From The Desk Of The RockStar Medic

What’s With The Negativity?

I follow several other educators in various online forums, and subscribe to several EMS Groups through various online avenues.  I find myself noticing a disturbing trend.  Someone will post a topic for discussion, followed by a rapid descent into anarchy.  Any reader with experience in EMS can rapidly sort through the thoughtful responses of the more experienced providers and the idealistic comments of the new provider, who still believes that everything their EMS Instructor told them was the Word of God.  I often find myself trying to categorize these comments into some order within my mind… Newbie, Veteran, Burned Out, Over-Achiever, etc.  I started noticing that some comments were individuals trying to learn something, some were simply looking to light a fire and watch it burn, and some were so firmly entrenched in their dogmatic views that they were incapable of considering any other ideas.

Needless to say, I realized that many of these forums turn into a bickering match between various individuals.  Often times, the original intent of the thread is lost entirely and individuals become mired in the argument.  One person posts a viewpoint, then the next person comments on how idiotic that is, never stopping to consider that the rules, regulations, and scope of practice vary greatly between states and municipalities.  I am constantly amazed at the variations within scope of practice between various states in the US, but even more so by the differences between neighboring agencies.  I think sometimes we forget that the person commenting on how something is done in their agency doesn’t set the policy of the treatment algorithm, the Physician Adviser for the agency does.  This individual may have little or no opportunity to change the paradigm in their agency.  Furthermore, often times, we fail to consider that treatment modalities may vary based on available resources.  For instance, if you are working in a metro area with several large Level 1 Trauma Centers within 10 minutes, that is an enormous difference from the rural agency that has a 40 minute transport to a Level IV Trauma Center, then it is only another hour and a half by fixed wing to get the patient to a Level I Trauma Center.  These types of differences can change the way agencies are instructed to manage situations.

Perhaps, we need to change our paradigm as a profession when it comes to online interaction.  Perhaps, rather than attacking a different perspective with the goal of disproving the point, we should take the time to gather more information.  Ask some follow up questions to gauge the circumstances surrounding the perspective.  Maybe, and I know this is crazy talk, we should examine this differing perspective, investigate a little bit, do some research and see if maybe, just maybe, there is some validity to the point being made.  Who knows, we might even learn something new!  If we could approach these online discussions with the personal intent of learning something new, rather than asserting our intellectual dominance, imagine the positive outcomes for each of us as individuals and as a profession.

I would challenge each of us to make furthering our profession the goal of these online interactions.  Look for the participants which are genuinely trying to improve themselves and take the opportunity to share your knowledge.  Try to ensure that we are sharing our knowledge without trashing someone else, or their current practice.  Make a point to share supportive articles, or background information, but avoid the article written by Mr. I. P. Freely, published in DitchCric Monthly EMS Facebook Page.  When you see a viewpoint that differs from your own, take a moment and ask yourself if this is a learning opportunity to improve yourself, before blasting off a long rant about the ignorance of the idea.  There are so many things we can teach each other in a professional and courteous manner, let’s avoid bickering and snippy remarks.  Approach each interaction with an open mind, and a plan to learn something new, and you may just be surprised by how much you accomplish.  In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, ” You must be the change you hope to see in the world.”

Stay safe out there, and never settle for ordinary….. Be A RockStar Medic!!!


From The Desk of The RockStar Medic

Go Beyond Mediocre and Reach For RockStar Status

Nelson Boswell said, “The difference between greatness and mediocrity is how an individual views a mistake.”  Far too often I see First Responders focusing on the negative aspects of their failures.  Let’s face it, if you aren’t failing on occasion, you probably aren’t pushing your limits.  You are wallowing in mediocrity.  Exceptional individuals push themselves to the limits of their abilities.  This practice enables these providers to constantly extend the limit of their ability.  Beyond making mistakes, the exceptional among us view their shortcomings quite differently.  How do you view your shortcomings?  Are you frustrated and embarrassed because you were wrong?  Or do you view this error as an opportunity to improve your understanding and practice of medicine?  The exceptional providers around you, are identifying with the latter of the two.

The key to being an exceptional provider is the constant pursuit of improvement.  Once you decide that everyday is an opportunity to improve yourself, there is no limit to what you can achieve.  Exceptional providers actively seek out opportunities to get better, and acknowledge their weaknesses as an area for improvement.  How do you spend your downtime on shift?  How do you spend your time while sitting post, or on a standby?  Are you watching the latest episode of some “Reality Show”, or are you revisiting the pathophysiology of the endocrine system?  Are you settling for enough to maintain proficiency, or are you actively attempting to grow your proficiency?

Only you can answer the question… Are you a mediocre provider, or do you truly want to be exceptional?  If you want to be exceptional, what are you doing to reach your goals? Are you attempting to shore up the weaker parts of your practice? Are you embracing your mistakes as opportunities to improve?  Exceptional providers focus on their weaknesses to drive their improvement.  You know which providers I am talking about, they are constantly reading, watching a webinar or attending a training.  These individuals cannot stand the idea of being mediocre at anything and will constantly and relentlessly pursue excellence.

Find your inner excellence, embrace the RockStar Medic inside.  Revisit a textbook, read up on A & P, or follow a clinical blog.  Attend a conference, read some journal articles, and above all, ask some questions.  People place their lives in your hands, never forget what an honor and a privilege that is.  Be exceptional at what you do and never let anyone tell you otherwise.

Thanks for reading our introductory blog.  Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  Look for us on the road, and when you see the RockStar Medic, come up and say hi.  We will continue to post items of interest for EMS providers, and look forward to questions or ideas you the reader may have.  Until next time, Be a RockStar Medic!!!!