No One Can Care For You

Someone else can be committed to training you to an acceptable standard.

Other people can require you to hold the proper certifications and minimal requirements to do the job.

Field instructors can demand that you demonstrate a minimum level of competence before you are allowed to work autonomously.

Quality assurance managers can confirm that you document acceptable treatment plans.

Administrators can monitor your adherence to policies and procedures.

Governments and institutions can demand your attendance at continuing education classes.

Almost everything about your performance can be demanded and confirmed, except for your compassion.

Nobody can force you to care.

Nobody can demand your heart-felt effort or your empathy or your genuine kindness. If you choose to have it, it is your prerogative. The industry can demand that you perform a service, but nobody can command you to serve. You can’t be ordered to bring your passion, your spirit and your individual, unique contribution to your job each day.

You have to choose to do that on your own.

That’s what makes it so valuable. …That’s what makes it priceless.

I’d like to know what you think about that.


  1. A-freaking-men!

    You live or die by your own hand, not only in EMS, but in a lot of industries out there.

  2. Steve Whitehead says:

    Hey thanks Fern. Glad you liked it.

  3. You spoke the truth in this article, Steve. So many providers with whom I work don’t really care about the patient; they’re just a body on the ambulance, going through the motions, wondering when the call will be over. I do what I do as an EMT because I really care about people. I may not always have good days, or be in the best frame of mind when I have to care for a patient, but I do my best to provide competent and COMPASSIONATE care to all my patients. If an EMR/EMT/Paramedic is not willing to show compassion to the person whom they’re treating, then they need to find another line of work because the field of prehospital medicine isn’t for them.

  4. Sean Fontaine says:

    Steve, now that I’m labeled as the uncaring harbinger of death I will pick up this torch. Passion and caring for your patients go hand in hand, w/out one you don’t completely possess the other. Though I made the distinction of professional distance in caring for, not caring about your patients here a few weeks ago, I do in fact take a vested interest in the compassion I convey to my patients and by default their families. As for passion for the job I feel that we are privileged to have one of the finest jobs in the world and am thankful for it every day I report to work and head home no matter how good or bad the day was. When passion and empathy leave you, so should you from the job I believe.

  5. Michael The Uk Medic says:

    Steve, Sir an eloquent and inspiring truth! If you let the negative rule you it bleeds into your care style and quality. If you came to profession (really a way of life) to care for those in need always remember that pure motive! If you came to it for other reasons you wont last and should bow out.

  6. Mike the volunteer EMT says:

    I was just voted the director of training at the Volunteer Emergency Services Squad at City College and I was looking for things to make me a good trainer (this is my first time doing anything like this) Awesome artical and very inspirational thanks. Love the website!!!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Why does nobody care about the medic
    In the last week I lost a 37 y/o mother of 3 and a new body baby.
    Let I am the one nobody talks to. I am support to be strong for the EMT’s.
    Why does nobody care about the medic?

  8. Anonymous says:

    In lethal weapons the movie Mel says he has a bullet any each and everyday he finds a reason to live. I am running out of reasons. The real pain is growing, Not sure when it will all be to much.


  1. […] no organization tells us to care. No authority can make you have compassion. It is up to you. Read No One Can Care for You. Can your patients and co-workers tell you […]