Yesterday was not a good day. I have found that blogging is about as good a way to work through and consider a problem as any other. So, dear readers, please allow me to ramble a bit.
About seven months ago I took my departments test to try to promote to Lieutenant. For the several months preceding that, I was studying. Hard studying. Like not spending time with family. Not going to events so I could stay home and read and try to memorize 9 books. I worked hard, I gave up a lot during that time. My family gave up a bunch more during that time.
I made it onto the list. I actually did pretty well.
Yesterday, I was "unofficially" asked if I would take a promotion to EMS Lieutenant.
And that is the problem.
Stay with me here.
I love EMS. I really do. I like having the knowledge and ability. I love being able to make a difference in someones life. I love helping others. Some of you folks in EMS/Fire/LEO jobs know what I mean. What I don't like about EMS is the administration. The paperwork. The justification of why I did something just outside protocol. The total BS.
When I started in EMS in the late '80s/early 90's as an EMT then Paramedic, we could only start an IV as standing orders. We then had to get on the radio (pre cell phone days) and actually talk to a doctor in order to give nitro. CPR? One round of Epi and Atropine and get on the radio for anything else.
As time went on, we got more and more standing orders. When I was promoted to Driver, and stopped riding the MICU,(about '03) I could work a full code and then call and tell them what I had done. I had standing orders for everything from D50 to Morphine.
What we got in return for those standing orders was over site. More and more we had to justify what we had decided to do. More paperwork, more headaches. And then, we got EMS Lieutenants. Several drivers were promoted to Lt., and then went to paramedic school to be the EMS shift supervisors. For those who might not understand let me say again. The sent guys to paramedic school, who were not then, or had been paramedics, and made them 'supervisors' over guys who had been paramedics for as long as 20 years in some cases.
The EMS Lt.'s job was (is) to find errors. To second guess veteran paramedics on runs they were not on. To do "QC" which means to analyze the run reports and try to spot ways the run could have been done better/different. To go over paperwork and find charting 'problems' such as not having a patients social security number, or not having the trauma score filled in for a med call patient.
That was the reason I studied and made driver. The truth was that I could have gone out on a call, done everything possible and correctly for the patient, and saved a live or at least made a major difference in the patients outcome. But if the paperwork was out of order, or messy, or whatever, I would catch holy hell. I know, I lived that more than once.
By contrast, I could also go out on a call, do shoddy work, barely follow protocol, and just be an inch short of unfit. But if my paperwork was OK, all was well with the world. I never did that, but I saw it more than once.
The EMS Lt. was the one who caused those scenarios. It was his job.
And now, they want me to do that to others.
I had hoped, and expected, that the promotion would be in Fire Operations. I would still be a paramedic, riding a paramedic staffed and equipped engine. I would have a crew of "my guys" to work with. I would have been an officer, leading men that I respect. I would have guys (or possibly girls) to work with, train with, lead, protect. We would have our differences, but we would be a team, looking out for each other.
The EMS Lt. drives a car, alone. He has no "guys". He has no team. He has no one to look after, no one to lead, no one to protect.
My current job is as a "Chief's Driver". I drive our shift battalion chief. I answer to him, not the Lt. or Capt. at the station we work out of. My job now is to drive, help the Chief with administration duties as needed, and mainly to help him on the fire scene to keep up with everyone. I listen to radio traffic to help him understand what is happening at a scene. I help make sure that all the crews are safe and accounted for. That's what he does, I help him do that. I answer to him, no one answers to me. But, I "give orders" in the name of the Chief at scenes.
My job now is to help take care of everyone on duty on our shift. If I can't have my own team to take care of, I may just stay where I am and take care of everyone as I am now.
I don't know if I could do the EMS Lt. job. I don't think I would do it very well. But that might mean not making Lt., having to go through and put my family through all that study again in a few months.
I just don't know.