Bear With A Sore Head

There are days when you wake up in a foul mood, I'm sure that everyone can relate to this. For no good reason you just want to growl at everything. Us ambulance people get those days as well.The trick is to try and hide your general grumpiness with the world, given some of our calls this can be a bit tricky.
It is particulary difficult when your first job is to transfer a maternity patient from one hospital to the other and the midwives in the sending department treat you rudely. I wouldn't treat a taxi driver the way we were treated that day.
We were called over with a dismissive wave of the hand. The handover of the patient consisted of a doctor referal letter being thrown at us and the midwife who accompanied us hardly spoke a word to me or the patient.
Add in a rude relative and the job was a bundle of joy.
It wasn't helped by the midwife spending forty minutes at the receiving hospital photocopying the patient notes.
I very nearly said something I would have regretted.
Still, it all became better after I had a full fry-up breakfast.
It's not good to want to do painful things to other healthcare professionals, but us ambulance folk are only human too.
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Sent from a mobile phone, probably from the cab of an ambulance.
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17 thoughts on “Bear With A Sore Head”

  1. It's not everyone… I am always really grateful to LAS crews when they come out to us, because we aren't usually the priority cases although when I call them we really DO need them. The only crews I've ever had a problem with are 2 crews that were really, really rude to me (I put in a complaint about one of them; the other changed their tune when they realised my client had a wound infection and needed entonox just so she could sit up in the chair, I really DID need to call them) and the other one was an EMT who not only thought she was a midwife she started telling me and my colleague what to do. At a home birth. That went fine. I raised an eyebrow and had a gentle word… that stopped all that. I mean really; I don't tell LAS how to do an ECG, don't tell me how to catch a baby!I tend to work on the premise that most ambulance personnel have the experience that maternity calls = waste of time, and so I do whatever I can to make up for some of the shite.

  2. I fully sympathise. Last week, my EMT hubby was treated similarly by a nurse when handing over a CCU patient. She ignored him when he mentioned the catheter was attached to the stretcher and it needed moving prior to using the PAT slide. He mentioned it twice, she continued to ignore him, he though 'sod it'… then she squealed as her feet were sprayed and a pool of wee spread across the floor!!Do what I always do with such people – imagine them naked then it's hard not to laugh at them!!

  3. As H&S rep am surprised you're allowed to be seen eating a fried breakfast – all that cholesterol, all those clogged arteries – should those in the health service not set a healthy example – how many escapades 'off message' is one allowed nowadays by Dadya? (russian for uncle). :-]

  4. And i always thought LAS were too busy for even a rest break, i'd love the chance to clog my arteries and sit down for a few seconds, before some knobber calls me out for back pain they have had for several years, still love my job though.

  5. Tom, do you have to wait and return the midwife to her own unit?Ours have to get a contract car (taxi) back as there have been times when we have attended jobs on the way back with the midwife onboard. Certainly opens their eyes if its a “proper” job.

    One instance was a full cardiac arrest with full resus and drug protocols used…the midwife was a lot more understanding after that.

    Why do some midwives/nurses act so ignorantly towards us? What is your take on this as you,re ex A/E nurse?

  6. You would be surprised. More doctors than you would realise can be heavy drinkers (even beating the nurses sometimes!).And I always find it funny to see a surgeon walking straight out of theatre into the restaurant to have a fry up (especially the vascular surgeons), usually in their op-gowns….

  7. We are – it's something I'm going to write about soon. However if our first job ends up at hospital then we can run to their canteen and grab something to eat while doing our paperwork.We could get into trouble for this though, as we don't have 'breaks' and should be availible for calls at all times. But if we didn't eat, someone would die.

  8. We are supposed to try, but there isn't a rule that says we *have* to. However I have ben sent back to a hospital to pick up a midwife who we'd already told we couldn't bring back. Too posh to get a cab on the hospital account.When I was an A&E nurse I used to volunteer for the transfers, then beg the crew to 'drive around a bit' before returning me to hospital, just so I could have a chance of helping out with an ambulance job.

