Why do we come here?


Forum Chief
Remember your first call? I do. The date, who was working, what it was. I can see all of their faces. I think about how our paths diverged.

The patients are simple to follow. They are buried in the same place they were a few days later. (Not for lack of Herculean efforts I might add)

The providers. Only one is at the same department. Most are fire officers, or nurses now. One is a PA. But for a moment in time, we were united in one place for common purpose. To be the best at saving lives.

As I look around the forum here, I wonder if we are similar. We are at one place. We could be on any other forum, or not at all. It doesn’t seem like we have a common purpose though.

So what is our link? What brings us together?

We don’t share a profession. We don’t share an employer. We don’t even share an ideal.

We are around people all day who need help.

Sometimes we can help them. Sometimes we can’t. Sometime our heart is really in it. Sometime it is not.

One of the places I really enjoyed working is a very busy charity hospital. (inner city, as if there is another kind) I remember being drained, physically, mentally, emotionally. In my 4 years I saw 5 managers come and go. Countless employees. When I go back to visit, the few old hands that remain are very glad to see me. (hard to imagine isn’t it?) We have been tested, and we were not the ones who succumbed to addiction, burnout, apathy, or mental disorder. Is that same celebration what we are doing here?

“If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.” Was something we used to chant like a prayer.

Perhaps EMS is similar. From the oldest here to the youngest, we set out to be in conflict with the all 5 of the conflicts of classical Greek tradition simultaneously.

Man vs. man. We fight among ourselves to lay claim to being of the true faith and way about our EMS entity.

Man vs. society. We struggle to define ourselves and show value so our budgets are slashed and our hopes of continuing to help people are upheld. We are under constant threat of litigation.

Man vs. Nature. Using medicine, no matter how rudimentary, I think it is self evident this is perhaps where we focus most of our attention.

Man vs. the supernatural. The Greeks defined this as not a deity but that which is beyond the understanding of man. As the low people on the healthcare totem pole, with the most basic education, the unknown is quite formidable.

Man vs. himself. Sooner or later every provider must wrestle with himself. Mental security, value, staying connected with others, compassion, empathy, and the list goes on.

Perhaps that is our common bond. Who outside of healthcare has to contend with all of this at once?

Some are still striving for excellence, some to merely survive the next day or shift.

What is the common bond? Is there a common goal or purpose, are we just paying our dues on the way to something better, or are we just addicts?

As I look back at all that I had hoped to accomplish in EMS, and see that little has actually come to pass. I wonder if it is like the camaraderie of soldiers in war. We huddle together because nobody really understands this “emergency” thing but the people who have experienced it.

What do you think?

Why do you come here?


Forum Culinary Powerhouse
I think we're united in a sort of teacher/pupil way. I know I'm here to learn, and I have learned so much, even indirectly, from you, JP, Linuss, USAF, Firetender, DT4EMS... the list goes on. And when I can pass that information on to other people it shows me the true value of a learning community such as this one.

I think all of us learn something on here, and I think all of us have something to teach. Whether you're a prominent, steady figure on this board or you lurk around and add a tid-bit here and there once a month doesn't matter, we all contribute to the whole. Yes, even the guy who starts the 23453242353rd thread about boots in six months.


Dances with Patients
Well, I tend to keep things simple. Sometimes overly so, so I thought this was a place for addicts.

You could be right though, or it could be a combination of both: the simulateous fight against the 5 conflicts is addicting for those whom it does not destroy?

I know I groove on chaos, on directing a team to control it, and with a little drama thrown in, it's all the better. I see this in the non-EMS related projects I take on, in life, and in EMS. And above all, I'm a fixer. I see a problem, I fix it, or I try to (except home maintenance).


Forum Deputy Chief
I come here to teach and to learn. I often learn the most from those who are just starting out their careers since they force me to think more to give them a complete answer. If you want to stay sharp, keep yourself surrounded by students.

I also come here to be kept grounded. I would say "humble" but I don't want anyone getting hurt laughing themselves out of their chairs upon reading that. I always run into people here as smart, if not smarter than me which really helps to remind me that while I might be a damn good provider, there is always someone better out there.


Forum Vice-Principal
Community Leader


Lesser Ambulance Ape
I'm primarily here to learn. There are a lot of things I would've never even known about without this forum. It's also a more productive way to kill time than Facebook.


Forum Deputy Chief
I'm primarily here to learn. There are a lot of things I would've never even known about without this forum. It's also a more productive way to kill time than Facebook.
I, for one, am glad you're here. I've learned a lot from you.


Why do I post here and in other internet forums?

