I can’t believe somethign that happened today… Ok first a little update on everything… then a rant.
I’ve been volunteering quite heavily at my FD the past few weeks, because I’ve been doing my HAZMAT A&O class in preparation for doing Fire 1 next month. It’s actually be rather fun, and I think I might like playing firefighter some days. Not more than my medical calling, but still. We had our final test for HAZMAT this morning and I think I did ok. I’m always up for learning new things, so let’s see if I passed lol
Although it now looks like I won’t be doing Fire 1 w/ the people I’ve gotten to know in my HAZMAT class. I was asked if I wanted to volunteer for a temporary Duty Assignment w/ the Evil Empire to the NE of the US. Of couse I said yes. It’ll be 6 12/hr shifts in a row, then a day off, then back to work. That’ll last at least a month. Should make some decent money. Waiting to find out if I’m going to NH or ME though, as I had to fill our reciprocity paperwork for both states. The general consensus is that they’re very short handed or maybe a strike is approaching. They prefer our DRT people, and you have to be a NREMT-P. Luckily I’m both. I’ll keep everyone updated on what’s going on, as this sounds fun.
Now for my rant… I was in jeans and my FD t-shirt this morning for class, and after my test I went to get coffee to study for my FP-C. I was sitting there minding my own business when an older woman, about my parent’s age, came up to me and said something that blew my mind;
“Why are you wearing that shirt, it’s not like you can ever do that job with all those nasty tattoos”
I honestly didn’t know what to say to her. I’ve never had someone be that rude or judging of me for my tattoos before. She asked me then what I did for a living.
I got a little satisfaction when her jaw dropped when I told her I’m a career Paramedic w/ over 5 years on an ambulance or in a hospital enviroment. And I am also a volunteer firefighter/paramedic w/ the county whose shirt I was wearing. She left in a huff w/ the parting comment of “Well I’d never let you work on me looking like that”
Granted, today I looked pretty scruffy, weaing a t-shirt and jeans, not shaven for the past three days… But still. I’ve never had anyone while I’m on duty be anything but complimentary of my ink, if they even notice them. Generally if I’m treating the patient they’ve got a few more important things on their mind. And honestly I have always felt that the younger generations, even my parents, was more accepting of tattoos. And for the most part I’ve been right.
But ma’am, if you ever happen to find this (which I sincerely doubt), I hope that you’ll give me a chance. Come ride along w/ me on my 911 truck. See me in uniform and how I carry myself in it and present myself to the general public. See how I treat my patients that disrespect me with the utmost of respect no matter what. See how little the people who’s lives are in my hands actually care that the provider has tattoos. Come see a paramedic in action, and don’t judge them based on appearances. You can judge me all you want, but do it on substance, not appearance. Judge me on my skills, my personality, my empathy.
In short, stop judging a book by it’s cover. You made yourself look like a naive fool, and honestly I hope that if something happens to you, you’re in my county. In my district. And you’ll see first hand how little tattoos matter. The world is changing, and for the better.

  • P2P

    I’d say probably 1/2 – 2/3 of the EMT’s/Paramedics I work with have at least one tattoo. For the most part, I think the bias against people with tattoos is going away…but apparently, some people still hold that prejudice against those who do get inked. I’m sorry you had to experience that.

    Keep us posted with where you end up! That’s really cool that you might be coming to my neck of the woods!

    • Transport Jockey

      Thanks man. I was thinking kind of the same thing on the tattoo bit. A lot of amazing providers I work with have them, both in hospital and out.
      And as for where… I’m typing up an update now.