I am a 23-year-old international student. I got a scholarship to study emergency medical services and I am in my senior year in college. Although I am a qualified EMT, I have not yet worked as an EMT yet. Pat Ivey’s book, EMT, beyond the lights and sirens is a very compelling read to me. I am able to relate to a number of issues raised by the author in the book. Pat Ivey worked as a cardiac technician in rural Virginia. One day, her sons got lost in the woods. It was while this search was going on that Ivey have to know of the Lake of the Woods volunteer rescue squad. The squad was called in to help in the search for her sons in the woods. It is from this point on that Ivey volunteered and began work with the EMT squad. Being a cardiac technician based at a hospital, she found the going tough at the beginning.
When responding to an emergency, the life of the victim literally depends on the EMT, the EMT’s skills and the equipment they have at hand. This is usually far removed from emergency rooms where a lot of equipment is available to help in taking care of the victim. Usually, the EMT has to use what they have at hand and stabilize the victim before they get further assistance at a hospital. I can relate to the reasons why she joined the EMT squad. Usually, we see things happening to other people and never put much thought into it. However, if we are faced with similar circumstances, we appreciate the help we get. Before getting the emergency medical services scholarship, I had always dreamed to be an EMT after watching firsthand how these groups of people give their lives in the service of others.
In the book, Ivey also describes how she handles her emotions. This is very important in everyday life but more so for an EMT. Ivey describes many situations where her emotions have been tested. There is a case where a child and her mother are involved in an accident. The mother dies while the child survives. Ivey returns to the scene of the accident to pick the child’s doll. The child does not know that her mother has died and Ivey discovers that her doll is exactly the same as one she had given her daughter earlier in the day she realizes that that accident could have happened to her and her daughter would be motherless.
However, she teaches us to deal with emotions and focus on her work. In her situation, being emotional would prevent her from carrying out her job properly. She also explains similar cases where a patient dies in an emergency. She closes off her emotions in order to be in the right mind to respond to the next emergency. I can relate to this emotional part of her story. This is because I intend to be a paramedic and it is important to know how to deal with my emotions in such situations in order to perform my job properly in future. It is also an important lesson that teaches me to do what I can do best and leave the rest to God. In all the cases, the victims die despite her best efforts to keep them alive. It is important to try our best always so that despite what the eventuality will be, we are not left with a burden in our conscience.
In her book, Ivey also talks about burnout. She talks of an incident where one of her colleagues quit because of burnout. Being an EMT is a full time job. Emergencies can occur at any time without warning and they range from motor accidents to fires and lost children. Ivey describes being an EMT as part of her life rather than being her whole life. It is part of her life just like her family is. She gives a good lesson in balancing the different parts of her life so that she does not suffer from burnout. This is an important lesson in life. I can relate to this closely. My family was not very well off and the scholarship to study Emergency Medical Services was a lifeline to me. Determined to take full advantage, I immersed myself into my studies and neglected other equally important parts of my life such as socialization. After reading her book, I was able to understand that I could still give my best in my studies without compromising other equally important areas of my life.
Pat Ivey’s life story as told in her book is relatable to many people and not only those in the emergency services. It gives us an opportunity to interrogate our lives and discover the reasons why we do what we do and whether we do it for the right reasons and if we do it to the best of our abilities. It is especially important to people in the emergency services as it provides insights on how to cope with the demands of the job.
Ivey, Pat. EMT: Beyond the Lights and Sirens. New York, NY : Open Road Integrated Media. 2014. Print.