Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Response to AD on pay...

On the topic of pay, we are at 0% in the industry.  I am a Union man so I always feel there is not enough pay.  The problem is how do you judge what is right and fair with pay?

I work full-time in an industry that has nothing to do with EMS.  I can lay a sewer pipe to grade and repair or install water lines all day long.  My experience includes everything from being the laborer to the equipment operator and now spend my working hours inspecting or investigating problems.  It is a skilled labor job and I can go make $60k-$70K almost anywhere I want to go.  In my area an experienced Paramedic can expect wages in the area of $35K-$60K depending on whether you work for the small county service or larger Fire Based service.  Big difference is: I would be paid, at my current salary as a Medic, about $45K a year to work half the days I work now.  I think that puts me in the middle.  I want more, everyone does and should but, how do you justify that.

A lot of the people I know in EMS and at my full time job say we are paid way to little for "saving lives".  Lose the hero complex be honest with yourself and everyone else, when was the last time you actually saved a life?  99% of what we do in EMS is for patient comfort.  I may not be a popular person for saying that but, we see very few patients with true life threatening illnesses or injuries and the ones we do benefit far more from rapid transport and BLS care than anything in our ALS toolbox.  In my opinion the argument for more pay of "we save lives" works about as well as trying to eat a soup sandwich.

For every experienced Medic that is employed the local Paramedic Factory, read Community College, is turning out 10 green, never stepped foot in an ambulance except for clinicals, Paramedics.  These people want a job so bad that they will work for half of what an experienced Medic will work for.  The seat of the truck or lazy boy never cools off between employees and that is what is actually driving down the pay right now.  We are not the only industry experiencing that problem, Nursing has the same issue locally.

The larger issue with pay is the attitude it causes.  Maybe we should ask our patients what we should be paid.  Were they treated with respect and did we make them feel better or did their Paramedic or EMT treat them poorly because of they felt it was a waste of time to do this transfer or run.  The 25% Mr. Grayson refers to can be like a drink of sour milk.  Their attitude leaves a bad taste in the mouth of our patients and managers which reflects on the other 75%.  As one of the guys I respect and look up to, Elite Series Bass Fisherman Kevin VanDam, says "It's all about the attitude."  You have to change the culture if you want more pay and the culture cannot change until the attitude of entitlement changes.  Paramedics and EMTs exist for the patients they have not the paycheck they want.

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