Being the Yardstick

How Apple’s Success Translates to EMS

In memory of Steve Jobs (the only Apple product I own is an iPod, but I digress) I wanted to expound on a quote of his I found that had been tweeted by Ashton Kutcher (no I don’t follow him on Twitter, so don’t ask). It said:

“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.”

What a quote! And what an insight! It got me thinking about my organizations, past and present.

Are you being the yardstick of quality? The image of what is expected of members of your team when they perform their function? Are others measured against you when they talk about what it is your team does?

How can you be that guy? It takes a lot of time, and you must be refining your talent at all times. Being lazy or slacking off are not things that you do, and you always seem to know what to do. Or, seem to know what to do. Even if getting the job done means choosing a well earned nap to finish reports or to restock when you are running low, the job always gets done and is not finished until it is done right. That’s what it means to be outstanding.

I have been in several places where I have seen people lose their jobs for not living up to expectations. When you are in an occupation that requires high performance like healthcare you can not afford to be lazy. This field hinges on several things: good clinical skills, good people skills, and good documentation.

Do you have good clinical skills? Do you perform a proper assessment on every patient you see? Do you document the details you find? Do you know what is appropriate and what is not appropriate? I was interested in the Michael Jackson doctor trial recently because the attorney (prosecution I think) asked the paramedics about every aspect of ACLS and picked apart their run report piece by piece and had them explain why they did certain procedures. Knowing WHY you do something is just as important as HOW you do something. Those LA City medics had excellent clinical skills AND excellent documentation skills.

Having good people skills is just as important as good clinical skills. If you treat people poorly from the beginning, they won’t answer your questions and give you the best shot at helping them. You may be having a bad day or a bad year (2011 is certainly NOT my year) but you need to put it aside when you are called to help someone who may also be having a bad day. How can you properly assess someone and then treat them when you are already treating them like gutter refuse? Yelling at a patient, family member, or civilian, or saying some jacked up stuff to them will certainly win you no brownie points. Remember, even when not on a call you reflect the values of the organization you represent.

And finally, good documentation is critical to the function we perform. You can be the greatest clinician in the world, but if there is no documentation of it, then it didn’t happen. This creates a liability for you and your organization, who will then promptly dump it back on you for not following directions and orders. Suppose you perform an advanced skill or give a drug, and don’t document why you did it (Assessment) then this leaves anyone open to interpret why you did it or even how. Ever read a surgeon’s report from a surgery? They document EVERYTHING from the type of scalpel they used to what kind of thread they used to close the incision. So should you.

Do you have these three traits, and do all of them well? You may just be the yardstick.

  • I agree, and believe that much can be learned from this company and Steve Jobs that can translate to EMS individuals excellence. 

  • I agree, and believe that much can be learned from this company and Steve Jobs that can translate to EMS individuals excellence.