Welcome to extreme embedded librarianship!

Welcome to extreme embedded librarianship! Join in my adventures as a medical librarian riding out with Indianapolis EMS, the largest 911 ambulance service in Indiana. The AmbulanceRidingLibrarian is devoted to all things informative, funny or odd in emergency medicine, disaster preparedness and medical librarianship.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Always be Prepared - an average day

EMS librarian's pledge
I never know quite what to expect at this hybrid job.  I decided a motto might help. The best I can do is borrow from the Scouts.

Always be prepared. 

In our office, we often listen to the emergency radio.  Keyboard clicks, ringing phones and 911 dispatches create our white noise.  Not long ago, during an average work week, an ambulance was dispatched to a cardiac arrest at a nearby address, when an EMS medical director sprinted into the office and asked,
"Kacy, do you want to go on a that cardiac arrest run?"

Why yes, Dr. Stevens, I would love to go on a run with you.  Which means I need to be able to immediately shift my attention from my computer and run to his emergency response vehicle.

People often ask what my typical day is like.  Usually, I'm typing away on a lit search, writing something up, working on a grant, attending meetings, completing CE or teaching PubMed, etc.  Once a week (usually Fri night, Sat or Sun) I ride out with an ambulance crew.

I thought this incident might give a better description of my average day.  It's office work punctuated by emergencies.  Medics, EMTs and firefighters sometimes describe their jobs as calm punctuated by moments of chaos. My job is similar.  Sometimes the calm is interrupted by taking a run, sometimes it's interrupted by a mass casualty incident.  This calm/chaos ratio works well for me.

I ride out/go on runs to become familiar with the specialized vocabulary, work, process and people in EMS.  A bonus for me - I get to meet some fun and dedicated ambulance crews.


  1. Kacy, this sounds familiar. I'm married to a police officer, and often this is how emergency responders work. Sometimes, when I've been working as tech support, I get a similar rush, and that happens in my current job when sponsoring our dissertation camps--all day events with programs and meal service for graduate students. I'm not sure I could handle a job where 'be prepared' wasn't a necessary part of the work. Thanks for growing the knowledge in emergency response. It must be rewarding work for you and the Indy community.

  2. What would you do on a cardiac arrest run? Is it sit-and-learn?

    1. I can help with some supplies and other small activities, but I don't render patient care. There are still some things I could do, and in that situation, it might be trying to comfort family or keep the family away from where the medics/EMTs are working - so the family isn't underfoot while they try to work.