Friday, February 10, 2012

Why Is It So Hard?

I've been thinking a lot about why it's so hard to make any progress sometimes.

Some folks who have been in EMS for a long time seem to be stuck somewhere. Unable to adapt or change.

That seems odd to me, since adaptation is part of the job description.

Even so, there are people who insist on things being done "the way we've always done it" or at least, the way they like it best, regardless of what the other options might be.

There is something to be said for respecting someone's experience. There are many, many folks out there with YEARS more experience than I have, and given the opportunity to learn from them, I'd love to do just that. But it is difficult to respect someone's "years of experience" if in fact, it was time spent doing not much of anything.

As I've heard others say, instead of someone having "20 years of experience," often what they have is one year of experience, 20 times.

In return for respecting someone's actual experience, I'd appreciate it if they would respect my very recent training and education, my continuing effort to keep my skills up to date, and the time I put in on a daily basis in doing so.

Had a recent situation where someone was being disrespectful, so I'm a little triggered about this issue. I get tired of people assuming I give things no more thought than they do.

When I have a preference for a piece of equipment, I can tell you exactly why, from what experience and/or research. It's never going to be "because it's the only thing I've ever used, and I don't want to have to adapt to something different."  If I have a preference for doing something a certain way, I can explain my reasons to you, why I find that way more effective. It's never going to be "because that's how I was taught" or "that's the only way I know" or "I haven't ever thought about it."

Why is it so hard for people to evaluate someone based on their skills and knowledge, rather than some other scale, like age, or gender, or who "likes" them, or whatever?


  1. I could go on about this subject for days... but I see that you already read The EMT Spot. Did you ever read his NON-CONFORMISTS GUIDE ? It helped me tremendously in dealing with just this question.

  2. What a great question Hilinda. Shoot, I have been in the EMS for 20 years and I have seen both sides of the spectrum of new education versus experience. Sometimes it's tough for an old timer to accept new information because a lot of newb's, as they say, come in knowing everything. Although we can learn from them, they do not have access to actual experience, and that can block our perspective.

    I have been there on both sides. I was new, and I was well informed and knew many new things, and I was an experienced EMT facing newer EMT's with more recent training than I. I learned a lot from the experienced EMT fo sho, but what I learned is, if I am in charge on scene, then please respect my choices, and question me later, and vice versa, respect the person who is in charge on scene. Always discuss disputes after the call, appropriately, professionally, and respectfully.

    Also, you can always make your judgments on the experienced, aka old timers, by their skills. If they are good, or even great at what they do, we can learn from them. But you know, as well as I know, there are those old timers who are not the sharpest tools in the shed, don't keep up on the new protocols, and do not REALLY know what the heck they are doing. With those guys, you gotta just not let them get to you. It is not your problem that they are lazy (because they don't up keep their education), and not very smart.

    So, to your question, it is not hard for people to evaluate someone based on their skill, and knowledge, they evaluate someone based on their own level of intelligence, and what they have experienced. Those who judge people on the scale of age, gender, or if they like them, just aren't the most advanced intellectually.