Is ems worth it?

I was recently asked anonymously if I thought EMS as a career was worth it. I began to think about it. How to answer this question?

The truth of the matter is that the answer will be different for everyone. There will be some bad. Do not expect to get out on time, for example. Other jobs talk about the long hours, EMS relishes in making people get out of work late. You have plans right after a 12 hour shift? Here’s a cardiac arrest 20 minutes out of your area. There’s a concert or event you want to go to, you’re on shift. Accept this and you will be much happier, I still haven’t been able to do this.

There will be boring, regular calls. These can tire you out more than the real ones. Don’t let them get to you.

Sometimes we are not recognized for what we do. Belittled and called drivers. Us in EMS don’t do the job for the glory. At least not those of us who have been in it for a long time.

I have described EMS and a career in EMS like a marriage. Initially you are enraptured and in awe. You love all aspects of the job. You find little things that are annoying but you find them endearing. You’re tired, half lost as you learn the ropes, but you are happy. This is the honeymoon phase. This will end.

Next you start to feel the repetition wearing you down. You start to hate aspects of the job. The drunks, the regulars, the transfers, THE PAY. Some people stall out here. Some stay in this phase and don’t leave it or the field. The honeymoon is over. This is where some burn out. Their drive to learn is gone. They stop believing EMS does much good. They become paycheck medics. Most negative comments (pure negative) come from this group. Some can never get through this stage.

Then some grow past. These medics can see the faults in EMS but have learned to understand them. Like a long marriage you understand there is no perfection. There are things you don’t like but you stand them because you love the field.

There are going to be times you hate EMS and that hate can spill over onto people because of what you are going to see them do to each other. There will be greatness. There will be moments when you can’t see yourself doing anything else.

Is it worth it?

I can answer for myself and in my situation I can answer with a resounding yes. Will it be worth it for you? I think that at the minimum you will learn a lot, the rest you will have to answer for yourself.

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