North Dakota Emergency Medical Services Association

October Monthly Newsletter



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Daring Greatly

I was having trouble coming up with what I could say to you during this time before Rural EMS Counts has decided what to measure and while we are still defining the project.  The universe sent me a message through Mona Thompson’s talks on building a culture of resiliency, the SW EMS conference, and the podcasts I listen to including Unlocking Us with Brene Brown.  So now I’ll get over my fear of this being too soft and gushy for a newsletter and tell you how I think personal vulnerability and asking for help are two of the most important parts of making Rural EMS Counts a project of value.

At Mona’s talk, she bravely shared her story about near burnout due to stress and what she needed after going on a call where a person close to her died.  At that time, Mona kept caring for the other people around her but she did not take time to care for herself.  She really needed someone to help, but she couldn’t at that time find a way to ask.  Now Mona is showing up and showing others what people in that situation might need from their organization and coworkers.  If you haven’t yet, you can watch Mona’s daring greatly as Brene Brown would call it during her presentation at

At the SW conference over the past weekend, when a speaker would ask a question, the audience stayed quiet.  The speakers may have been wondering, “Is everyone sleeping?  Do they know this?  Are we connecting? Is learning happening?”   It is always safest to stay quiet.  You can never be wrong.  But what if your question or your “mistake” could help everyone learn?  Speaker Howard Walth made each of us triage patients in front of the entire audience.  It was scary, but everyone’s confidence grew with each answer that was shouted out. 

Rural EMS Counts is still in the middle of the project.  What it is and what it could be.  Brene Brown says, “The MIDDLE is messy, but it's also where the MAGIC happens.”  By the measures taking a while to come out, there has been more time to engage with EMS in what they are feeling right now.  But in this time, I need your help.  I need people to dare greatly.  Show up.  Ask for what you need.  Speak your truth and listen to others.  If you aren’t comfortable doing a stroke assessment because you have one stroke patient a year, say it.  If you are the person that needs help with a skill, ask for it.  If your agency culture is not good, bring forward some actionable ideas that you think could improve it. And for those in leadership positions, assume noble intent.  Loyal dissenters are great.  If you need anything that could help improve the care we provide to our citizens, now is the time to ask.