There's benefit in sharing knowledge. I know things that other people don't know. Other people know things that I don't know. Some of the times it's from education. Some of the times it's from experience (especially when it comes to practical advice). So I can learn from others here, but I can also teach here.

I believe that there are systemic problems in how EMS is ran today. Some of my views may be in error, which can be brought out and changed via discussion. The very same discussion may open someone else's eyes to what I'm seeing, and now I have a new ally to hopefully someday effect change.

As a student, I am not currently engaged in directly providing care, and won't be independently providing care for another few years. However, if I can pass on things I've learend either in school or while working as an EMT to others, especially new providers, than that is just as good as providing care directly.


Community Leader Emeritus
I'll try to keep it short!

But you know me!

Vene. you're asking delicious questions, Mahalo!

In 2005 I landed a N.Y. Literary agent to represent my book Moments; a Paramedic's Journey. Just before we sent it out, though, thinking it might find better acceptance as a "bridge" between Allopathic and New Age thinking, I worked in a lot of what I had learned while exploring the healing arts as a whole. You'd read it today and go, "Jesum, he ruined a great medic story and turned it into Airey-Fairie BS!"

While the agent was sending it around to the publishers, I started hooking up with this site and lurking. I noticed that people here were starting to talk about some things that were couched in silence before. I also learned that almost EVERYTHING in EMS had changed; that's to say most of the interventions I used in 1980 have been debunked and banned!

That changed everything. So, soon I started contributing, really trying to scope out where things are at 30 years later; how, if in any way had the culture changed?

It really didn't matter. I just kept contributing where I felt I had something to offer. For the most part, I'd say I was seeking to chime in in areas where medics hit some sort of a wall. My position has always been we need to learn how to support each other in more than technical ways, so I just started doing it to see what happened. In the meantime, I had a lot of fun testing my old skills against today's situations.

Some people responded; primarily because I really made an effort to meet them where they were at. Having lived in many, many different skins as a medic (and before and since in extremis!), there was little territory I wasn't familiar with. Along the way, I P.O.'d some people, sounded like an FNG Idiot, and took some lumps...I loved it!


A year passed and the agent quit the biz due to ill health, abandoning my work. I was happy because that version was useless to YOU, and I realized, if I can't reach the people who are in the thick of it, why bother?

So I did one more goddamned re-write, using earlier true short stories and after a couple years work, published the monster myself!

So now was I here to sell the book?

It would have been nice...maybe a whole lot easier, but that's not what happened. I kept learning from you, and began to better understand the ways I might be able to contribute to forming the upcoming culture of the paramedic. The truth is, you got me in DEEPER than I ever imagined.


Next thing I knew, I was a blogger who was using EMS as a metaphor to better understand what's going on with medicine and its relationship with human beings as a whole. As I'd learn things here, I'd put them on my EMSoutsideagitator blog, and then translate that over to my book page's blog for a broader audience.

Who is feeding me all my material for exploration? You guessed it, YOU are!

And to be perfectly honest, the territory I've covered here has gone so far beyond the scope of my intention for the book that even it has become a reference as reminder of my own background to me.

Having said that, I'm sure I'll be writing other books based on what I'm learning here and sharing them with you.

But am I here to sell books? Nope; I got addicted, just like you, for all of the above; but primarily because I get to contribute to the future of my first love by supporting the people who WILL carry it into the future!

(FULL-DISCLOSURE; any creative undertaking I have launched has failed commercially because I pretty much abhor marketing; apparently, I know too much about myself to put me on a pedestal!)

I have no doubt my book will sell as long as I walk my talk. Even if that one falls flat, I'll get to build another one even cooler.

Once again, I'm glad you asked that question, Vene, because something I haven't acknowledged until this moment is that this site does have the scent of community-in-action with a really interesting and varied cast of characters, attitudes, dysfunctions and glories!


Does that answer your question?
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Forum Deputy Chief
I play games and go on forums to discuss the game, I program and go on forums and IRC to discuss programming, and then I took a First Responder class and decided to follow my usual routine of finding a forum to discuss EMS. Why I go on forums and IRCs in the first place? Discuss strategies in games, discuss different packages, modules, API, syntax, lib, whatever for programming, and I like going on here to learn from you guys. A lot of the things you guys say fine tune and add to my knowledge and skills, I consider you guys my guidance like the books I buy and read, going to school, and learning little things like what the angle of louis (sternal angle), or your recent scenario which I learned about clinical trachial deviation (3mm from the line drawn from the jugular notch to the mental protuberance), etc. In games and programming, I can offer help, but here, I am mostly a student/observer.