Where I’m from the average career span for a paramedic is 7 years. At that point we usually move on to something else in a similar field or take advantage of the many doors that have opened up for us. Many of us just quit and move onto something completely different. I’ve been a paramedic for 14 years and looking back on my time I’ve noticed I’ve gone through distinct stages as I’ve moved through the years.
As a new graduate medic I had a huge sense of accomplishment and along with that came an arrogant sense of superiority. That quickly vanished after a few hot calls where I had no idea what to do, this is where I learned to appreciate an experienced EMT partner, they have saved my butt on several occasions. For the next two years I lived in a state of fear as I cringed every time the tones went off. Eventually by years 3 – 7 I felt comfortable in my responsibilities of being the paramedic on my ambulance. After year 7 even hot calls became mundane and it seemed nothing could get me excited about my job anymore.
As the years went by my ‘know it all’ attitude began being replaced with ‘the more you know the more you realize you don’t know’ mindset. The tragedy and hardship started building up to point where I fear I’m on the doorstep of becoming an old burned out medic. My question to all the EMT’s and Medics who have over 15 – 20 years under their belt is what happens now? How did you get past the burned out stage of this job. How do you still recognize the fun and excitement after doing this for so many years? I would really like to know.
From Emergency Response Portraits