Wednesday, January 28, 2009

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Lessons from New York

I just spent two nights teaching paramedic students at St. Vincent's Hospital (Institute of Emergency Care) in Manhattan (www.svhiec.org). I might have learned more than I taught. To begin with, I haven't lectured in a paramedic course for maybe 10 years or more. One reason for this is that after some 30 years as a medic, I don't quite see the same passion and enthusiasm that I've always felt for EMS in younger, newer medics out there. To be truthful, I've had some downright ugly experiences with paramedic students in clinical settings over the past few years that really made me wonder what brought those students into the program in the first place. Certainly, it would be unfair to generalize this to all newbies and medic students, but I must admit, my views are often influenced by personal experiences.

So here's what I learned in New York City this week, and it doesn't involve one or two students but rather, an entire class. I learned that enthusiasm, pride, and love of EMS grows by example. The class at St. Vinny's is led by a tenured faculty that exudes enthusiasm, pride, and a love of the job. I learned that students need to hear from lecturers (like me) who believe that EMS is the greatest job on the planet. And when that happens consistently, students walk out of class with the same pride and love of the job that has kept folks like myself in the business for over 30 years. I learned that instead of criticizing, I need to get my butt into the classroom a bit more and share some of the knowledge that the streets have lent me. I wonder how many other seasoned medics out there this applies to?

Mike McEvoy
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