I recently started my new job at the Children’s Hospital and I start work at the rural ambulance service in about a week. I knew that I was in for a change from big-city ambulance work, but I had no idea how big of a change that was going to be. I have never worked in a hospital setting before, so needless to say, I feel a bit overwhelmed.
Working in a single-medic ambulance setting is relatively simple. The paramedic is pretty much responsible for everything that happens to that patient from the time he / she arrives to the time the nurse signs the PCR. If something goes wrong, the higher-ups go straight to the paramedic for answers. One person handles the majority of the patient care, does all of the documentation and is responsible for giving report at the hospital. It’s a lot of work, but it makes “covering your ass” much easier.
I am beginning to see that the hospital setting is much more complex. It’s almost like a giant puzzle and everyone from housekeeping to the trauma surgeons play an important roll in making sure all the pieces go together right. My roll as a paramedic has completely changed from the pre-hospital setting that I was used to, but that’s not a bad thing. For the first time, I’m truly getting to see the long-term effects of treatment and how our interventions in the field affect the final outcome of the patient. I’m still using my skills as a paramedic but I’m no longer just treating patients for the first 15 minutes of their emergency.
I’m really fortunate to be in the position that I am. I work for a hospital that really values and respects their paramedics. I’m not in some pecking order and I’m not getting dumped on by nurses and doctors. All of the staff in the ER are very friendly, respectful and willing to help and answer questions. The mutual respect among all the healthcare providers is something I haven’t seen in a long time.
During my first few weeks I learned some valuable lessons about life inside the ER:
- Being on your feet for 12 hours is rough. Good comfortable shoes are a must.
- There is no acceptable explanation for long waiting times. People are just going to be mad.
- Having a Starbucks inside the hospital is best and worst thing to have at a place of employment.
- Heat? What heat? Air conditioning is my friend.