    See – I loved it even then.

    I think that staff can be rude because they don't understand what it is that we do – if I had my way I'd have staff from hospitals and from ambulances doing observation shifts with each other. The more you know about someone's job, the better you can provide care and information to the patient that you are looking after.

    I'm lucky because I can tell most patients what their 'trip' through the hospital is most likely to be, thus preparing them for what is to come.

  9. Ain't just EMTs either. I spent a long day, outside my specialty area managing not to kill the prickly surgeon, his idiot resident (wondered not only how he got through med school, but how he got through grade school) and a traveling scrub who took his bad mood out on me and kept telling me to “relax, I'm just kidding” neuro monitoring techs who were kind, but had students, transfusion nurses, too many phone calls, absent orderlies….Oh, wait, this is your blog. Sorry. Still, everyone got out alive, so I consider it a Good Day.

  10. Why do different disciplines – even individual wards/teams do this to their colleagues? What is it that makes us bitch about each other. It's not as simple as wanting to look better than others. Itr's deeper. Where does this culture of blame and distrust come from – and how can we defend ourselves to the wider environment when we seem to hate each other? I would love to see you do a post about this Tommy boy. (sorry to use my pet name for ya there!)

  11. Why do this to their colleagues? The something deeper you mention may be to do with this: Degree of Difficulty by Malcolm Gladwell. It's not something nobody's ever thought of before, but he summarizes very clearly how hard it is to know the difficulties anyone else overcomes if you haven't dealt with them yourself. A good imagination can go a long way, but there are too many people who don't even try.If that's the root of the “real” part of the problem (as opposed to pettiness, selfishness, stupidity, and so on), then the solution, as Tom says, is to have everyone observe, or help out to the extent possible, in other people's jobs.

    If we got rid of all the useless paperwork, it wouldn't even take any extra time. (I can dream, can't I?)

  12. “It's not good to want to do painful things to other healthcare professionals”I've often wanted to do painful things to healthcare professionals – usually because they're not being professional. I'm glad I'm not the only one. If we can put the effort in to be nice to people when we're having a bad day, why can't they? There's no excuse for rudeness.

  13. Midwives are a funny bunch, well not all midwives!About being grumpy, when I was a student nurse I was on an ENT ward, having just done a stint on a very heavy ward. Was told to go and give a man a bed bath, the only pateint on the ward who needed one,felt very aggrieved because was thinking ,why me, it's not fair etc. Went into his room, picked up flannel and didn't say anything and then I suddenly thought, you cow, you are just about to slap a wet flannel round this poor man's body and you can't even be bothered to pass the time of day with him. So started chatting and in no time felt one hell of a lot better. Hope he did too although my bed baths tended to be a bit soggy if I remember rightly!

    I think empathy is so important and to do as you would be done by is a fine maxim , oh god sound like a right goody goody now!

  14. I think that if we could be educated on a regular basis to appreciate what we each do then that may help.And the maxim…”treat others as you would like yourself or a member of your family to be treated” is the Gold Standard as far as I,m concerned.

    Sometimes the problem is an historical one, for instance some old working ways and attitudes have been handed down from previous generations of health care providers. I will be respectful to anyone but I will not tug my forelock and will not be spoken down to. This has happened I,m sure to most people in the job. But I will not stand for someone trying to belittle, bollock or generally show me up in front of a patient.

    If I,ve had an issue with a member of staff, be it doctor, nurse, EMT, Paramedic or any other then I always strive to have a word away from the patient.

    There is nothing worse than doing a job that has for instance involved a prolonged RTC entrapment, working in cramped smelly messy conditions under a lorry putting lines in, tubes, decompressing a tension pneumo, clamping off arterial bleeds etc, putting a call for Resus to be on standby and when arriving at the hospital you are met by rudeness or a complete lack of empathy for the patient from some staff.

    There thats said and done…I,m off for a lay down now as I,m getting fired up!

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