Without evidence of benefit, an intervention should not be presumed to be beneficial or safe.

- Rogue Medic

Getting Our Panties in a Bunch Over Being Called Ambulance Drivers

A lot of people are taking sides on the topic of just how disrespectful it is to be called an ambulance driver.

We demand respect, even though we don’t deserve respect.

Anyone who cares about respect does not deserve respect.

Any idiot can demand respect. A lot of idiots do.

Respect my politics. Respect my religion. Respect my job description. Respect my favorite TV show. Respect my hair style. . . . .

Certainly, we are not demanding respect for our maturity, because all of this preening and posturing is not remotely mature. We are no more mature than toddlers misbehaving in order to get attention.

My. My. My. My. My.

Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine.

Not a big difference.

Image credit.

Respect is earned.

Respect that is demanded at the point of a tantrum is just condescension to the person demanding respect. In what way is that respect? In what way is that worthy of any respect? This is just demanding that people be condescending to us.


To convince me that you do NOT deserve respect – demand respect.


When we demand respect, we are demonstrating that our priorities are completely screwed up.

In EMS, we can earn respect by demonstrating excellence at what we do.

Or we can make a mockery of what we do by worrying about respect.

Other writing on this –

Rogue Medic
Fri, 26 Mar 2010

A Day In the Life of An Ambulance Driver
March 24, 2010

The Handover at Life Under the Lights
March 31, 2010

Why Johnny Ringo, I’ll Be Your Ambulance Driver
The Social Medic
February 22, 2012

There are no “Ambulance Drivers” in Emergent Medical Services
EMS Outside Agitator
February 22, 2012

Respect: Earned, Never Given.
Coma Toast
February 16, 2012

I am NOT an Ambulance Driver
Medic 51
February 22, 2012

Get over yourselves, drivers
Captain Chair Confessions
February 20, 2012

Irritating people is what I do best
Captain Chair Confessions
February 21, 201



  1. i agree 100 %, we as medics do what the job entails, even driving, god if i were to sum up my ems description it would be, & I quote ” taxi, caregiver,driver, therapist, qofer, shlep, car washer, inventory taker, life saver, medic, weight lifter, ETC, by now you get the point. EMS involves all of these tasks + so many more & thats why I like it. Every day can be a different challenge & every patient is different, so when people ask me if I am the driver, I say yes, then if they ask I say I’m also an EMT.

  2. We do all those jobs and more! But we are EMS – lets act like it! I respect all the medics / CC – Intermediates / EMTs & First Responders but the public needs a united front. Squabble among your selves – they don’t understand the differences and it takes to long to explain! (they won’t remember anyway) Act like the pro’s you are – EMS!

  3. So, the boss that has nothing better to do than remind you how awesome he is and that he’s your boss, a la Bill Lumbergh, means we shouldn’t respect them? How many bosses in EMS does that leave?

  4. In my case (and all my buddies) being called ambulance driver is like being called ‘school bus driver’ or ‘taxi driver’. Need to say we actually live in Mexico, and maybe the context is not the same. There are actually ambulance drivers; people whose only job is to drive the ambulance, no more. In our case, sometimes we are called the equivalent of ‘stretcher bearer’ (people whose only job is to move patients from one stretcher to another and to drive patients through the hospital, not even nurses). The matter is not about asking for respect to our/my trainning and education, is something more. We are EMT’s and we perform a job that has some value in caring for patients, and that job is a part of a chain of actions. When somebody calls me ambulance driver I am not the only one affected; that means the MD at the ED believes we just pick up the patient, put them in a strecher and ran to the hospital while we watched them, like if the patient would have been dropped from a cab in front of the hospital; that leads to think the care of the ill and injured begins in the ED, and everything before is useless or nonexistent.
    We have been called sometimes when people is very ill and even so the wife/husband/mother asks us not to do anything (not even IV) until the ED, as if they were not confident to let the ‘taxi driver’ and his pal to stick a needle in their loved one.
    Asking for not being called ambulance driver is far beyond asking for respect. I believe it’s a way to get the public educated, through a simple name, in what that guys who arrive in an ambulance can actually do for their health and life.
    I believe Emergency Medical Vehicle Operator (EMVO) is more appropriate.
    But that’s only the opinion of somebody who can hardly figure out the true perception of being called ambulance driver in a different language.

  5. It is ironic to me that rather than talk about professional respect from our peers, we focus on “social” respect from those that don’t even know what we do. Respect is a by-product of doing your job well, not a prerequisite to doing your job well.

  6. The problem here is that there’s a legitimate gripe that paramedics (inclusive) are not “ambulance drivers.” The problem is that, given all of the other problems facing EMS, this really is just trivial. Imagine if this much effort was put into issues that actually matter, like reforming education or reimbursement? It’s rather sad that many paramedics would rather not be called “ambulance driver” than have EMS be considered a “profession.”

    Besides, doesn’t the term “ambulance driver” fit when someone driving the ambulance to the hospital is often required for reimbursement? An ambulance driver by any other name is still an ambulance driver.

  7. I just remembered.
    Walking at 1:00 am at a Walmart (or any other 24 hrs supermarket) I have been asked by people for the fruits, coffee, or whatever department, just because they get confused by my uniform (now we have a star of life on the back). I have never felt offended nor being pissed off. It’s kind of funny when they realize I don’t work for the store.
    Some family members have also refered to me as Doctor in the middle of a call. I hope that’s because their perception is I’m doing my job the best possible way. I have never made the correction on this matter, because I could get them more confused.
    By the way, if I know where the coffee is located I usually lead the lady to the correct aisle.

  8. Couldn’t have said this any better… Bottom line: if you act professionally, you’ll be accorded the proper respect. If you don’t, you won’t.

    Say what you will, but it’s all about attitude. And those we interact with and take care of can spot it a mile away, good or bad. Sometimes reminding the folks who work for me that this is the case, however, is like talking to a wall.


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