Paramedics of the class of 99

Wear PPE

If I could offer you only one tip for the future PPE would be it. The benefits of PPE have been proven by various studies, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience.

Enjoy the power and the beauty of your bus. Oh never mind you will not understand the power and beauty of your bus until you get stuck with a 1980’s gas guzzling, backfiring, faded hanger queen that can’t make it up the hill to the patients house. Or a brand new bus with a bunch of "conveniences" that get in the way and always make the bus break down. The first day you get stuck with this one of these you wish you had your old bus back.

Don’t worry about the late job, or worry but knowing that worrying is as effective as trying to tie down a 350lb combative druggie with in tape. The real problem is those calls that never crossed your mind. The kind that blindside you with a supeona at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.

Do one call every day that frightens you.


Don’t be reckless with other peoples busses, don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.

Clean up your equipment.

Don’t waste your time on jealously. Sometimes you get the save, sometimes you kill the patient. The race is long and in the end the reaper wins anyway.

Remember the thanks you get, forget the complaints. If you ever get thanks, tell me how.

Keep your old EKG strips, throw away the bloody 4x4’s.

Stretch (the front seat will give you stiff muscles when you sleep).

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what to do with the patient. Some of the best medics I know have strange cases that don’t fit anything. Some of the worst always do.

Get plenty of sleep. Be kind to you back, your partner will miss you when you throw it out.

Maybe you will get promoted, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll teach, maybe you won’t. Maybe you will go on to be a MD, maybe you will be smart and stay a medic. Your chances are half chance, so are anyone else's.

Enjoy your stethoscope. Use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of the type of what other people think of it. It’s the most useful instrument you will ever own.

Eat, even if you have no place to do it but the cab.

Listen to your partner’s advice even if you don’t follow it. Don’t read salary surveys it will only make you feel even more unappreciated.

Get to know the old timers. You will never know when they will be gone. Be nice to your boss, he is the best link to raises, unless you work for the government.

Understand that partners come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in buses and shifts, because the older you get the more you will need people who knew you when you were sane.

Work in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard.
Work in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.


Accept certain inalienable truths. Patients will die, People will skell out on ya. You too will skell and when you do you will deny it, and claim you have never lost a patient, or skelled out.

Respect your patients.

Don’t expect anyone else to stock your bus. The last crew may have been good, but you never know when they will skell out.

Don’t mess too bad with the bags or when you get to the call you will never find anything.

Be careful whose war stories you buy, but be patient with those who supply them. War stories are a form of nostalgia, telling them a way of fishing old calls from the garbage, wiping them off and making the person seem like a bigger hero than they are worth.

But trust me on the PPE.


Copyright 1999 The Lunatick