Training the Next Generation
By Michael Morse
Itâ€™s Good to be Immortal
Eventually, all good things must come to an end. My separation from the fire department was made a lot less painful because of my brilliant methods of training the people under my command to be exactly like me. I will forever have minions of Mini-Meâ€™s running EMS and fire calls in Providence, all of them doing exactly what I trained them to do. They, in turn, will train their people in my image.
Hereâ€™s a Glimpse of My Methodology
Iâ€™m training my current partner to do my job. His six-month tour as rescue chauffeur is nearly through. He needs to know how to be in charge. I make it look easy, cagey veteran that I am. Iâ€™m looking forward to the challenge of passing on my vast store of knowledge to the next generation. Deep down, Iâ€™m also looking forward to having Brian realize just how fabulous, heroic, and competent I am, all while making advanced life support look easy.
â€œRescue 1, Respond to 653 Hawthorn Street for a 64-year-old male experiencing chest pains.â€
Brian looks at me. I look back with the typical rescue chauffeur blank stare and head to the driverâ€™s seat, looking forward to seeing my partner sweat. Heâ€™ll find out. Ha!
â€œRescue 1, on scene,â€ says Brian, doing my job. I prepare to do the monkey work, all while keeping a close eye on my protÃ©gÃ©.
The patient had been putting up a fence. He was diaphoretic, hypertensive, and complaining of chest pain radiating down his left arm. I was prepared to take over; saving lives is no job for the inexperienced.
â€œI need a 12 lead, an IV, start him on 02, get the aspirin and nitro ready,â€ said my student.
I did the mundane tasks while the once and future king established a history. I wanted to chime in, but he left no chance. The EKG showed acute MI with ST elevation, aka STEMI. I have no idea what they called a STEMI for the prior 100 years, but STEMI gets quite a reaction from the folks at the hospital.
â€œDrive.â€ said Brian.
Drive. So, thatâ€™s the way itâ€™s going to be. I drove.
Forty minutes after dispatch, our patient was in the cath lab and will make a full recovery. Big deal, I could have done that. Brian finished up the paperwork, gave the report to the team that had assembled, and did a damn fine job. I did his job–stocked the truck, replaced the linens on the stretcher, cleaned up, and got ready for the next one. Easy.
It didnâ€™t take long.
A Painful Lesson
â€œRescue 1, respond to 433 Broad Street for an unresponsive male on the sidewalk.â€
I expertly drove to the scene, showing my student how the truck should be driven, and stopped next to an intoxicated man lying on the street in front of McDonaldâ€™s. One of our engine companies was there. We send an engine for unconscious people; they get there faster, usually.
â€œWhereâ€™s the stretcher?â€ asked the firefighter.
Part of being a cagey veteran is quick thinking.
â€œA good officer would have known the stretcher was still at the ER,â€ I informed my student.
Heâ€™s got a long way to go. I took my radio away from him and things returned to normal.
Michael Morse is a former captain with the Providence (RI) Fire Department (PFD), an author, and a popular columnist. He served on PFDâ€™s Engine Co. 2., Engine Co. 9, and Ladder Co. 4 for 10 years prior to becoming an EMT-C on Rescue Co 1 and Captain of Rescue Co. 5.
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