There are a couple of reasons why the public like us – the biggest reason is that when they call us they are the centre of attention – they are sick and now two people have turned up and are giving them their undivided attention. We don't have more patients to look after, we don't have to run off to bed three to give someone a bedpan, we don't have to drop everything for a drugs round. Instead that person is focused on 100%, no distractions.
Of course, when they hit hospital they take their place behind all the other 'generally unwell for two weeks' patients that found the idea of a GP appointment just too much effort. Certainly more effort than dialling 999.
And really, it was your choice to wait four hours for treatment in A&E rather than get a GP appointment, so don't blame me for taking you out to the waiting room to burn some hours with the multitudes who think the same as you.
This, in my eyes, was common knowledge – however a recent article by Professor Richard Ashcroft has shown another reason why us ambulance types rock your world.
Patients and families seeking help on how to live with long-term conditions such as autism do not always get the clear advice they seek.
Any diagnosis of a serious medical condition or impairment is hard to take in at first.
What you need after that is reliable information, and co-ordinated clinical care and social support.
Co-ordination is not what you get.
'Hints and clues'
Professionals are trained to be “non-directive” when they advise or counsel parents.
n my work, I teach current future doctors and lawyers about medical ethics and law. I teach them about informed consent.
I think empowering patients to make decisions in the light of their own values and interests is really important.
But I don't think “non-directiveness” achieves this.
Essentially, nurses and doctors are told to be 'non-directive', to not tell people what to do as that would be seen as taking away the other person's independence and right to self determination. That to be 'prescriptive' is some sort of abuse of the power relationship that folk in uniform have over the general public.
When I was training to be a nurse I suggested that perhaps we should be directive, as after all we hopefully have the full facts of a person's illness and the skills to deal with it.
I was told by my lecturer that by saying that I was acting like a Serbian war criminal. A badge I wear with bizarre pride.
That's something that us traditionally educated ambulance staff have never been told (I have a horrible suspicion that this is not the case for the new training regime) – in our training we are told that we are to take control of a situation as everyone else will be looking to us for direction (normally followed by a few unkind words about
brickheads, dripstands, Trumpton, our firefighting colleagues).
No – what we do is direct. We turn up and make the chaos into calm, the fear into peace and the uncertain become certain. We tell people what to do, we tell them what we are going to do and we can often explain what the hospital is going to do. People surrender into our loving embrace and feel better because we are there to help and the other people present can abrogate responsibility to us.
That is what we do, and people are happy for us to do it.