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Posts from March 2015

The EMS Provider's Open Letter to Future Patients

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"I don’t know you today. But then again, in a way, I do.  For many of you, our encounter will be on the worst day of your life. For some of you, it will be on the last day of your life. For others of you, I will function as a glorified taxi driver as I merely transport you from here to there. And most of you will fall somewhere in between. You will challenge me. You will scare me. You will inspire me. You will crack me up.

 

As I anticipate my EMS career stretched out before me, I imagine all the people who will cross my path and profoundly affect me - the victims of violent crimes, the innocent children living in squalor, the brave patients living with chronic illness and chronic pain, the already dead, and the family members left behind in shock and sorrow. I have considered this carefully and I have made a few decisions about how I will conduct myself while on the job. I want to share those decisions with you.

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Some of you will yell at me and even threaten me. Some of you will be stone cold sober, but scared to death and you will lash out at me in anger. That’s OK. Your anger is just your fear, expressed. I understand that. Some of you will be all but lost under layers of intoxication or the delusions of mental illness. I will try to remember that you are still in there somewhere. I will try to remember that this angry presentation is not the Truth of who you are, but just the behavioral manifestation of a broken brain. Most people are not evil; they are just flawed.

 

I will meet many of you in your homes, without the benefit of a quick straightening up, as is customary before the arrival of expected company. You will not have had a chance to bathe or change your clothes. You might feel 94474457
embarrassed about your home, your body, or your predicament. Don’t worry. I will not judge you. And if I do judge you, I will at least hide my judgments behind compassionate eyes and a reassuring smile…and an inner resolve to judge less the next time.

 

I eagerly give you all of my medical knowledge. Indeed, the reason I got it in the first place was to give it to you. I give you my best judgment and my highest standard of ethics and professionalism.

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I will let you touch me. What I mean is that I will allow my heart to be open to experiencing my feelings. I will not close off my heart to you; I have decided not to be a calculated technician. I will gladly lend you some of my heart as I tend to you and treat you with compassion. I bring to you all of me. And, when I leave you, I will take all of me.

 

Respectfully, I want to let you know that I won’t let you take away my life spirit. You can’t have my joy. I won’t give you my peace of mind, and I won’t hand over my self-esteem.

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I will let you cause me to self-reflect and consider my beliefs and my world view. I will allow you to make me a person with more depth and perspective, and eventually, more wisdom.

 

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I will evaluate my performance and learn from my mistakes. I will regret my mistakes and take responsibility for them. However, I will not torture myself with incessant “if onlys.”

 

I will give you my attention, energy, and effort. However, you need to know that I will not give you my physical health, my relationships, or my optimism. These are precious to me.

 

While I treasure my career and feel honored to be able to serve you, I just can’t let my self – my life – get lost in yours. I answer to a higher calling that puts my career into its proper perspective within the context of my whole Life. My Life is about all of the many roles I choose, – spouse, parent, child, friend, believer, co-worker, etc… and yes, EMS Provider."

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I wrote this Letter a couple years ago while I was putting together a very innovative Stress Inoculation Training for EMS Providers. This training proposes a Balanced Belief System that will inoculate the EMS provider and thus minimize the accumulation of Sub-Acute Chronic Stress as well as decrease the severity of Critical Incident Stress. Unlike the current model of Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM), my approach is individualized, portable, accessible, self-administered and cost effective.This training was given to the entire staff (350+) of Albuquerque Ambulance Services.

My interest was inspired by the very kind paramedics who so patiently, lovingly, and repeatedly responded to my sister, Karen Roush in Green Valley, AZ before she passed away. It was also prompted by a veteran Albuquerque firefighter, Karla Puaria, a student in my Psychology class who urged me to help EMS personnel with traumatic stress. Please let me know if you know any police, fire, or EMS departments who might be interested in this leading edge training. It is my passion.

For a description of the training, just click on the link above to the blog page, Walk Away Changed Workshops. See the "2015 Workshop Descriptions."

 

 

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