Perfect execution, a 10 out of 10 on the skill sheet; it exists. There is a skill ceiling.
For most physical actions in life, it can only be done so well - to the sum total of perfect.
Sure, there can be a few creative approaches, different paths to the perfect performance, but it still remains that an IV start, the placement of an advanced airway, a tourniquet application; can only be done so well. There is a ‘maximum score.’
There is a limit on skill.
However, there is no limit on character.
I can hear you -
But wait just a minute, I am an Emergency Medical Technician; my career outline is all about skills. All day long I am doing patient assessments, vital signs, trauma care, EKGs, IVs, airways, medication administration - what do you mean there is a limit on skill?
Well, what I mean is this - we could spend less than an hour to teach a 10 year old the steps and the technique to intubate an airway mannequin, from beginning to end, and she could then score a 10 out of 10 on a skill sheet.
Tell me I am wrong.
Skills are simply physical materials moving through space in sequential order to achieve a prescribed outcome.
There is a limit on skill.
You can only be so good at these skills.
(Worse yet, remember that there is a minimum pass margin to earn that patch. After all, competence is the expectation. But that’s for another discussion.)
All of that said, are skills important? Of course they are, they save lives.
As is the knowledge to wield those skills. The 10 year old above would very likely not know all of the indications to intubate, the parameters of a difficult airway or how to adapt technique for variables in anatomy. That is where higher level training and practicing with intent comes in. When you pair together critical thought with critical skills, you create a force for change.
High skill proficiency, mental reliability and a dedication to life long learning is something we want in all of our providers. No argument from me.
But, that is not the end of what we need from our providers.
How we become exceptional as providers, as humans - is though our character.
Education emphasizes the framework of knowledge, skills and attitude for good reason.
There are people, in real need, on the other side of those skills. The human condition is played out in front of us on every single call. They deserve what too many of us hold back.
Inside each of us is a limitless capacity for authenticity, empathy, purposeful intent, integrity in our decisions, courage and kindness in our actions.
Everyday we choose to learn from our experiences, we choose to be patient, passionate and persistent. We choose to be resilient. We do for others the things they cannot do for themselves.
A ‘job’ becomes service when we do it with character.
For all the semesters of time spent on the knowledge and skills of the job, it is time to invest in the attitude of the provider doing the work.
The goal of Mission Ready has always been to unpack the elements of human character and inject them into first response. We believe better humans make better responders.
We are committing to this again for 2021.
Here is a small look ahead at this year’s mission:
It’s time for a higher professional standard. It’s time to evaluate our convictions, assumptions and values. It’s time to eliminate bias and stereotypes. It’s time to communicate more clearly and to listen more deeply. It’s time to critically think and intensely empathize. It’s time to make purposeful goals for our programs. It’s time to demand individual excellence and system integrity. It’s time to reach outside of our personal comfort with courage and it’s time to lead this profession with empathy. It’s time to be responsible, to learn, to grow and to adapt.
It’s time to reject being cogs in an outdated machine.
It’s time to bring more to our work, rather than expecting more from our jobs.
It’s time to move beyond the expectation and become exceptional.
It’s time to raise the bar and achieve personal fulfillment in a worthy calling.