In the old days, EMS personnel were expected to drive the ambulance and then plan the funeral. Life was seemingly simple.
But now, a paramedic's job description is never long enough. It is far beyond showing up and bringing the hearse. I joke that I am paid for 'readiness' as my excuse to earn money sleeping. But readiness is a big part of the job. In the station, I am chef, maid, and janitor. I track supplies, check medications and restock. On calls, a paramedic is driver, interviewer, negotiator, the calm of the storm. A paramedic is the medicine giver, the airway guru, the IV ninja. A paramedic is the authority, the decision-maker, the therapist, listener, and giver of advice. We take care of every type of patient and yet have no specialty.
I'm not sure why I'm compelled to point this out. I think that it is easy to forget how dynamic this job really is. It is very easy to forget the expectations of this job. One must be all of these things and do them all well, 100% of the time. That is something a little unfair about medicine. We hold ourselves very accountable and try to to the right thing every time. The public holds us even more accountable and expects us to be perfect people as well as perfect practitioners.
I worry about that sometimes. Well, a lot of times. But at the end of the day a paramedic is a human.