Retiring medics email

It’s sad but true that we are all on a time limit. Be it in an ems career or in life. So few of the patients I deal with see life is about to throw them a curve ball when it slams into them. I remember one patient who was about to sign the papers for a new vehicle suddenly had extreme weakness and called the ambulance. We arrive and find a man having classic signs of a stroke. His family was probably waiting for him at home to drive up in a new car and now there is something new and evil present in their life.

Few of us reach the end of our careers and can look back at life well lived, work well done. I came upon this email from a retiring medic. I found many of these points talk directly to me. I am reproducing them now with a link to the original post at the bottom:

A retiring medics last stand

Although I post a lot of religious/my life stuff on here, this was an email I received from a retiring medic. 30 years on the job and this was his “goodbye”. I only know who he is because I was in a position that made me travel to every station and talk to almost every paramedic we have.
Great piece of writing. Cheers!

“I’m another one of those retiring medics (I started back when Karma Chameleon was on the radio and Ghostbusters was at the theater and you had to find a payphone if you wanted to make a call outside your house) but please don’t give me a gold watch, a radio sign-off, or a going away breakfast. Just let me have your ear for a minute and I’ll share with you some things I’ve learned that lead to an EMS state of nirvana:

1. Get a life. You have got to have a non- work related hobby (collecting EMS patches doesn’t count).

2. Be nice. It just makes life a lot easier and always keeps restaurant staff from spitting in your drink. I still can’t figure out why the Yankees don’t get it.

3. Get a good partner. This applies to home too, but it really makes a difference who is sitting beside you in the cab all day. I mean, you have to listen to them more than your spouse; so make sure they don’t just yak endlessly about absolutely nothing, unless of course you also like to do that.

4. Corollary to the above point: Always have your partner’s back. And I don’t mean a knife in the back. You’re a team.

5. Enjoy what you do. If you don’t want to be in the back of the truck taking care of patients, might I suggest you find what you do want to do and do it? Unhappy medics hurt themselves, their patients, and those of us unfortunate enough to get stuck riding with them for months on end…..long, long months.

6. Do sweat the small stuff. Sometimes it’s the small stuff that makes the difference in what we do. What not to sweat is the unimportant stuff; the trick is choosing the unimportant things correctly.

7. It’s not about the money. Don’t get me wrong, it is about the money in that we all work to put food on the table; but be an investment broker or an EMS medical director if you want that new Ferrari for your next birthday. Just don’t work yourself into a crispy state trying to make up for the income deficit.

8. It’s about the patient, not you. We are not served; we serve.

9. Stay under the radar. Best for admin to not even know who you are. (As in “Robert who is retiring?”)

10. Smile. There is never any shortage of things to laugh about at EMS. Some are even HIPPA compliant.

11. Be your own best crispy meter. When you’re feeling a little on the fried side, use your vacation time.

12. Be humble. The medic who thinks he’s the best medic in the world, never is. Continue to grow as a medic for your whole career.

I still enjoy being a medic and know I’ll miss it, but 30 years is long enough.
I’ll be up in the mountains, waist deep in a trout stream, feel free to stop by, but don’t spook the fish, and please don’t talk about any “good” calls as, back in the day, we came to work and we gave everything we had on a call, but then you went home and thought about other things.”


  1. Reblogged this on The Cot Jockey.

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