Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Work is fun .... sometimes!

I had a great day in my new job the other day. A little background for you - I now work in admin in a college, and the school where I work teaches programs for EMT's and Paramedics.

Would I like to be a patient for a student scenario? Yeah, heck , why not!

So wear some old clothes - something where it doesn't matter if they get cut off you! O......Kay?! Cue digging out some old combats that hubby has most recently used for painting the house.

There were three of us doing the scenarios - one at a time, and with different briefs for our circumstances and injuries. The students would have no idea when they walked into the room that this patient would be a real-life human, instead of the mannequins that they were used to.

My scenario was that, while at a Fireman Benefit Concert, I had fallen off the stage and broken my leg. I was a little bit drunk.

Well, bring it on. Act drunk? No problemo! No requirements for Oscar-winning acting skills here, that's for sure. I'm there, with bells on, says I!

So I positioned myself on the floor, awaiting to be rescued by my knights in shining armour, my paramedics-in-training.

As soon as the door opened to "the concert hall" classroom, I started yelling and shouting - I was swearing and rude and castigated them for taking so bloody long to get there. My aim was to try and wind them up from the outset. I screamed if they touched me and was a somewhat awkward patient!

The results were mixed. One guy, I think, was wound up by my attitude, and my own feelings were that he had pre-judged me for being a bit drunk. The other guy was pretty calm (and oh so young, good grief!) and I pretended to babble incoherently and ask him a series of ridculous and unrelated questions which he took all in his stride and with good humour.

The object of the exercise was to prompt them to give me pain relief medication - something that Paramedics would or could do in real life. They weren't too forthcoming with the drugs to be honest! A learning exercise.

It's hard to be calm and polite and clear-headed in the face of provocation. I know this - I was a cop for 16 years. People under stress, under the influence of drugs or booze, or in pain can be unbelievably rude, emotional or get very personal with you. Quite unlike their normal selves (well, sometimes!). Many careers will demand this of you and I think it takes a special kind of person to do this well.

But I had a fun couple of hours - we got to smear make-up on my legs to look like bruising and blood. As an aside, my legs had been carefully shaved the night before, just like you would in real life of course - you know, perfectly shaved and moisturized for the day you get hit by that bus. (It's the same day that you would choose to wear expensive, matching and lilly-white underwear - not those washed out grey things from your drawer, those shapeless but comfortable, elastically challenged bits of triangular material that you laughingly call underwear.... anyway I digress)

I got paid to be rude, obnoxious and yell at people. Yay - my turn.

I remember some of my role plays when I did my training. They can be horrible put-you-on-the-spot moments where you are frantically dredging the contents of your brain for the relevant information. But they are a huge learning curve and totally essential for most styles of learning.

I had fun, and the students did too. And now we can look each other in the eye in the corridors, with an inpercetible nod of recognition, and I am safe in the knowledge that my legs were unfeasibly smooth that day.


  1. What a fun post! :D And hilarious too! Love it.

    I didn't know you use to a cop!

  2. Sounds like a fun day - good to let off a bit of frustration and get paid for it!

  3. Thanks guys! It was a giggle.

    Yep marnie - for my sins! Seems a lifetime ago ...

  4. How fun! Sounds like your students (mostly) could handle your drunken, agressive acting. I have a cop friend, and am amazed at his calm demeanor when faced with all kinds of impaired bad actors. I guess in most cases a sort of professional detachment (and good people skills) can help prevent situations from escalating.


Sorry humans, but I have had to reintroduce the word verificatin thing again due to an inordinate amount of crappy spam. As usual though, I love to hear from you so please feel free to leave a comment. You don't need to have a Google account - you can leave a message with your name or anonymously if you wish!