Chances are, since you’re actually going through the effort of checking online, you are on a different path than 80% of your co-workers, brothers and sisters in our young Profession.  But do you know the warning signs of an EMS Anchor?

I made another word, didn’t I…

An EMS Anchor is someone who refuses to seek out additional training, resources, information, research to be better at what they do.  Instead of stepping up and learning more about 12 leads, they wait for the machine to interpret the strip, of course after using the reference card for lead placement.

Anchors often have sloppy charting skills, both on paper and especially since the check boxes on the computer made it easier for them to ignore a complete secondary assessment.

The person complaining that they get paid too little while refusing to wash their rig, stock it to spec, or even stay 5 minutes late to refuel it for the next crew is an Anchor.

And there are some big anchors out there, both in girth and in effect.  we need to have a healthy outlook and healthy attitude, but the Anchors constantly complain, groan when a long distance transfer comes in over lunch time and pass that frustration along to the patient, staff, family and you.

Anchors don’t read the new protocols, instead they wait for you to tell them they can’t find the lidocaine because you’ve been using Amiodarone for 3 years.

Continuing Education is a 4 letter word to Anchors, always avoiding it with this excuse or that, somehow always getting the cards and merit badges to keep their license.

Anchors are in every system, Department and service in the nation and I’ll assume the world.  So what do we do about them?  THEY are the true liability in your service, a grim reaper in hiding, just waiting for a complicated case to come along and kill someone.  Then where will you be?  In court defending how you certified this person 2 weeks ago yet they claim they didn’t know the new policies.  These system dragging EMTs and Paramedics can’t be simply cut loose to right our ship, we would certainly falter without enough people to handle the work we have, let alone the increase call volume the Boomer Generation is about to bring us.

But the other problem is the Administrations overseeing the continuation of the Anchor culture.  Some are in their positions due to merit, others appointment, still others placed by an owner who demands a bottom line instead of clinical results.  Anchors are above you as well and they can be difficult to remove.

So we’ve established what an EMS Anchor is and where they can be found and I’d wager teching on that bed bugs case that you have at least 2 people from your system in mind as Anchors.  Do you think they know it?


(insert name here), do you have a minute?  I was hoping I could share a concern I’ve noticed in the way you perform your duties here at (insert name of service).  We both know you do the absolute minimum and that is on a good day, but I’m worried you’re not doing enough for your patients, this service and our Profession by skating by at recerts and not trying to learn more about what you do.  If this is your plan for the rest of your time here that is your right and you are certainly entitled to duck responsibility when you see fit, but I will not stand for it.  EMS deserves attentive, passionate care givers.  Maybe 10 years ago simply doing the basics was the norm, but you’re behind the times now.  I want to help you be the provider you can be and have a number of resources I recommend from magazines like JEMS and EMSWorld, to online communities like EMTLife, JEMSConnect and EMS United.  (insert name of local EMS Agency or group) also has 1 hour CE offerings so you can learn more while not giving up an entire day.  Here’s my number, call me if you ever want to meet up to talk business outside the office.  We all have a place in the future of EMS, if we try hard enough.

It will take an effort on all our parts to address the EMS Anchors in our own systems.  So get out there and find them, inspire them and mentor them into the future of EMS as a Profession.

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