The Top 5 Ways Not to be an A**hole Paramedic:
1. Dealing with other agencies
We’ve all been there. We’ve arrived on scene only to discover that other first responders (firemen or police officers) arrived first. While this isn’t typically a problem, occasionally, it can cause issues.
Part of the problem can stem from other agencies believing they have the scene under control and making our job of assessing any injured people more difficult. When we can appropriately interact with the patients, our job becomes a challenge, and we have to assert ourselves and take control of the situation–sometimes making us seem like we’re a**holes.
In high-stress situations like these, it can be difficult to find a balance between assertiveness and being rude. The best way to take control of situations like these and do your job well is by remembering that sometimes there is nothing you can do–rank structure may take precedent.
Regardless of the situation, it is important to remain calm and focus on facts. By using facts, even those who outrank us will see us as professionals who are a pleasure to work with, which will help you provide the best care to the patient.
2. Communicating with patients and families
This is a big one! Communication is the key to building a great relationship with our patients and their families. But sometimes, things aren’t so easy. A problematic patient can create headaches for you and can further jeopardize their health.
Some patients’ families can cause challenges for you as well. When a family member is overprotective, or in the medical field, sometimes they may try to take charge of the situation, making your job tougher and inadvertently putting their loved one’s health at risk.
It’s easy to snap at patients or patients’ family members when they’re making your job more difficult. And, since you’re likely to never see any of these people again, it can feel ok being an a**hole. However, snapping in these situations can cause problems further down the line, not just for your patient, but also for your career.
The best way to handle tough patients and family members is by staying cool, even when these people are getting under your skin.
Some ways you can calm your patients and their family down is by practicing active listening and hearing out all their concerns. This makes them feel heard and allows them to trust you to do your job.
Too cool for school? Well, that could backfire for you. Staying on top of your CEUs, evidence-based medicine, and patient best practices is critical for your role as a paramedic. Waiting until the last minute to renew your certification and earn all your CEUs can make you look like an a**hole to supervisors, who see your procrastination as a lack of commitment to your job.
Education has more than one way to look like an a**hole. It’s not just about waiting until the last minute to earn your CEUs and not keeping up with best practices.
It’s also about how you show up. If you think you know it all, your arrogance will show, making you look bad in the long run. Even if you are on top of all your CEUs, know the current evidence-based medicine, and are current on all patient best practices, showing off to your co-workers won’t earn you any points or friends.
To avoid looking like an education a*hole, try staying on top of your education. It’s a lot easier than you think!
With IA MED’s convenient courses, showing up for yourself, your patients, and your supervisor has never been easier. Simply choose the course that’s right for you and start working toward certification or re-certification anytime, anywhere.
Not sure where to start? Check out our blog post helping you choose the right course for you.
If education arrogance is more of an issue, that’s ok! There are easy fixes for that, too. When sharing your knowledge, be sure to present your information in a relaxed tone. Often, the difference between being an a**hole and being helpful really is just how you say something.
4. Smart vs. Arrogant
We touched on this a little in our Education section, but finding the line between being smart and being arrogant can be a challenge. Especially in high-stress situations where someone is questioning your authority or knowledge. But using the wrong tone or language can make a bad situation worse and make you come across as an a**hole.
Whether you’re working with another paramedic partner, another agency, a patient, or a patient’s family, people will remember how you made them feel. The last thing you want, especially when working with another paramedic, EMT, or another person in the medical field is to develop a reputation as an arrogant a**hole.
This problem can be especially difficult for women in the field. Since the industry is predominantly male, women can face discrimination and are often questioned more frequently than their male counterparts, which can lead to heightened emotions and pushing for control. Unfortunately, women pushing for control and asserting their intelligence and leadership skills can often come across as being arrogant, an a**hole, or even a b*tch.
Regardless of gender, a great way to show up as smart, rather than arrogant, is by remaining calm, even when questioned. To further help the situation, you can choose to do your work in silence and ignore anyone questioning your abilities and just show them your results. Or you can choose to use a calm and reassuring tone while working to explain the steps you’re taking and why it will help.
5. Training Others
How many of you can think of a jaded co-worker? There will always be at least one person in your field who hates the job but continues to work. These people can often bring the workplace morale down, and when it comes to training new hires…well, their inclination to spill the tea and overshare opinions can make them come across as an a**hole.
The good news is that when training new team members, you can avoid being an a**hole pretty easily. Be sure to steer clear of workplace politics, focus on the facts of the job, and present the work in a realistic but non-gossipy way. Your new team members will quickly get a lay of the land, and they will be able to form their own opinions without any bias.
The other great thing about avoiding shift politics and sticking to job facts during training is that you get to know your new co-worker without a hidden agenda, and your reputation as a great paramedic who is a pleasure to work with will remain intact.