So here's my rant for the day, and it comes from what several people that I work with at my night job have said to me. Once upon a time St. John Ambulance had a reputation for being nothing more than a band-aid brigade. However, like almost everything else in this day of age, thing evolve. We are not even considered to be a brigade anymore but an emergency medical response team!
Anyone who volunteers (that's right, we don't get paid either) their time with St. John Ambulance is required to take their Advanced Medical First Responder's course in order to even be able to touch a casualty. This is an intense two week course that teaches you more advanced skills and gives you a higher education than someone with only a Standard First Aid certification. Also, as an Advanced Medical First Responder we are considered to be part of the EMS system. That's right, we are considered in that category along with police, fire and ambulance. But back to how this involves St. John Ambulance...
We are a volunteer organization that provides first aid response at events (sporting, fairs, carnivals, concerts, events) because you can't guarantee that paramedics can be there 24/7 since they are on call and have to respond to other things in their area. We are trained to insert oral and nasal airways, use SAEDs and oxygen, collar and board spinal victims..etc. We are constantly practicing our skills and using them properly when needed. We are the bridge between the incident and arrival of the ambulance so that it cuts down their time and allows them to get the patient to the hospital as quick as possible.
We need to work as a team and not ignore one another! Yes, we at St. John Ambulance realize that paramedics have more training than us - two to three years of schooling to be exact - but that does not mean we don't know what we are doing. I find nothing more frustrating than when paramedics arrive on the scene and completely ignore the advanced medical first responder and anything they have done.
Now, I know someone is going to call me on this, so I shall deal with it now. Yes I know that paramedics have their own protocols to follow and that they may end up re-doing a splint we put on or changing airways and that's fine. In this field you really need to cover your ass. This is not what I have a problem with. But at the same time, is it really that hard to listen for a few seconds while we give you a quick history on what has happened, what we found out and what we have done? This information could be of use to them. Hell, even a thank-you would be nice to hear.
However, people I know and work with seem to think that just because we aren't getting paid and don't have the schooling behind us gives the paramedics permission to ignore us completely. That we are just doing kid's stuff. In some sick twisted way I hope that if they ever have a medical emergency it is in a place where St. John Ambulance is on site for duty that way they can see just how skilled we really are.
On another note, I don't imply that all paramedics act this way either. I happened to be blessed to volunteer in a community where there are quite a few paramedics who know how serious we are about what we do and how accurately we figure out the problem and deal with it. If they notice something isn't quite right, then they tell us and help us correct it for the next time. If they notice something done well, they compliment us. Hell, even a time or two we've done stuff that they sit back and watch how we do it just to see a different technique. This is the way I like to see things happen! It's not about who has the better education or who gets paid...it's about working together as a team to get the best done for the patient!