Sunday, June 21, 2009

Errr...say again?

So last week, my partner and I did a late transport that was made later by some crap at the hospital. We cleared the call at a few minutes after 1900, which is the end of our shift. The dispatcher got on and said I need to you do a pick-up at Hospital X. We looked at each other, and Bald Partner got on the radio and reminded dispatch that we were at the end of our shift. Her response? Well, I'm stuck with the call, so you don't have a choice.

We called our supervisor and asked for clarification, and decided to be nice (though the dispatcher had been snotty) and take it, since it was on our way home. The fact that we had other issues (the clipboard is a piece of crap that won't hold paper, and when we grabbed the clipboard some of the paperwork fell out, necessitating a trip back to the hospital and then back again to the nursing home) meant that I didn't get home until 2230. I hadn't eaten since 1300, since we aren't allowed meal breaks, and have to eat on the road on the way to or from a call. BossMan said that he would get back to us with the policy on taking calls after shift.

Two days later, BossMan gets back to us with the reply. As long as you are in a unit, and not at base, dispatch can put you on a call and you can't refuse. Since we don't ever get back to base before our shift ends due to traffic and other problems, this means that the only thing allowing us to go home in a timely manner is the good graces of dispatch.

Is this standard procedure for other companies? Because it seems pretty sketchy to me.


emt.dan said...

I work for a transfer company that does some emergencies on the side (we are the only company that always has trucks around a major city known for understaffing its own 3rd service).

Aprox 30 min before we go off shifts, it is expected that each truck is cleared to "fuel and wash", and head back to base. From that designation, we are off the air, and out of service. It is our standard policy not to give calls to trucks after that unless they are emergencies, and it is unreasonable for another truck to take the call.

For any other transfer, it is generally courteous and our protocol to ask the crew whether they will take the call. This always happens via "landline" and not over the radio. If they refuse, the call is offered to other trucks.

It is impossible to staff in expectation of calls and volume at certain times. With that said, it is still the responsibility of management to plan appropriately. Enough said.

jorge said...

Where I work if it would put you over and not an emergent call you can refuse, but next time working dispatch will run your ass to the ground.

Epijunky said...

Where I am it's just as Jorge said. If it's an emergency run you will take it, but otherwise you can refuse.

If you're brave enough :)