I’ve been told a tale, a legend, a myth, that there are paramedics out there who drive and let their BLS partners handle calls. I would like to know exactly where such an animal exists, because it doesn’t live where I work.
There’s a reason why I waited so long to start driver training on our ambulances. I knew in my gut that the day I was signed off to drive would be the last day I would ever get to tech 911 calls. For a month or two, I was proven wrong. I didn’t tech as many calls as I used to, obviously, but I still got the opportunity to be in the back. But for the last several months, my original theory proved correct.
Although I work several shifts a week, I haven’t actually teched a call in months. It’s just frustrating when all I am allowed to do is drive. I didn’t fall in love with the field for the flashing lights and sirens. Driving an ambulance wasn’t the reason my body flooded with excitement whenever my pager went off. I became an EMT because I wanted to help people. I wanted to offer care and support when someone needed it the most. And although driving the ambulance to a hospital is a hugely important piece in what we do, that’s not what I came here for.
It’s getting to the point where I no longer get excited for calls. When the pager screeches, I sigh, listen to the dispatch information, and get in the driver’s seat. No paramedic wants to drive for much of the same reasons I don’t want to drive. They didn’t go to school to drive a truck. They went to school to help people too. But, because they have the higher provider license, they can make the call that I will drive and they will tech. After I help load the patient in the truck, I am expected to take my place in the driver’s seat and get us to the hospital.
Just for the record, this isn’t a rant about not wanting to be called an “ambulance driver.” Call me whatever you want, it really doesn’t bother me. I’m not looking down on the driver; I know getting to where we need to go is essential, and that’s a huge part of why we were called in the first place. And I don’t mind doing my share of the driving. I just miss teching. I miss helping. I miss caring. I miss using my skills, my head, and my heart. Right now, I feel like all I’m using is my right foot.