I would say the most rewarding part of my internship is the people. This summer, I have had the opportunity to work with many amazing people, with all sorts of skills, talents, and backgrounds. Starting with my crew, we all knew each other from being around the squad for years, but we never really worked the same shift. Coincidentally, this summer, COVID-19 happened, and it sent my squad into a tailspin with staffing changes across the board. Luckily, as it turns out, I ended up working with two amazing people. Throughout the summer and our experiences working together, we all got closer together, to the point where we could run an emergency call on a critical patient without even saying a word to each other. We could take one look at each other and know exactly what needed to be done. It was that sense of closeness where we changed from just being a crew, but partners. Similar to the concept of police having a partner, EMS involves much of the same responsibilities (long hours, with the same people, in extraordinary circumstances), resulting in you getting to know one another. In addition to getting close with your partners in EMS, getting to know the staff at the emergency room is something that I did not expect to yield so many benefits. From making new friends to learning how patients progress, there has been a tremendous amount of knowledge that I have been working with and learning from. By learning about how patients progress, you can learn more advanced clinical knowledge, and use that knowledge in the field to better help your patients in the future.
In addition to my coworkers, it has been an amazing experience getting to know my patients. While most of our patients are a “one-and-done” deal, which is a good thing, some of our patients have complex medical and psychological issues to the effect that we see them more often. The result of this is interesting because we have the ability to treat them more than just a typical patient, we get to know them, and their family, and work with them as someone we are familiar with, rather than a blank slate. This blessing has resulted in several great experiences that remind me exactly why I do what I do.
The most challenging thing this summer has been adapting to a promotion that I recently earned. I was an EMT, a typical member of the EMS crew, but I have been since promoted to the role of Crew Chief. For years, I have been focused on one thing, and one thing only: the patient. Now, I must change that mentality, and take a step back. My role is still to be involved in patient care, as if anything wrong had happened, it would be my responsibility, but also to oversee operations. For most calls, with one patient, this is not too complex a responsibility. However, for complex emergencies such as multi-vehicle car accidents, I have to keep track of traffic, my partners, other agencies on scene, multiple patients, and coordinate with our dispatch center to get the right resources on scene as fast as we can. It is an exciting responsibility, a welcomed one, but it has been quite a transition to be the one who must make the tough decisions. Thankfully, I work with a team I trust, work well with, and they have been invaluable in helping me learn and grow.