In many ways I feel like a blank slate.
I've spent a lot of time in class, in clinical rotations and in the back of the ambulance. I've read thousands of pages of text on these subjects, and experienced real-life successes and failures that have left indelible marks on my character. Constant newfound knowledge makes me a new person every day, though, and each time I get dressed in my uniform I feel as if my plate is again clean: ready for another helping of experience. What will the next day bring to the table?
The same is true with my coworkers. It is very rarely left to doubt that I am the "new guy," and my opinion - if I venture to submit it - is often challenged simply because I am inexperienced. My slate is clean then, too, and a reputation is ready to be built on what choices I make and how well I am able to defend them. More than once I have had to push harder than I normally would, so that a conversation does not end on dismissive point that I am a new medic. I readily admit my inexperience, but I feel a need to stand by my choices and fiercely support them with the academic knowledge that originally inspired them. There is sometimes an understated aggression, passive in it's delivery but pointed in meaning. It is not my nature, truly, but I have felt a need lately to be my own person, and fight battles in order to establish myself as someone worth fighting with.
On scene, too. Will I be the first through the door or the second? I have become conscious lately of which end of the stretcher I stand on. I want to make sure that I am there, with eye contact, when the first responder is going to give his report. I ask the first question, and answer the patient's first as well. I have been consciously thinking about ways to maintain control on scene: the delicate balance between utility and overbearing micromanagement. I still sometimes take the submissive role by habit, though, and find myself setting up equipment when I should be doing medicine. How I handle myself on scene is part of who I will become as a paramedic, and I am often aware the choice between which habits I will choose to acquire.
I have worked a long time to earn the right to wear this patch on my shoulder. I am finding, though, that there is much more than title. Once this becomes normal, once people become used to seeing "paramedic" under my name, my reputation will again come to rest on my character, my knowledge, and how I choose to carry myself.
The title means nothing without justification for it. I have a lot to learn still, not the least of which is figuring out exactly how I will fill this uniform.