Wednesday, November 21, 2007


I took part in a departmental continuing education class for EMS last Sunday.  There were several stations set up- stretcher operation, stair chair, assisting ALS, things like that. These are the basics.  The things that are so rote, if you will, that you skip every other line while reading about it in a textbook.  But these things, nonetheless, are things you have to know. And know so well.  

One of the stations was how to properly fill out a PCR (patient call report).  One of my preceptors taught me to write "PFA" (psychological first aid) under the "other" category of the sheet when treating a patient.  PFA would consist of saying things to the patient like "Is this your first time in an ambulance? Yeah, mine too." Works wonders, actually.  But how in the world can any EMT get to that point of treating a patient without first getting through these rote basics? And, since there is no specific space on the PCR for indicating that PFA was administered (aside from the "other" line), the EMS system doesn't even expect PFA to be administered.  

Heck, even barbers have externship programs set up so that barber students can practice their profession before going out into the real world.  Not law though.  So long as you score high enough on the bar exam, you're good to go.   So, all you newly admitted attorneys out there, remember- give your clients a little PFA once in a while, even if you're not tested on it on the bar exam.  

And, while you're at it, don't be like all the recent law job applicants I have had to face in the last month.  Don't tell me that you "love the law".  Don't tell me that you really expect to "change the world".  Don't tell me that you want to "do some good in this world" with your law degree.  The only good you really want to do is get rich.  It's ok to use the money the way you want to use it, for, by the time you have earned the money, you have earned the right to do with it what you want.  Just be honest about it.  And cut the crap already.  

My dad was my preceptor.  He died some seven years ago or so, but he is still teaching me all about how to fill out the "other" section on my own personal PCR form. But its still so hard for me to get to that spot on the sheet, even more so nowadays in light of my ( almost) 3 year old princess and my sweet 4 year old hockey star.  There's no school to teach the formalities, or objective requirements, of being a daddy.  But no dad can beat themselves up too much over it all, for that would only detract from the kids. 

Learn. Absorb.  Get as much as you can from your preceptors while you still can.  And make sure that when you throw your stone in the pond, the water's ripples caress the shore with lessons of PFA.  If that's too esoteric for you, then just give the form back to the girl at the desk.   

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