Paramedics who 'put down' nurses

Posted

This post is not intended to knock paramedics because I know they do an important job, but I was just wondering if any of you have experienced this.

I work in ICU/CCU and the facility is going through some remodelling of the units so they have shut down a part of it to bring in the new equipment and stuff. Since the units are now functioning at about half their usual capacity they have been floating us out to tele and to the ER. I had never worked as an ER nurse before and I've never had much opportunity to work alongside paramedics so the nurse/paramedic relationship is all new to me. I've noticed since day one that the RNs and the paramedics in this ER hate one another but tolerate one another only because they have to, and they use every opportunity to make verbal snipes at one another.

The ER RNs say the paramedics who come through there do not respect them because they consider RNs to be patient aides. My preceptor there told me that the 'us against them' culture has existed for a long time and that nurses have been forced to stand up for themselves after taking many years of abuse from both the physicians and the paramedics. I'm pretty new in the ER and I've already heard many of the jokes and insinuations about how stupid nurses are, but I decided against getting involved in it. The nurse manager is the quiet type who lets things slide and does nothing to back up her nurses so the situation goes on and on.

Recently, I went to renew my ACLS Certification and all of the instructors were paramedics. Just from listening to their derogatory jokes about nurses and patient care in emergency situations made me wonder if this is something that happens everywhere. Some of these guys really do believe that they know it all, and it is a joke to them that we call ourselves professionals. One of them even had the stones to ask if there were any physicians in the class because they've had "problems" in the past with physicians who questioned some of the things they say in their presentations. They all laughed about that because they thought it was funny for an MD to question their judgment about how to best stabilize a crashing patient in a specific scenario. I didn't think there was anything funny about that because no matter how experienced you are or how much you think you know, you can always learn something from another person, right? Apparently, not these guys.

The jokes were bad enough during the class that I had to say something to get them to stop, but even more alarming was the fact that so many nurses in the class were also laughing at these jokes that were intended to make us look foolish and incompetent. I wasn't going to say anything because I just wanted to get my certificate and get the heck out of there, but they crossed the line with the jokes when one of them suggested to another that only effeminate or gay men are nurses but that you had to be rough and tough to be one of them. Of course, I had to stop them right there, not just because I am not gay or because I am a man but because I just couldn't believe that these unprofessional louts were actually teaching an ACLS class.

I just don't get what's up with all this arrogance. I thought we were supposed to be working together as a team?

hospitalstaph

hospitalstaph

Specializes in ER. Has 3 years experience. 443 Posts

Sorry to hear about your experience. I am a student so I have not worked with any medics, but the 3 three that I know are all in school to get their RN:) BTW, two are very, very nice and the third will be a real pain to any ER that he ends up in.

Too bad that we can't all just work in the patients best interest:uhoh3:

T

optimisticSRNA

optimisticSRNA

Specializes in MICU, SICU. 66 Posts

I have had similar experiences, not in ACLS, but in a recent PALS course. The medics teaching the class had nothing but bad stuff to say about nurses and docs. I would say they were more insulting to the docs, but I was honestly appalled by the comments that were made. I work in an ICU setting, so my contact with medics and EMTs at work is pretty limited, when they bring us a direct admit, things are usually pretty smooth.

However, I am married to an EMT, who is currently going throug Paramedic school. We talk about this topic every once and a while. I did mention my PALS experience to him, and his thinking was that the medics teaching it were just the "paragod" type medics. I'm not so sure though. Of course, MY hubby is nice to nurses, just as I'm always prepared for medics and EMTs. I will be interested to see where this conversation goes.

On the topic of Paramedics, though, I do think it's sad that they make so little an hour, it is such an important job! When hubby first started as an EMT, my brother had just started a job delivering pizza. Guess who made more? Yeah, the pizza delivery guy.:uhoh3: Scary, isn't it?

For what they do, they should be commended. If I had my pick of who to be with at an accident scene, I'd have to go with a medic, in all honesty. I feel like I would be a deer in headlights coming up on an accident scene. Take away all the technology of ICU, and I'm just another person who can help with the ole "pump and blow". :sofahider

Good topic, let's see what happens here:)

Nurse Kern

TazziRN, RN

6,487 Posts

The two ER's I have worked in, there has always been a good working relationship between the ER staff and the ambulance crews. Each medic/EMT, as well as each RN, however, is at risk of being looked down on if there is a bad experience with that particular person. A medic lost my respect when he brought in a code that he couldn't intubate because of a bull neck, or start a line on. The scenario wasn't making sense and he was asked on the radio if there was any lividity. When the pt got to the ER we started trying lines; another nurse lifted an arm and looked underneath and the doc asked what she was looking at: "The lividity." The pt had been dead for several hours and was in rigor, that's why he couldn't be intubated. Instead of asking what lividity was, the medic faked it.

