Love the Routine Transport

We get into this field hungry for the chance to save people. We live for the emergency alert tones that bring us our next chance to cheat Death. But many of us resent doing routine transports, particularly early in our careers. I too used terms in my youth disrespectful of the elderly who are most often our non-emergency clients. But over time I learned to enjoy my time in the back with these patients, once I realized what a unique opportunity it presented me.

It gave me a chance to learn a lot, from cooking recipes to forgotten history. The elderly were once treated in many cultures as our best source of wisdom. They have had life experiences we can often only barely imagine. They went through wars, deaths, loss and sacrifice. They raised children, supported and nurtured their families when times were a lot tougher. Rather than being barely tolerable inconveniences, these transports offer us the chance to show respect and learn something

I learned to make the very best Guacamole from a nice Mexican-American lady. I asked what her favorite recipe was, and she told me how to do it in great detail. I took careful notes on a 4 x 4, and I still use her recipe now many years after her passing. I learned about just how tough our forefathers had to be to get through the Great Depression. I learned the horrible price paid by those that were on the front lines fighting for the Civil Rights we now tend to take for granted. I have learned a lot by showing these often-unappreciated people the respect they deserve. They are not baggage; they are human beings with a past.

In so many cases, the sacrifices they made paved the way for the comforts we now enjoy. The simple fact is that many of our ambulance runs are not emergencies, and that the elderly are our most frequent customers. The care and transportation of these individuals is very much part of our job. We can fight this reality, or come to appreciate the potential value these calls offer us. Take a few minutes to really talk with them, and learn to listen. What these wonderful patients can tell you during a 20-minute trip can have a big impact on your life. They watched history happen that you only read about. Their personal stories will often surprise and amaze you. A long routine transport is made much shorter by the conversation.

It will bring upon you honor to show them the respect they have earned. These patients are not an inconvenience; they are the living repositories of our history and best values. To provide them compassionate service is our great privilege. Learn to see it that way and you will improve the quality of your care, the pleasure of your work, and the quality of your life.


About Dan White

I'm a retired Paramedic and EMS Instructor with 35 years EMS and emergency medical product experience. I love canoes, cars and EMS. I have written a lot about EMS Technology on the Paramedic Blog, the Insights on Innovation column for, on and I can be reached directly at 573-240-0002.
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10 Responses to Love the Routine Transport

  1. Unknown says:

    Can I have a copy of the guacomole recipe please!!!

  2. Nae says:

    I\’d like to know the guacamole recipe also.AND — best uniform advice — including footwear!Thanks heaps.God bless you and keep you,Nae :o)

  3. Unknown says:

    Thank you so much for you insight on routine transports. After 13 years it has opened my eyes… You are a gift.. P>S> can i get the recipe too? ;-)t

  4. Eric says:

    Amen, brother. I referred to your post in my blog and added a few of my own comments. It\’s amazing who you run across and the stories they have to share.Thanks again.

  5. Dan says:

    OK, I give in! Secret One – Never put lemon juice in Guacamole, it overpowers taste & is really just a preservative for restaurants to maintain color. Make it fresh before eating and you will never need it. 4-6 Cold Avocados from the fridge. 1 – Dollop of Sour Cream 1 – Teaspoon each of salt and white pepper Use an old fashioned flat or square stand-up grater and grate (turn into mush/juice) 1/4 of an average yellow peeled onion. Secret Two – Use ONLY an old-fashioned hand potato masher. Don\’t get carried away, leave some texture. Like The Lady said "Sonny, its Dip not Baby Food" Eat The latest clothing catalog for EMS on the market is available at your request by e-mailing My favorite in EMS footwear is I love the comfort and quality, but I sometimes wish I had bought the zip up boots. They are cut for wear with heavy socks.

  6. Nae says:

    Gunalcheesh!or Thank you very much! My daughter and I appreciate it. We are looking forward to trying the guacamole.God bless you and keep you,Nae :o)

  7. Unknown says:

    The older I got, the smarter my parents got! All elders for that matter! :o)

  8. Robert says:

    You didn\’t mention my personal favorites. The V.A. Hospital patients with their memories of World War II. Some of the stories they told are better than any movie I have ever seen!

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  10. It’s nothing complicated I have no idea why people haven’t figured this out yet.

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