If EMS was pop culture, we would celebrate our interactions all day long. We would see an Instagram post boasting “Brought my patient to dialysis today, she’s slaying it in the chair #regalrenal” or “Working my 12 today, look how cute I look! #instagood.” What a world it would be if we celebrated our EMSers like we celebrate the grammy award winner (#Tswift).

The point being this: The work our EMTs, Paramedics, and CCT Providers do is nothing short of amazing. Remember COVID-19? It was not that long ago that we were being hailed as “Healthcare Heroes,” essential personnel. Just because the world is not celebrating us in the same manner, and continuous shout out to the grocery store workers and truck drivers #btw, doesn’t mean we can’t draw attention to the constant lifesaving and health care continuum enhancing ambulance services. Whether we are praising the work of the early recognition of a STEMI and immediate activation of the Cath lab status post resuscitation or we are acknowledging all the crews in southern California who worked the early February atmospheric river or the heavy snow in the mountain areas. The tough work seems less than sexy sometimes but is crucial to our community.

Collectively, there are 3,600 licensed ambulances in the state of California. The Danielle Thomas Chief Operating Officer LifeLine EMS From “Just” to Jive: Celebrating EMS Culture in a Pop-Culture World 6 Spring 2024 EMS Culture – continued from page 5 CAA reports we have over 80,000 licensed EMTs and Paramedics in the state. In 2021, over four million EMS calls were run, with significant increases in the few years. Think about how many engagements our crews perform, how many assessments and amazing patient experiences we have managed to create.

Many of us are familiar with the concept of what if EMS was a Disney industry and how fantastic would the patient experience be? Well let’s take a minute to celebrate our people wanting to provide the 5-star treatment for our patients. Whether emergent, interfacility transport or discharge, each experience can be unique for all involved. The commonly viewed mundane experience of a dialysis run could be treated as hanging out at the Lakers game with the Kardashians.

Start Your Next Career In EMS

LifeLine EMS offers several different career pathways within EMS; Field Operations, Communications, Fleet Management, Administration, Business Development, and Finance.

Start Your Next Career In EMS

LifeLine EMS offers several different career pathways within EMS; Field Operations, Communications, Fleet Management, Administration, Business Development, and Finance.

What makes an experience exciting and enjoyable, what makes it to your story? Reframing the work that our EMS clinicians do to celebrate each call. CAA Stars of Life acknowledges the above and beyond, it is up to us to acknowledge what seems to be ordinary, but in fact, rather extraordinary daily work of our Teams. If you have ever made it to the Magic Hotel in LA, you’ll experience the Power of Moments. Upon your return, you will boastfully comment about the Popsicle Hotline and the free snacks, in an otherwise average-looking hotel with average prices and a sub-par pool. The experience though, awwww it’s so good, and memorable, you’ll associate the name, and that time in your life with something good and maybe smile. Let’s assume, just for a moment, that each patient transport, regardless of the outcome, includes the attitude that this is a special moment in everyone’s life. Boom, posted. #bestworstdayever

The meaningful work that our EMSers produce is a substantial contributor to how the patient feels. With a low “true emergency” percentage of calls, the style, communication, and effort may be more needed than their clinical skill set.

When the EMT finds themselves thinking, “I’m just an EMT,” that is a result of years of community lacking understanding of the role and recognizing the work to be done. When that team member advances to the paramedic level, you may hear, “I’m just a paramedic.” Just?

In essence, being an EMT or a paramedic is far more than just a job – it’s a calling, a vocation, and a noble pursuit dedicated to serving others and making a difference in the lives of those in need. So, the next time an EMT or paramedic finds themselves thinking, “I’m just an EMT” or “I’m just a paramedic,” let’s remind them of the profound impact they have on their patients, their communities, and the healthcare system. There’s nothing “just” about it – being an EMT or a paramedic is a badge of honor, a testament to their courage, compassion, and unwavering dedication to saving lives and making the world a better place.

Yet, for all their dedication and sacrifice, EMS personnel often find themselves overlooked or undervalued by society. The lack of recognition and appreciation for their contributions can take a toll on morale and lead to feelings of frustration and disillusionment. It’s essential to acknowledge the immense value of their work and the profound impact they have on the lives of those they serve. From the adrenaline-pumping moments of a highstakes rescue to the quiet compassion of holding a patient’s hand in their final moments, the stories of EMS professionals are filled with drama, emotion, and humanity.

If we treated each call like it was our call; if we considered the importance of each and every ePCR synced; if we valued the punch in like, it was gold. If we engaged with each team member like the interaction mattered, every time. If we thought of every call like it was the trendiest restaurant, a hike we liked, or the latest Tik Tok dance. We may just create a culture and promote recruitment into the latest viral career in healthcare, EMS.

As we reflect on the incredible work of EMS professionals, let us commit to celebrating their contributions, supporting their efforts, and honoring their sacrifices. Not with a pizza during EMS week, a tumbler for their water or a logoed Tee. But rather with consistent and constructive feedback, livable wages, and an environment that recognizes the every day as magic. Together, we can shine a spotlight on the unsung heroes of EMS and ensure that their invaluable work is never overlooked or forgotten. After all, providing a career growth strategy ensures that they won’t be “just a paramedic,” just like me, forever.

About the Author: Danielle Thomas

Danielle Thomas
Danielle comes to LifeLine as a dynamic executive with progressive leadership experience in developing and implementing advanced EMS strategies on a local, national and international level. Since choosing EMS as a second career in 2007, Danielle has delivered success across program development, education/training, communication, marketing, talent management, strategic partnerships, growth/scale and community engagement.

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