Happy National EMS Week!

This week has been set aside to show our appreciation for all EMS providers who step into a problem with knowledge, compassion, and respect for those they care for.

Many years ago, I started my journey in healthcare as an emergency medical technician (EMT). It was not long before I entered nursing school with the goal of becoming an emergency room nurse. Some 35 years later, I still have a soft spot in my heart for EMS and emergency room nurses.

Our eldest son is a paramedic. I hear his stories and recognize the impact he has on the people he cares for. He provides care in the unexpected, emergent world we all hope to never experience. When we do experience it, the event is a potentially life-changing moment. Having someone willing to step in and provide the care you require is life giving.

When we teach about therapeutic boundaries, we discuss the care continuum of empathy, compassion, and altruism. Empathy is the ability to understand what someone is feeling. This is an important skill but is not enough to provide the level of care we require in healthcare. Compassion is a step further: it is an understanding of how someone feels and a strong desire to alleviate their suffering. At the far end of the continuum is altruism. The willingness to help another at a risk to oneself. We tell most healthcare providers that compassion is the place where you want to operate from; altruism is a step too far for most of us. For those who are part of the EMS team, it is normal to operate from altruism. The risk is calculated: the team has prepared and trained to limit their risk, but each rescue has a risk that is willingly accepted to provide for those in need.

Even though we only celebrate EMS week once a year, we are all thankful for every EMS provider and offer you our thanks and prayers.