“Don’t judge a book by its movie,” is a 21st century twist on a timeless kernel of wisdom. I believe this holds true for the book Ambulance Girl: How I Saved Myself By Becoming an EMT by Jane Stern. It’s a very well-written book that later became a straight-to-DVD movie. Though the movie only appealed to a small audience, the book is a great read.
Stern takes readers through her own journey of personal lows and professional highs. She starts the story at a very low point in her life when she was gripped by clinical depression, but decided she would force herself to get out and become an EMT.
I found the first part of her story ironic. Here was a person with severe depression and access to a physician willing to write her scripts for plenty of medication. Sound like a recipe for disaster? I thought so, too. I’ve transported my share of overdoses with the same story line. Through uncommon perseverance though, she became the provider working in an ambulance instead of the patient riding in an ambulance.
Her struggle with EMT class was the first hurdle to overcome.
“I am having a problem my shrink tells me is often experienced by first-year medical students. I have every symptom of every disease Frank mentions in the classroom. I am no longer clinically depressed but instead am dying of everything simultaneously.”
Stern’s honesty and humor are endearing throughout the book. However, readers interested in the action of EMS or the clinical/social implications of our work may not be thrilled with this book. Stern becomes pretty vulnerable with her readers at times, and some may see it as whining. However, I would still recommend it for all FTO’s and EMS Managers. Stern paints a picture of someone coming into EMS to vicariously heal herself by healing others. Regardless of a manager’s view on people who enter EMS this way, the book will offer insight on employees who may be fighting these same battles just below the surface.