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FROM THE EDITOR
know is beneficial in cardiac arrest and trauma
resuscitation. It’s also important in scene management and partner relationships. Consistent
and repetitive experience with someone puts
you in sync with them educationally, personally, mentally and physically.
It’s hard to keep in sync and know how
a partner will react under stress, what their
strengths and weaknesses are, whether they
know how to master and assemble items in
your ALS and airway kits, and whether they
will have your back during a dangerous call, if
you don’t really know them.
A COHESIVE, COORDINATED
The word partner in most EMS systems is a
misnomer. The assignment of partners is often
random; you’re not strategically matched or
paired with someone. Merriam Webster’s definitions present a great perspective of what a
true partner represents. A partner is:
>>One associated with another especially in
>>Either of two persons who dance together;
>>One of two or more persons who play
together in a game against an opposing side;
>>A person with whom one shares an intimate relationship;
>>A member of a partnership, especially in a
>>One of the heavy timbers that strengthen
a ship’s deck to support a mast.
I’ll use Bernie’s traits and training to illustrate how you can work in a more cohesive,
coordinated manner with associates so they
meet your expectations, understand your operating modes and, most importantly, keep you
in sync and safe on calls. I believe it all starts
with an awareness and basic knowledge of
Often you hear from others that “A.J. is
a fast, careless driver” (true), or, “A.J. never
misses an IV or ET tube insertion” (not true).
Their reputations (or warning signs) precede them and give you advanced knowledge
of them. If you know their known or perceived
strengths and, more importantly, weaknesses,
you can work to adjust your relationship.
In some cases, your seniority, reputation
and known strengths in EMS enable you to be
the lead (Alpha) and exert your expectations.
In other cases, particularly where the person
has an attitude or lack of respect for you, you
can first try the soft approach and discuss the
way you like to operate on calls and come to
an operational agreement— before taking calls.
If that approach doesn’t work, it can make
for a long shift (or career!)—unless you dig
your heels in and insist that certain actions be
taken on the way to a call, or after an uncoordinated call in a debrief discussion. (Never in
front of a patient or their family!)
Most partner/crew interactions and expectations should occur at the start of a shift as you
check out your units in advance of you first call.
As a volunteer paramedic, I covered every
Sunday evening for my department and occasionally had a different driver or crew that
signed up to be with me.
I set the tone by making sure everyone knew
where all equipment, drugs, supplies and safety
gear were located and who was assigned to do
what on a call: Airway management, IV and
drug set up, equipment retrieval, charting, etc.