Don’t call me an “ambulance driver”

February 10, 2014

No, I am not an “ambulance driver.”

Since President Obama’s State of the Union speech last month, I am sure this is a sentiment most of the EMS professionals around the country have embraced. Yes, there are ambulance drivers in some communities and they provide a great public service. However, the training and expertise of our emergency medical technicians and paramedics exceed that of an ambulance driver.

The term “ambulance driver” has been in existence for several years. Some of the most influential people in history, like Ernest Hemingway and Walt Disney, were volunteer ambulance drivers in World War I.

It is unfortunate this term now extends to our EMS professionals. These people often work long hours, receive little pay, work in harsh environments and must endure many hours of training and continuing education to achieve their level of competency and licensure from state and national agencies. Most client families are amazed and impressed when they witness the level of care we provide.

Ambulance drivers are not trained to this level.

Our colleagues, police and firefighters, also work out of their vehicles. Their vehicles need drivers, but I never hear these fine people referred to as police car drivers or fire truck drivers.

I am, however, very proud to call them my compatriots and am very willing to work closely with them. We are all in our respective fields for the safety and welfare of our communities in this great country. In these days of political correctness, why cannot we be treated as the professionals that we have become?

John Patterson



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