White Shirt and No Pants - Administration and Leadership - @ JEMS.com


White Shirt and No Pants

 

 
 
 

Guy H. Haskell | | Thursday, May 14, 2009


The company was growing. Two unlikely partners had gotten together, and they had purchased the old, mom-and-pop ambulance service in town, which had two hoopty trucks and a garage in the back of a house on Middle Avenue.

One day, Joe, one of the partners, excitedly called me to tell me they had gotten the 9-1-1 contract for the city, which had about 57,000 residents. I couldn't believe it. How the heck did they get the contract with these two jalopies, a rundown shack of a garage, no ALS equipment and no staff? Well, I guess Joe was very persuasive.

But, somehow we did it. We stuck a dispatcher in the "day room," built a couple of bunk beds, got two used, cantankerous MRL monitors, took good care of patients and never missed a call -- even if it meant Herb had to stay up all night rebuilding the transmission on Medic 83 himself, which he did, I think more than once -- and even if it meant we went for days on end without seeing our homes or families. It was the best of times. It was, well, a crazy time.

Joe took me out to lunch one day and offered me the position of training director. I was young and cocky, and na ve and excited. Training director, wow. It was apparently up to me to make up what it was I was supposed to be directing and training. It also was apparently up to me to figure out how I was going to make folks do the training I was supposed to be directing -- with no budget, no schedule, and no specific authority to enforce anything. But I got to wear a white shirt and have a gold nameplate. I even got to wear gold caducei on my lapels. (These were known to Joe as "medusas," as in "Haskell, where your medusas at?" a question he asked one day when I forgot to put them on). But best of all, my salary went up from $6 an hour to $7!

My dreams of power started to unravel rather quickly. I put certification information forms in everyone's mailbox, asking them to submit copies of all their current certifications. I think two came back completed. The rest, well, I either never got back or got back with some earthy sayings directed at my parentage.

But, the clearest expression of the power of my newly bestowed authority came the first day I arrived to give a shift change report in my glowing new white shirt and resplendent gold insignia. As I was giving the report, I was approached from behind and my trousers were promptly pulled to my ankles. I must admit I earned a degree of fame by continuing my report unperturbed, but the message came across loud and clear.

Having learned the lesson that the trappings of authority without real authority are worse than meaningless, I ignominiously withdrew back into my blue shirt. I think the medusas are still in a drawer somewhere.




Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: Administration and Leadership, Leadership and Professionalism, Training, Guy Haskell

 
Author Thumb

Guy H. HaskellGuy H. Haskell, PhD, JD, NREMT-P, has been an EMS provider and instructor for more than 25 years and in four states. He is a paramedic with Indianapolis EMS, Director of Emergency Medical and Safety Services Consultants, LLC, firefighter/paramedic with Benton Township Volunteer Fire Department of Monroe County, Indiana, and Clinical Editor of EMS for Gannett Healthcare. Contact him via e-mail at ghasell@indiana.edu.

BROWSE FULL BIO & ARTICLES >

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Buyer's Guide Featured Companies

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Improving Survival from Cardiac Arrest Using ACD-CPR + ITD

Using active compression-decompression CPR with an ITD has been shown to improve 1-year survival from cardiac arrest by 33%.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Philadelphia Fire Department Apologizes for Medic’s Jab at Police

Union head calls photos a slap in the face of officers.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

D.C. Fire and EMS Crews Blame New Technology for Patient’s Death

Delayed response blamed on recurring dispatch problems.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Suspect Steals, Crashes Maryland Ambulance

One killed, others injured in Prince George’s County crash.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Truck Strikes Pedestrians in Scotland

Six killed in downtown Glasgow.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Tennessee Trench Rescue

Worker pulled from Roane County worksite.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Time’s Ebola Firefighters

Doctors, nurses and others saluted for fighting virus.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >