Written By: Rachel Satterwhite
When I started my career in Emergency Medical Services (EMS), I remember one of my instructors saying I would likely have an advantage as a female. His statement initially perplexed me. He then elaborated, explaining he thinks patients tend to trust female paramedics more easily.
I thought his statement was probably only pertinent to intoxicated males who might “miraculously” become compliant if a female medic shows up after an all-male fire crew and police department have responded. But being in the field for a few years now, I believe more often than not, my instructor was on to something. I believe female paramedics may be able to connect with their patients more easily.
What we EMS workers do is hard work. There is a reason men tend to make up a greater percentage of employees, in general. We carry bags (usually at least 25 pounds), lift people up and down stairs and work a straight 12 to 24 hours at a time– in all kinds of conditions. But male or female, we tend to thrive on a little bit of excitement. Whether we’re driving with lights and sirens to a call or quickly gathering information and making important patient-care decisions, we are passionate about the work we do. EMS personality types tend to like a little bit of a challenge, which is why the very things that are difficult about our job are also the most enjoyable.
Ada County Paramedics is somewhat of an anomaly when it comes to the number of females working in the field. On a regular basis I have the pleasure of working with a lot of strong, intelligent women. They stand their ground against guys twice their size and have the self-confidence to command a scene and direct patient care.
On a more superficial level, if I’m working with a female partner and I need to pull my hair up because we’re headed to a more critical call, I know I’ll get an honest answer when I ask “does my hair look okay?” Male partners generally just responded “yes,” without even glancing up.
But I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy working with all of the “brothers” I inherited when I started working at Ada County Paramedics. They are always looking out for me. If I need help with a patient, they are more than happy to step in and assist. I can also always count on my “brothers” to make me laugh, and provide a different view on any number of subjects that I may not otherwise considered…or wanted to hear about.
At the end of the day, male or female, we are all working towards the common goal of providing the best healthcare for the people we help to each day. I am grateful to be employed with an agency where I am given the opportunity to work with so many talented individuals.
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