That goes two ways. I have heard horror stories from the medics about a nurse at a neighboring facility, bad enough that she lost her MICN.

tex-anna

tex-anna

11 Posts

Anyone who acts like they are THE MAN or THE WOMAN is not there for the patient! Afterall, if we didn't have patients, we would not have jobs!!! Healthcare is a team effort!

milky

milky

41 Posts

OH YES!!! Nurse Guy FL, try being an LPN in a LTC facility!!! Paramedics REALLY love to rag on us!!!! Although I have dealt with some really great ones.....but pretty rare!

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 16 years experience. 226 Articles; 27,608 Posts

I work at a nursing home. About 2 weeks ago one of my fellow nurses had sent a resident out to the hospital after noticing mental status changes. When the paramedics arrived at the nursing home to transfer the resident, this nurse stated, "Yeah, this same patient coded on a UTI over 2 months ago."

After the nurse made this statement, the paramedics burst out in laughter. I have had to send out very few patients to the hospital in my short time as a nurse, but I do notice the cavalier attitudes of many paramedics.

LeahJet

LeahJet, ASN, RN

Specializes in ICU,ER. Has 10 years experience. 486 Posts

The medics teaching the class had nothing but bad stuff to say about nurses and docs.

Insecurity...plain and simple.

HididiScribbler

HididiScribbler

Specializes in NICU. 86 Posts

I have two friends who are paramedics...I haven't really talked about it with one of them, but I've talked about nursing, medicine and all sorts of things with the other. He was thrilled for me when I got into nursing school, has friends who are nurses and seems to have nothing but respect for the nursing profession. There are also some paramedics becoming RNs at my school...

So, I was surprised when I started clinicals and the paramedics would laugh at us as we came out of the hospital. Now, we do wear bright white uniforms, but really?! They also never talk to the nurses...

It seems so silly and pointless to have some hostility or complete disrespect for nurses...and that just leads to nurses having hostility for paramedics.

To be fair, though, some of the nurses (and CNAs) at the hospital were worse to us than the paramedics...there's nothing like being at the bottom of the totem pole...

ERNurse752

ERNurse752, RN

Has 8 years experience. 1,323 Posts

We have pretty good relations between medics and nurses and docs where I've worked. There are always exceptions, but on the whole, there is mutual respect.

Cocky kills!

tridil2000

tridil2000, MSN, RN

Has 35 years experience. 657 Posts

This post is not intended to knock paramedics because I know they do an important job, but I was just wondering if any of you have experienced this.

I work in ICU/CCU and the facility is going through some remodelling of the units so they have shut down a part of it to bring in the new equipment and stuff. Since the units are now functioning at about half their usual capacity they have been floating us out to tele and to the ER. I had never worked as an ER nurse before and I've never had much opportunity to work alongside paramedics so the nurse/paramedic relationship is all new to me. I've noticed since day one that the RNs and the paramedics in this ER hate one another but tolerate one another only because they have to, and they use every opportunity to make verbal snipes at one another.

The ER RNs say the paramedics who come through there do not respect them because they consider RNs to be patient aides. My preceptor there told me that the 'us against them' culture has existed for a long time and that nurses have been forced to stand up for themselves after taking many years of abuse from both the physicians and the paramedics. I'm pretty new in the ER and I've already heard many of the jokes and insinuations about how stupid nurses are, but I decided against getting involved in it. The nurse manager is the quiet type who lets things slide and does nothing to back up her nurses so the situation goes on and on.

Recently, I went to renew my ACLS certification and all of the instructors were paramedics. Just from listening to their derogatory jokes about nurses and patient care in emergency situations made me wonder if this is something that happens everywhere. Some of these guys really do believe that they know it all, and it is a joke to them that we call ourselves professionals. One of them even had the stones to ask if there were any physicians in the class because they've had "problems" in the past with physicians who questioned some of the things they say in their presentations. They all laughed about that because they thought it was funny for an MD to question their judgment about how to best stabilize a crashing patient in a specific scenario. I didn't think there was anything funny about that because no matter how experienced you are or how much you think you know, you can always learn something from another person, right? Apparently, not these guys.

The jokes were bad enough during the class that I had to say something to get them to stop, but even more alarming was the fact that so many nurses in the class were also laughing at these jokes that were intended to make us look foolish and incompetent. I wasn't going to say anything because I just wanted to get my certificate and get the heck out of there, but they crossed the line with the jokes when one of them suggested to another that only effeminate or gay men are nurses but that you had to be rough and tough to be one of them. Of course, I had to stop them right there, not just because I am not gay or because I am a man but because I just couldn't believe that these unprofessional louts were actually teaching an ACLS class.

I just don't get what's up with all this arrogance. I thought we were supposed to be working together as a team?

the american heart association pays us when we teach acls and they would certainly want to know about these instructors. they represent aha when they are teaching acls or pals, and aha would not want these unprofessional people representing them.

please email aha.org and inform them.

thank you!

nursemelani

nursemelani

213 Posts

I have heard from paramedics that some nurses look down on them, and call them "ambulance drivers" instead of paramedics.

I am an LVN, and considered becoming a paramedic, but the hours are not conducive to raising a child, and I thought that the pay was too low for the level of responsibility.

So it's RN school for me, but I have a lot of respect for paramedics.

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