent.

That said, I do love it when everything comes together on a difficult job, it's just a shame that the patient needed us in the first place.

Green Girl said...

A good day, for me, is to not see a patient! That, I would assume, would also be a good day for the public because it means they don't need me.

By that guide, that means I've never had a "good day" at work!

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with several of the above comments - when eventing (as a first aider, paired with someone with PreHospital Emergency Care) we want injuries to get experience on how to deal with them...but we don't want people to get hurt...
As a USAR responder I want to respond to things to reinforce my training in a real world situation - its a bit hard to mimic an earthquake. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to deploy when my team went to Christchurch and I can't deploy without them as I'm missing two unit standards - just one of many waiting for a one weekend course!

Anonymous said...

Everyone has to have bad days. In order for life to be the bittersweet joy that it is, thats a fact. All i do, is hope that when people are having those days, that i can be the sweetness in the bitter.