Adrenaline Junky

Thank you for indulging my tendency to be a wise ass when something is bugging me rather than simply coming right out and saying it. If you use Facebook as your success meter and the “likes” and “shares” generated by it as justification for your words then the post “EMS staffed by Nurses” was a huge success. I actually saw that picture a while ago and stored it in the old noggin until I was bored enough to use it.

The comments on that post, both here and on the JEMS Facebook page prove that the people who work in EMS are completely void of leadership, a common purpose, self-worth or pride in their profession. And who can blame them? The people with the big mouths, of which I suppose I am one due to my monthly columns an EMS 1, EMS World and Fire Engineering for the most part are hammering home Community Paramedicine as the next big thing in EMS. People like me who think differently are cast aside, labeled dinosaurs, pariahs and out of touch, or my favorite; “adrenaline junkies.”


Well I have some news for them. I am an adrenaline junkie, and proud to be one. I wouldn’t be an EMT if not for the stuff, wouldn’t have spent twenty-four years bringing intoxicated people to detox, little old ladies to the ER for constipation, little old men who couldn’t pee to the hospital, taken people out of dialysis centers when their blood pressure dropped below 100/60, or any of the million things I did while waiting for the calls that I lived for.

When the shit hits the fan, I am the man. Period. And there are lots of men and women like me who recognized that they have a gift, an ability to remain calm when lives are literally hanging in the balance, who like nothing more that a trauma code and excel at emergency medicine.

So don’t let the EMS elite lead you into a situation that you had absolutely no interest in when you became an EMT. Remember why you do what you do. Remember that there are precious few who can or will do it. There is plenty of opportunity for EMT’s and Paramedics to further their career and education. They can be nurses if they want to, or Physicians Assistants, or Physicians. They can be anything they want to be.

Be proud of your profession, and don’t sugar coat it. Don’t apologize for it. Don’t make excuses when they question your commitment to “the good of the community.” You are what you are, and that is something to be proud of.





  • Renee says:

    Ya know, I identify with everything you just said! But then I am a special kind of twisted, because I recently got back into EMS after having been out of it for 20 years… I’m not a nurse, I’m a MEDIC and damn proud of it! We in EMS are a special breed and not everyone (not to knock nurses, but..) are cut out to get up in the middle of the night (multiple times) and possibly save the life of someone they have never met in a shady neighborhood that would scare the crap out of a “normal” person in the daylight…We are a special breed… So yes, we should take pride in our profession…

  • Michael Morse says:

    Thank you Renee! I was starting to think I was the only one. Stay safe out there.

  • Nathan Stanaway says:

    I think there is room for all of us in the future of EMS. Just like not all nurses like the ER, not all paramedics only want to run the sickest patients. Personally, my favorite calls are MCIs, a close second is probably the little old lady low fall. We can specialize. If you don’t want to be a “community paramedic”, you don’t have to. That doesn’t mean that EMS shouldn’t expand to further meet the needs of our community. Sadly, adrenaline junkies often find themselves angry and disillusioned with EMS when they aren’t constantly running life threatening calls. THAT is a problem. We are often recruiting under false pretenses. It’s bad for them, it’s bad for us, and it’s bad for their patients.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *