I heard a story some years ago that went something like this: A lumberjack who worked in the great northwestern forests of the U.S. was given a proposal. The owner of the company told him that he would triple his pay, but the catch was that the lumberjack would have to remove the head of his ax and chop down trees with just the wooden handle. And he would only be able to swing his wooden handle with the same amount of force as before.
Despite a flagging economy, more than 4,000 people attended the 2009 EMS Today Conference & Exposition in Baltimore, Md., March 24Ï28. Their effort did not go unrewardedƒattendees enjoyed thought-provoking discussions, fruitful networking opportunities and a crowd-pleasing JEMS Games final scenario.
Why is it that any time someone stands up for volunteers, a small but vocal group of individuals (usually paid providers) seems to go out of their way to put us down? Why do they seem to believe volunteers are the root of all evil?„
Imagine you_re sitting in your office and everything seems calm. You make your way through e-mails, sign some documents and return a few calls. There aren_t any meetings scheduled. The radio is quiet. This may be a good day to start working on some of those projects that have been pushed to the back burner.„
True learning occurs when individuals or organizations frame their problems of practice as learning opportunities. My last article looked at improving your organization one shift at a time on an individual basis, but sometimes there are larger organizational concerns.„
Times are tough. First, the housing market collapsed, and Congress drafted legislation to provide $350 billion to help borrowers refinance their mortgages. Next, the credit market collapsed, and creditors got bailed out. Then, the auto industry warned they were on the brink of collapse, and they got a presidential bailout.„
During the Vietnam War, updated body counts were reported on the evening news, almost as commonplace as baseball scores. The idea was that the higher the number of communists we killed, the more successful people would think we were. In retrospect, this concept of counting bodies was a measurement without value.„But it_s common to focus on an obvious scale of success or failure, during war or in civilian life. In EMS, we often follow the same senseless approach and count unimportant areas of our performance.„
If there_s one thing volunteer and paid departments have in common, it_s complaining members. The specific complaints vary, but they usually center around management, the EMS system in general or, sometimes, even patients. Although some may be honest appraisals of current situations, many are just the ramblings of providers who are stressed, burned out or have a perpetually bad attitude. This dichotomy makes it difficult for management to sift through the negativity and act appropriately.„
An international EMS competition this month may have taken place in the Dead Sea region of Israel, but the Sussex County (Del.) EMS team's performance was far from dead -- their exceptional performance saving lives in emergency scenarios (although simulated) earned them third place out of 37 teams from across the globe.
Volunteer„EMS tends to consist of the haves and have-nots when it comes to finance, but money actually may be the root of -- and solution to -- all of our problems. If your organization doesn't have enough money to maintain your building, equipment and basic response needs, money is the root of all problems. If, on the flip side, your department enjoys an abundance of cash, the problem is how to spend it appropriately, keep members happy and avoid turning into a commercial entity.„