Motivations for serving on an Emergency Medical Service vary from person to person yet not a single one fails to mention their desire to help others. That response may seem archetypal yet is the prime motivator for those to serve in this capacity. That desire to serve or to help must always be in the forefront whether in treating a patient or in dealing with members or the public. To be truly dedicated to that desire – one has to live it.
Consider this. Your actions, your mannerisms, your attitude and your speech all affect one’s impression of you. An EMS provider’s behaviors can positively or negatively impact a patient’s outcome, a family member’s impression or an observer’s reaction. Don’t believe it? Reflect on the times you received both positive and negative customer service. Chances are one will continue to conduct business where a positive interaction occurred. In the case of a negative experience, one will not only avoid further interaction but will likely speak to many others about the negative experience and maintain that opinion for a longer time than a positive opinion.
Perhaps Emergency Medical Service is the wrong terminology for what we do. While true that emergencies constitute a part of the total responses, many responses are non-emergencies where a patient needs to be assessed for a minor injury or illness or where a lonely person simply needs company. Would provider behaviors impact these experiences? Absolutely! We, as providers, must never become complacent – even though the call may appear “routine” or “minor.” Remember, it is likely the patient’s first contact with EMS and they are rightfully scared and concerned about themselves, their family and their friends.
In the next edition, we’ll examine the changes that are rapidly coming to EMS and the impacts they will have.