After dipping my foot in the call-taking pool last week, my trainer had me dive straight in this week. Nine-ish hours of calls a night, and the way our system is set up, most calls get funneled to the trainee rather than any other call takers, so we get lots of experience. Boy, did I!
Given how new I am, it’s natural for me to experience situations for the first time, but even my trainer was impressed by how many calls happened to me this week. I had my first:
- Text-to-911 call
- First weapons call (Those are automatically Priority 1 calls)
- Repossession call
- TTY Call
- First CPR call (!!!!!)
My CPR call had a good patient outcome, but I wasn’t too instrumental in that. It was an opiates OD and their significant other had given Narcan before calling us. Opiates suppress the breathing reflex and Narcan reverses it…slowly. My starting CPR may have helped, but they probably would have been okay.
My trainer just about died laughing after that call, though she and the rest of the staff gave me a little cheer and applause. I apparently was demonstrating with my own hands as I’m giving instructions over the phone.
“Okay, now put your hand on top of their chest, between the nipples, then place your other hand on top of that….” doing exactly that as I spoke.
She also said my voice shot up an octave and I blanked on a couple of procedures, but pointed out that I did start CPR in the right time and was giving good instructions, but I got tunnel vision and forgot to start my police call and hadn’t documented very much.
She also assured me that this was very normal for a first CPR call and that I did fine.
Each day has felt like I’m growing more and more into the role. As expected, Rookie Dispatcher is Not Meeting Standards across the board, but that’s normal for the first two weeks. She said that my interpersonal skills are great and unless I flub it tonight, I’ll finish my first graded week of training passing one of the seven categories, which is ahead of the curve.
I also had several chances to help people this week. I don’t mean sending aid or police (though that certainly happened), but during one domestic disturbance call, there was an upset 10 year old girl. She was scared and crying, so I talked to her for a moment, told her that we were going to make sure everyone was safe, that no one was in trouble, and that really calmed her down. I beamed the rest of the night after that call because a 911 dispatcher had done something similar for me when I was just a little younger than her.
I really love my job. I’m very grateful for the chance to do this.