—The Duct Tape and WD40 Solution
My inbox imploded . . .
FlightSafetyNet blog got pummeled with emails.
And that’s actually saying something since its one of the most highly read and popular blogs in EMS.
But it wasn’t all good news. . .
Some emails were damning. Like the one that spurred this article.
Here’s what happened:
This week’s scheduled blog post, “Ten Signs Your EMS Base Is Toxic” went live on Wednesday. 10 minutes later the email floodgates opened. Here is a link to the original article if you missed it: Ten Signs Your EMS Base Is Toxic
The article stirred a lot of emotion. EMS and air medical crews identified with it. Many had lived it.
Hope Is Not A Strategy
One email in particular got my attention.
It took me all the way back to my Army Infantry Officer days. I could literally hear Captain Chodur’s voice again:
“Lieutenant Shaffer, hope is not a strategy. You need to bring me solutions, not more problems. I got plenty of problems of my own. Do we understand each other Lieutenant?”
I always knew when Sam (Capt Chodur) addressed me by rank in one-on-one conversations, he was kindly telling me he meant it both as a friend and as my boss.
Captain Chodur was right 30 years ago, and the flight nurse who sparked this email, was right this week.
It’s not enough to just spur emotion. You have to give solutions too.
That’s what this article is about. A sort of “quick fix” for toxic EMS bases.
A Quick Fix For Toxic Bases
What do you do if your EMS or air medical base is toxic? What immediate action steps can you take to fix it?
Implement a “Dropped Ball Policy.”
Remind yourself that your EMS and air medical employees always want to do well. When they mess up, it’s almost always unintentional.
What’s a “Dropped Ball Policy?”
A way to keep your EMS and air medical team members from demonizing themselves. A policy that in effect says “We expect mistakes, it’s part of life. Here’s how we deal with them when inevitably they occur. Smile, because you’re not even close to the first person to mess something up.”
Your policy should include both an emotional/spiritual process for dealing with self-judgment, as well as a strategic/tactical process for creating systems or environments that reduce the chance of the mistake being repeated.
Again, your assumption as an EMS or air medical manager must be everyone on the team cares and cares deeply, and that no mistakes are the result of sloppiness or laziness- they are either the result of
- a) misunderstanding
- b) learning curve
- c) unrealistic deadlines or unrealistic work loads
- d) personal stuff going on that is distracting
- e) a frickin’ mistake!
Perfection belongs to the Divine. The rest of us carry erasers, compassion, and a dustpan.
Start with this policy or a similar one. You’ll be amazed by the trust, support, and respect it instantly establishes within your EMS or air medical team.
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