I've been thinking about this for a long time, trying to put it into words. The only way I can say it is...
I love my job. I hate my work.
Confused? Well it kinda hinges on your definition of "Job" and "Work".
To me, my JOB is to get to the sick and injured, effect pre-hospital treatments etc, and if required, get them to a place of definitive care, be that A+E or another alternative. Rolled into this is caring, supporting, comforting and doing whatever I can to make a patient’s life that bit better. This may be from a bit of reassurance for the little old dear who has fallen over but has nothing seriously wrong with them, to full blown CPR for someone who is dead, and everything in between.
However for me WORK is my job PLUS all the politics PLUS all the time wasters PLUS the retarded computer system that believes a little old dear who has fallen over and probably done her hip in and has been on the floor for ages is less important that a 19yo who's just split up with their partner and is now having "Difficulty in Breathing" (aka Crying / Panic Attack) PLUS the ever pending threat of being run by management for the slightest thing PLUS all the pay cuts PLUS the distinct lack of moral getting me down day in, day out etc.
See the difference?
Now I am, or at least try to be, a positive person. I go to work with the best intentions. Unfortunately, over the last few months, this positivity has been worn down to almost nothing. I've been told off by management for various things, moaned at for doing my job properly rather than cutting corners, questioned by hospital people on my treatment even though what I did was best for the patient. I still love my job, but it seems day after day after day I am not doing my job. I'm a glorified clock stopper. I'm there to meet targets, not to help people. I am there to bend to the will of the management and not do what is right.
The worst of it all? I see myself turning into "the others". The old school lot who just sit around and moan. Who do as little work they can. Who will do everything not to carry a patient because they don't want to, even though they should. Who have extended skills but refuse to use them. Who don't assess because "What's the point - they ignore us at hospital. Lets just get them in and off to hospital and let them sort it out"
I don't want to be like this. I really don't. That is not why I became a Paramedic.
A few weeks ago I heard myself say "Well, all we can do is take you to hospital". I was shocked. Even though in this case that was true, and we did need to take the patient, it seemed awful to actually say that.
So, how do you cope? How do you stay positive when all around you is going to faeces? What can you do to keep that enthusiasm you had at the beginning intact? Is it so wrong to just want to help people? Perhaps I care too much and that's the problem. Because I do care, the fact I'm not being allowed to care is what is getting me down?
Soon things are going to be changing. In a couple of months I'm moving off the rapid response unit back onto ambulances (mostly). It's not as good a rota, it may even mean less time with my missus, but I feel that the car is partly to blame with in all this, so I'm having a change to see if it helps. If it doesn't, well I don't know what to do.
I am, however, going to make a promise to myself: I will do my upmost to continue to do whatever I believe to be in the patient’s best interests. Even if this means I am unpopular with the colleagues. Even if this takes me longer and I am off home late. If the patient warrants my care (which admittedly very few of my patients actually do!) then I will give 110% of my efforts to that individual. While I may feel shit at the moment with work, I am not going to let my patients suffer.
On a lighter note, my new years resolution to do at least one blog a month failed miserably. Mainly because of the above. I've been rather down recently and trying to muster enough energy (and find the time) to write all this down in a way I feel happy with. However, I'm hoping that this post, and the pending change of work conditions may help things. I've other things on my mind that I want to blog about, so hopefully there will be a march blog sooner rather than later.
As always, no idea if anyone is going to read this. No idea if anyone will actually care. I fear, having spoken to friends / colleagues / relatives in various services around the UK that I am certainly not alone in my feelings. But hopefully there will be someone who reads this and realises "it's not just me then" and feel slightly less alone. After all, misery loves company.
Keep calm and carry on!