If any of you have known me for any period of time you know that I like to play paintball. Yes, I even dedicated a post on this very blog to it last month. I recently was trawling a forum and stumbled across a paintball personality named Rob Rubin (“Tyger”) that I kind of like and he had a rather interesting video blog about how the game is “dumbing itself down.” I’ll let you watch it for yourself so you can see what I mean:
Now you’re probably wondering why I posted this. Well, I think it rings true for us in EMS as well. In some places our mentality is just to get out on the road, drive around really fast with lights and sirens, and do whatever procedures they want even if they aren’t indicated or not. We have allowed the profession to become diluted with quick fix solutions to staffing problems by diluting education. As a result, skills we used to take pride in doing and practiced often have become suspect for elimination, knowledge that used to be common place have given way to oversimplified, uncomplicated protocols and education standards that cater to the least knowledgeable and limit the people with a true passion and the knowledge to perform competently.
There are a lot of us that are “hardcore.” The people that read the trade magazines from end to end and seek out people of similar passion in which to have a discussion with. The average medic doesn’t pay attention but that doesn’t mean they don’t have desire to know. I have enlightened many of the brethren by getting them to discuss a case they had recently, with them walking away knowing more than when they left. Then you get people who just don’t care. These people are the ones who merely want the patch and the money, then complain because they have responsibility and are supposed to be held accountable. These are the medics that endanger us all because of the apathy. No desire to maintain skills, no desire to go above and beyond, no desire to do more than is absolutely bare minimum to keep their job or make the next paycheck.
How do we change the apathy? Unfortunately we can’t. It permeates every job out there, from mail men to janitors. The best we can do is educate the young and raise those young and aspiring medics to develop good habits early, and try to convert the veterans. If they care, they’ll listen.