Sunday, March 6, 2011

The 5/20 and 20/5 Rule

We've all heard the old nomenclature given to the newbie cohorts that have been riding a rig for about 26 seconds, yet seem to have seen it all. These young bucks have done it all and saved 'em all. Just ask them. They're always willing to tell you all about their awesome exploits and war stories.... all three of them.

As a profession, we commonly refer to this collectively as the "5/20 Rule".  5 years in service, 20 years experience.

Now, I'm not going to bore everyone with examples of these heroes amongst us because we all know who they are and we all know their stories. Chances are, some of us were these guys and girls at one time or another. ....then we grew up.

Instead, I'm going to present to you another group of cohorts we all know and love. I refer to them as "...abiding by the 20/5 rule..." and once you smell what The Grinder is cookin', you'll follow along.

How many of you know a Paramedic or EMT who has been around since the beginning of time who just doesn't want to learn anything new? They've been doing the same old thing for 20 odd years and, dang it, it's worked just fine for this long. Why change? I know that personally I encounter 20/5'ers on a near daily basis. Actually, one of them asked me where we keep the Bretylium in the stock room.

I replied with " the coffin next to your Paramedic book...".

Thus, the "20/5 rule" is born. Paramedic Moses has been working shifts for 20 plus years and still operates out of the same 5 page Paramedic book they gave him in 1827. They've been doing the same thing for so long, their practices have went out of standard and have been re-adopted. (see: tourniquet application).

Both schools of practice are detrimental to morale and professionalism within their respective services. You can't be a true professional if you're not up to date on the newest skills and studies. Co-workers eventually get tired of the new guy with the big britches. Something has to give....

So, which one of these is worse for the cause? ...the old dog who refuses to learn new tricks or the new kid on the block with a dose of reality headed their way? What are some ways that you can help quell the effect that these negative schools of practice?

ADD Side note: As I write this, I'm sitting in a suburban firehouse with 3 of the whitest guys in the history of white guys watching Katt Williams on Netflix. One of these things is not like the other!

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