My partner came to our service from the Big City EMS down the road. He has what I call the "Big City Attitude" most of the time. Don't get me wrong, he is an excellent medic and when someone is actually sick, he is one of the good ones to have around. But he had no patience whatsoever. Especially when it comes to patients that fall into the "BS" category.
We had a good day last shift, not too many calls. All but one were BLS, the other was just a simple diabetic. We sweetened her up and then she refused. She was a little old lady who had delt with her diabetes for over 20 years. Her husband had delt with it as well. All the while we were trying to start an IV he was up and moving around the little apartment they shared. You could tell he was nervous. He knew exactly what was wrong and that we would help her, it had happened many times before. But he was still anxious over his wife of over 40 years.
My partner was getting irritated at the husbands actions and how he was worrying us all with his advise and him going on and on about how she hadn't been taking care of herself as of late. I could see the growing frustration in my partner, so I stopped looking for an IV and got up to help the man look for whatever it was that he was searching for at the moment. I talked to him and offered reassurance that his wife was going to be OK. The look in his eyes was relief as someone was actually paying attention to what he had to say.
The rest of the day was all BLS. Most of them at nursing homes. Another little old lady fell and now she was having hip pain. She was scared that her hip was broken. Even though there was no deformity, shortening or rotation, I handled her with the same care that I would with my own grandmother.
A large lady had fallen out of her wheelchair while trying to get to the toilet. She was over 400 pounds and did not smell very well. She was having some trouble breathing and was embarrassed of being on the floor. We helped her up and I gave her one of our bedpans so she would not have to move from the bed to do her business. I listened to her story of how she had just been released from a long hospital stay for an infection. We got her situated and then left.
All through the day I made it a point to be nice. To listen to my patients, no matter what the circumstances or what they had to say. I noticed that as I continued to "be nice", my partner's attitude also changed. He didn't completely loose the "Big City Attitude", but he toned it down a great deal. It was as if my actions were effecting his. That by seeing how I was toward the patients, he unconsciously was doing the same.
Interesting how our attitudes and actions affect others around us, even those who we look up to and should be teaching us.....