1) You aren’t required to know everything.
2) You are required to know the foundational knowledge and skills of your job. No excuses.
3) Always be nice. It’s a force multiplier.
4) There is no greater act of trust than being handed a sick child.
5) Earn that trust.
6) Don’t ever lie to your patient. If something is awkward to say, learn to say it without lying.
7) Read Thom Dick’s, People Care. Then read it again.
8) You can fake competence with the public, but not with your coworkers.
9) Own your mistakes. We all make them, but only the best of us own them.
10) Only when you’ve learned to own your mistakes will you be able to learn from them.
11) Experience is relative.
12) Proper use of a BVM is hard and takes practice.
13) OPAs and NPAs make using a BVM less hard.
14) Master the physical assessment. Nobody in the field of medicine should be able to hold a candlestick to your physical assessment skills.
15) Keep your head about you. If you fail at that, you’ll likely fail at everything else.
16) There is a huge difference between not knowing and not caring. Care about the things you don’t yet know.
17) Train like someone’s life depends on it.
18) Drive like nobody’s life depends on it.
19) Pet the dog. (Even when you’re wearing gloves.)
20) Have someone to talk to when the world crashes down.
21) Let human tragedy enhance your appreciation for all that you have.
22) Check the oil.
23) Protect your back. It will quite possibly be the sole determining factor in the length of your career.
24) Say please and thank you even when it’s a matter of life or death.
25) Wipe your feet at the door.
26) When you see someone who is really good at a particular skill say, “Teach me how you do that.”
27) Nobody can give you your happiness or job satisfaction. It is yours and yours alone. And you have to choose it.
28) We can’t be prepared for everything.
29) We can be prepared for almost everything.
30) Check out your rig. It’s more meaningful that just confirming that everything is still there.
31) Tell your patients that it was a pleasure to meet them and an honor to be of service.
32) Mean it.
33) Keep a journal.
34) Make it HIPAA compliant.
35) Thank the police officer that hangs out on your scene for no good reason.
36) Recognize that he or she probably wasn’t hanging out for no good reason.
37) Interview for a job at least once every year, even if you don’t want the job.
38) Iron your uniform.
39) Maintain the illusion of control. Nobody needs to know that you weren’t prepared for what just happened.
40) Apologize when you make a mistake. Do it immediately.
41) Your patient is not named honey, babe, sweetie, darling, bud, pal, man or hey. Use your patient’s name when speaking to them. Sir and Ma’am are acceptable alternatives.
42) Forgive yourself for your mistakes.
43) Forgive your coworkers for their quirks.
44) Exercise. Even when it isn’t convenient.
45) Sometimes it’s OK to eat the junk at the QuickyMart.
46) It’s not OK to always eat the junk at the QuickyMart.
47) Don’t take anything that a patient says in anger personally.
48) Don’t take anything that a patient says when they are drunk personally.
49) Don’t ever convince yourself that you can always tell the difference between a fake seizure and a real seizure.
50) Think about what you would do if this was your last shift working in EMS. Do that stuff.
51) Carry your weight.
52) Carry your patient.
53) If firefighters ever do #51 or # 52 for you, say thank you. (And mean it.)
54) Being punched, kicked, choked or spit on while on duty is no different than being punched, kicked, choked or spit on while you’re sitting in church or in a restaurant. Insist that law enforcement and your employer follow up with appropriate action.
55) Wave at little kids. Treat them like gold. They will remember you for a long time.
56) Hold the radio mike away from your mouth.
57) There is never any reason to yell on the radio….ever.
58) When a patient says, “I feel like I’m going to die.” believe them.
59) Very sick people rarely care which hospital you’re driving toward.
60) Very sick people rarely pack a bag before you arrive.
61) Sometimes, very sick people pack a bag and demand a specific hospital. Don’t be caught off guard.
62) Bring yourself to work. There is something that you were meant to contribute to this profession. You’ll never be able to do that if you behave like a cog.
63) Clean the pram.
64) Clean your stethoscope.
65) Your patient’s are going to lie to you. Assume they are telling you the truth until you have strong evidence of the contrary.
66) Disregard #65 if it has anything to do with your personal safety. Trust nobody in this regard.
67) If it feels like a stupid thing to do, it probably is.
68) You are always on camera.
69) If you need save-the-baby type “hero moments” to sustain you emotionally as a caregiver you will likely become frustrated and eventually leave.
70) Emergency services was never about you.
71) The sooner you figure out #69 and #70, the sooner the rest of us can get on with our jobs.
72) People always remember how you made them feel.
73) People rarely sue individuals who made them feel safe, well cared for and respected.
74) You represent our profession and the internet has a long, long memory.
75) Don’t worry too much about whether or not people respect you.
76) Worry about being really good at what you do.
77) When you first meet a patient, come to their level, look them in the eyes and smile. Make it your habit.
78) Never lie about the vital signs. If the patients vital signs change dramatically from the back of the rig to the E.R. bed, you want everyone to believe you.
79) Calm down. It’s not your emergency.
80) Stand still. There is an enormous difference between dramatic but senseless action and correct action. Stop, think and then move with a purpose.
81) Knowing when to leave a scene is a vital skill that you must constantly hone.
82) The fastest way to leave a scene should always be in your field of awareness.
83) Scene safety is not a five second consideration as you enter the scene. It takes constant vigilance.
84) Punitive medicine is never acceptable. Choose the right needle size based on the patients clinical needs.
85) Know what’s happening in your partner’s life. Ask them about it after you return from your days off.
86) If your partner has a wife and kids, know their names.
87) No matter how hard you think you worked for them, your knowledge and skills are not yours. They were gifted to you. The best way to say thank you is to give them away.
88) Learn from the bad calls. Then let them go.
89) When you’re lifting a patient and they try to reach out and grab something, say, “We’ve got you.”
90) Request the right of way.
91) Let your days off be your days off. Fight for balance.
92) Have a hobby that has nothing to do with emergency services.
93) Have a mentor who knows nothing about emergency services.
94) Wait until the call is over. Once the patient is safe at the hospital and you’re back on the road, there will be plenty of time to laugh until you can’t breathe.
95) Tell the good stories.
96) You never know when you might be running your last call. Cherish the small things.
97) You can never truly know the full extent of your influence.
98) If you’re going to tell your friends and acquaintances what you do for a living, you’ll need to embrace the idea that you’re always on duty.
99) Be willing to bend the rules to take good care of people. Don’t be afraid to defend the decisions you make on the patients behalf.
100) Service is at the heart of everything we do. The farther away from that concept you drift, the more you are likely to become lost.
101) There is no shame in wanting to make the world a better place.