Care and Feeding Of A Dinosaur. Dealing With Partners – Part 2., Steven Kanarian, MPH, EMT-P
I can remember being a new EMT and having to deal with partners that had seen and done it all. Partners who had no tolerance for “rookies” and our mistakes. When you are lucky enough to have a senior partner who wants to teach you, be grateful and listen to their suggestions.
Let’s talk about dealing with “burnout” in your partners.
“About Burn Out”
Burned out EMTs and paramedics are common in EMS because of the nature of or job, the hours we keep and the stresses we must endure. Burnout is a condition where a provider has nothing more to give, does not have interest in doing the job and is usually very negative. Personally I think burnout is the path of “doing nothing” to preserving your career and motivation. EMS providers should lead a balanced life managing, stress, diet, exercise and personal issues. We can avoid burnout by leading a balanced life. Recreation is important for time away from work. Diet, exercise and relaxation are important to the life of EMTs and medics. I have always found that pursuing college, reading books that interest and taking weekend trips help me relax and balance the stress of EMS. The worst feeling is to feel tired and “stuck” in our life.
I once worked with a burned out medic named Richie. Before I was picked up by Richie at my station I was warned by an old timer, “Boy, just go home sick, do yourself a favor. Nobody wants to work with Richie.” Being new I did not want to go home sick or find an excuse not to work. ”How bad can it be?” I thought, we only have 6 hours together.” Richie picked me up and we drove out of the station.
When we returned in the morning I was pleased to see the reaction on the dinosaurs face as Richie opened the door and thanked me for a ‘fun” night. It turned out that Richie and I had two common interests off the job, basketball and pursuing a college degree. We talked about what classes to take and what direction to head in our careers. I also asked Richie about some of his experiences in the South Bronx, he had worked the same unit for 18 years in the South. We both had a good night and I felt like I had actually helped him.
How to Deal with Burned out partners:
- Discuss off the job issues and interests
- Find common interests to discuss
- Understand why they are “burnt”
- Remember they are burned on the job, as a person they have experience to offer.
Next time we will talk about why you should help train the newbie’s even though “it is not your job”.
Today is a proud day personally. I started the NYC EMS Academy 28 years ago today! Although I am retired now from the FDNY I am very proud of my start in EMS. Looking back at my career it is interesting where my bosses and partners have ended up. Some higher, some happier.
How do you deal with difficult partners? Please leave your comments below.