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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Professionalism 101...

I came across a bit recently on a helicopter forum,

"Yes I am an Air-Evac pilot so I know you hate me before I even vent about the Vanderbilts "RudeNess" but I think everyone will agree.  

Well I was at Vanderbilt a few days ago and had to orbit the heli pad for about ten mins while another helicopter off loaded their patient.    The inside was wide open and still they would not let us land there.  Our patient was post CPR and tanking on us and Vanderbilt said  "DO NOT LAND ON THE INSIDE PAD"   its private.  Ok I understand that but they were so very rude about it over the radio.  

Well when we landed one of the Vanderbilt managers came up to me and said very LOUDLY to me.....   "THE INSIDE PAD IS PRIVATE FOR THEIR OWN HELICOPTERS AND THEY DIDNT CARE WHAT CONDITION OUR PATIENT WAS IN" and "THAT IF I DIDNT LIKE IT I COULD JUST TAKE OUR PATIENTS ELSE WHERE"   That is exactly the way she said it.     And when the medical crew came up the same Vanderbilt Manager repeated her self again to them.   

All I can say is that Vanderbilt needs to police their own..

Its no wonder Vanderbilt has the reputation thay have.   

I am sure this will get deleted because Vanderbilt HATES this forum.   

The truth hurts..........

I am sure many will agree with the problems that have had with Vanderbilt..."



This got me thinking about a column that flight nurse Kevin High wrote in an industry publication years ago. He anticipated some of the issues that would arise as the HEMS market became over-saturated and competitive pressures heated things up. Kevin wisely counselled that we should all take a deep breath and remember that we are now - and should ever strive to be - professionals. We fly sick people for a living. It's an honorable profession. 

Don't let someone strip you of your professionalism or the dignity of caring for other human beings.

Sidebar: Have you ever noticed, while driving at a safe distance behind another car in the left lane and waiting to get in front of slower traffic in the right lane, that an impatient driver will pass you on your right, then squeeze in the space in front of you.

This makes me want to close the gap.

But what could this result in? If someone up front stops suddenly it could be a multi-car crash. People could get hurt. 

So instead I take a deep breath and adjust my following distance on my new "leader." I refuse to let another driver drive my car.

We should all try and resist letting another person drive our emotions. It's better for our blood-pressure.

At the worker-bee level, those of us who occupy the aluminum office may not understand all the hidden agendas at play in HEMS and the hospitals. Unfortunately, HEMS attracts it's fair share of scoundrels and miscreants.

There's a ton of money washing around in the healthcare tub; and money makes people behave badly. Contracts come and go, new competitors pop-up, influence is bought and sold, people and companies strive for dominance...

Let someone else worry about that stuff. If you focus on being the best pilot, nurse, paramedic, comspec or technician, everything else will take care of itself. Do not fear what the future might bring. If you are excellent, your future is secure. HEMS is a very small world. Reputation is everything.

Think forward a few years. If you are lucky, you are going to get to be an old person, reeling in the years of your memories and thinking back on your life. The way you are now will matter then. A hospice nurse told me once that not one of her patients ever said "I wish I had made more money." The thirty or forty odd years of service you provide will end much more quickly than you might believe, and the way you have conducted yourself across that span will be very important to you then. Think of being decent now as an investment in your future self-satisfaction.

Managers get wrapped up in turf wars, struggles for market share, and quests for power. They get paid for this, that is their job and they no longer have to get into a helicopter at 3:00 am.

Let them worry about their worries, you mind the wonderful human resource that is you.  Remember that we crews are much more alike than we are different, no matter who we work for. We rarely get to pick the helicopter we crew, the equipment we carry, or the market we serve. "We are just glad to have a job." (Dutch Martin, retired HEMS pilot).

It is foolish to take an adversarial position with teams from another company, and trust me when I tell you that the senior leadership of your company are cordial when dealing with competitors. After all, mergers and acquisitions can make your competitor today your coworker tomorrow.

From personal experience, twice... When there is blood on the ground and we gather to show respect, all those "differences" become trivial. Believe it or not, competing crews refusing to talk to each other contributed to a fatal mid-air between two EMS helicopters.

"Not for you this fate..." (Yoda)

I worked in Valdosta, Georgia. A problem with Shand's Hospital in Gainesville cropped up. I was shown an email from a Shand'sCare manager in which she - in no uncertain terms - made it emphatically clear that NO helicopter was to land on "her" helipad without prior. freaking. permission. This woman lost her perspective and the ability to be reasonable. The management I worked for told me six different ways that I should not land at the Shand's helipad without talking my way into and out of trouble. I wore that Comspec's ears out on my next trip down there; talked to him on two radios, and said please and thank you fifty times.

I suspect this issue had less to do with safety concerns and more to do with a change of vendor. And some mid-level manager went off the deep end. But you know what?

Shands' hospital helipad is private property. And so is Vanderbilt's, In fact, all hospital helipads I have ever flown to were private. That means we need prior permission to land there. They may have rules in place, such as "no single engine aircraft allowed."

Rules like this may be legitimate safety concerns, or may be attempts to prevent competitors from operating in the marketplace. It wouldn't be the first time that safety was used as a weapon. It won't be the last.

If I had been the pilot in the mess described above, On the way in, I would have asked my comcenter to advise Vanderbilt of my patient's condition and for permission to land. If permission was delayed, I would have determined the length of delay and considered landing somewhere else or holding - whichever is fastest and best for the patient. If permission was denied, I would have diverted immediately. And my nurse would have charted all this.

That's all we as crews can do. We can't force a private hospital to let us land. And if we can't and the patient dies, it will be for someone else to sort out. That's why we document everything we do.

At the end of the day, all we can do is seek to maintain our perspective and our status as a...

Professional.

HelicopterEMS.com


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