Life changes in an instant. For first responders, a tone or radio transmission is the beginning, then action, then reflection, and usually satisfaction, regardless of the outcome. We know that whatever happened on the other end of the tones happened before we were aware, and would have happened with or without us. We do our job, and put our training to use, and test our resolve, and put the pieces back together to the best of our ability. Whether that is good enough in the end is irrelevant, we can only do so much.
We are the first link in a chain of events. When the people we are called to help leave our care, they begin a journey of rehabilitation that will lead them through many doors, and many people. Some are good, some adequate, and some great. But all of us are only as strong as the weakest link in the patients recovery, and if the first link is tarnished and ready to break the entire chain of recovery is weakened, and all of the great things that lead to a patients successful rehabilitation may be compromised.
Though our time with a patient is probably the shortest of all the people they will encounter during their experience, it is the most important. First impressions are lasting, and there are a lot of people behind us that depend on that first impression being a positive and competent doorway into their part of the patient’s care.