The phrase, "If he can do it, so can I" never held much meaning for me growing up.
In my house, it didn't matter if the whole neighbourhood was doing something; if mom didn't approve, you weren't doing it. End of story. So it wasn't until I found myself in the back of ambulance, listening to the conversation with our patient, that the impact of those words hit me.
I was watching the rookie busily scribble on the tablet after glancing at the monitor. He made casual conversation with the young man on the cot, and I watched with quiet interest. Everything he was doing, I could do.
The thought knocked me back in my seat. Surely there was something he'd done that I wasn't capable of doing. I looked around, but came up empty.
With no immediate crisis to warrant a higher skill set, he performed very few interventions; perfunctory vital signs even I could do. His skills lied in the off-hand questions and the easy silence.
I'd heard that working in EMS took people skills. It's cliche with good reason. Frankly, because it's true. And I'll be the first to admit it's a struggle sometimes. But it wasn't weird. It wasn't forced. He simply asked questions, and nodded his head at the answers. Besides the fact that our patient was suicidal, it wasn't anything out of the ordinary.
Not yet out of EMT school, those words opened a new door for me. Everything he was doing, I could do. No higher education or years of experience stood between me and the young medic in front of me. He was working with knowledge that I possessed, and skills that I was learning.
Somehow, seeing this exchange take place, I realized for the first time how close I was to stepping into those shoes. To treat people, and not just patients; because every person that occupies that cot has a story beyond their chief complaint. To walk with confidence, speak with authority, and reassure with sincerity. They are shoes that I've wanted to fill for so long, and they were finally within my grasp. My heart beat a little faster, and a smile crept onto my lips. This wasn't who I was going to be, this was who I was.
I have a feeling the back of an ambulance holds many more lessons for me. As I await the National Registry test, I'm already learning patience. (That's a virtue, right? ;)
Under 18 and testing? I wish you luck!
Until next post, I'll be trying to contact the folks over at the NREMT, and let them know I exist. And want to take their test.
'Cause that's how you become a REAL EMT. Or so I'm told.