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Welcome to my life, a day in the life of an EMS Dispatcher. My work day usually consists of hitting the door and being bombarded with all the things that went on during the last shift, before I even get clocked it! The dialysis patient that still need to be transported home, the doctor appointments that are still out, and the patient that need transportation home from the hospital, all need to be taken care of.
This evening I have six crews on the clock and over half of them are roll-over crews, which means that they have been working all day and will be here until midnight. They are all tired; overworked and under fed. They are grouchy and just want to finish their paperwork. I understand this because I worked on the truck for twelve years before my shoulder finally gave out.
This is what I walk into every day. And people think that this is exciting? Between the scheduled transports, the hospital dumping, 911 calls and long distance transports (LD’s) the first few hours of my shift are spent juggling my crews to get it all done. We all laugh about how nice it would be to have a real hospital in town.
Yesterday we did nine LD’s (a transport to a hospital outside of our coverage area that usually averages more than 100 miles away). This shift we only have two LD’s so far, but the evening is young!
My nickname at work is momma, and that is what everyone calls me. Most days I feel like I am their momma, Making sure that they do their work and stay safe out there. That’s not always an easy job!
Tonight 911 paged us out for a man who was working under a dump truck when it slipped off its jacks and fell on him. I sent two paramedic crews on the call and with the volunteer fire department that covered that area, they freed the man, but he was in bad shape. I had to call and set up an LZ (landing zone) for the bird to come in and take the man to a trauma hospital that by ground is 110 miles away. Twenty minutes by air and the patient will be there.
The dispatchers office has a long deck that holds the multiple radios needed for 911, and our trucks, the phone who’s multiple lines ring constantly (I joke about how I have nightmares with that sound it them),and the two computers that are needed. Some days it seems like the phone and the 911 radios are connected because when one goes off they both, inevitably, do!
Multi-tasking is a must in this job and some days are better than others. Today has been a pretty busy day so far and no sign of it easing up for a while. I have always told our new hires that the pretty days are the busier days. While my days may be busy there is always something new every shift.