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EMS A-Z Series .... A - How your attitude can affect you, your patients and your care.

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Author: Jim Hoffman

I know you would expect the first in this series to be "A"irway or "A"uscultation. Now while some parts of this series will focus on medical and technical issues, others will focus on raw basics.

Attitude. Your attitude on the job can make a world of difference. Having a bad one will reflect on you, your partner, the patients and families you deal with and ultimately your patient care.

Many may think they are great prehospital care givers depsite what their attitude is. The fact is though that negativity does "rub off".

It also has a way of escalating bad situations you may run across at work: Violent patients, moody nurses and demanding families. With a proper outlook, these situations can be dealt with on a calmer note and be resolved or pretty much ignored, leaving you to do what you are trained for - emergency care.

If you have a bad outlook and run across these situations, they will escalate and have you more frustrated than you wanted to be when you came to work and even cause you to forget important clinical care steps.

Look - everyone has bad days. The key is not to make your bad day everybody elses. Think about why someone called 911. Maybe it's not the life and death emergency you expected, but to the person who called, it is an emergency that they could not handle.

By simply responding to a call, you can and will affect that persons life. How do you want them to remember EMS? As a moody and uncaring person who bounced them to the hospital? Wouldn't you rather be remembered as the patient and knowledgable professional, who lent an ear or shoulder to lean on. Even it was for just 20 minutes.

The fact is that most people will remember the negative for much longer than the positive. I would prefer a good 2-6 hours of someone recalling how nice or professional I was, rather than them remembering me as a uninterested and uncaring "ambulance driver".

I am sure you have heard patients complain about past ambulance visits to their home or hospital personnel etc. Why be the next one to have them complain about?

Be the one with the great attitude and you will be remembered. While we might not always get that "thank you" we hope for everyday, perhaps we can get the patient or family to think that "they should have thanked that nice ambulance driver" long after we are gone.

About the author: Jim Hoffman is a contributor to EMS Solutions. Get more information on EMS Training at

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