New Dispatcher

Any advice for new dispatchers.  I've been training on phones for 3 weeks now, 12 hour shifts.  I had a horrible day today, my mind just went blank.  I got so frustrated I cried and then felt like and idiot for crying.  I would love to hear some encouraging stories from people who remember what it was like going through training.


juliehmt juliehmt
41-45, F
10 Responses Sep 23, 2009

You're going to get better at're going to deal with it're going to look back on all this in a year and wonder what the hell the problem was. I have been doing this for 20 years....when I started it was all done on cards and paper with a pen and the radio was basically a piece of ****. I went home in tears every day for a year,hating my job and despising the idiots who thought this was a good way to run a comm center. I remember an older guy who would come in, put his tea down,adjust everything and then go through the day like he was taking gift orders at Christmas. I took him out one day for lunch and asked him for his secret.....he said that no matter what the bullshit going on around him was and how bad the place was equipped and how stupid the average person was ,he was there for one reason and one reason only, to help.....he told me to imagine that everyone calling was either your mom or dad or a sister or brother, a relative, a friend or a co-worker and then help them because they called you to get help.......he told me about a call he took one night where a little old lady called and said someone was breaking into her place. She was alone and couldn't move very well but he got her upstairs to the bathroom with the phone and got her locked in like a safe room and then got her by the window to watch for the police.....I heard the tape was an elderly woman,alone,terrified and trapped and this man got her to a safe place and did everything right to the point that when she saw the police pull up out front, she giggled and said "this is exciting isn't it." Can you imagine that? Scared witless and alone but he was so calm and reassuring that she was actually having a good time......turns out the bad guy was a raccoon at the back door trying the door knob but neither he nor the caller knew that but imagine that feeling of doing it all so right that the person at the other end starts to help themselves. From that day on I took his philosophy to heart and guess what, I go in everyday with the thinking that if I can help just one person to safety then I have done what I am supposed to do.

WOW...I am wondering why some of us get weeks/months of training before they expect you to 'sign-off' on all types of calls...and then others are thrown out there to sink or swim?!! I LOVE MY NEW JOB but am disillusioned how quickly I've been asked/expected to take calls I have no real idea of how to handle. If I hadn't worked ER admissions for many years I'd be freaking out.<br />
I will be on the job for only 3 1/2 weeks and then it's me and another dispatcher and that's it...2 consoles and if all hell breaks loose and I don't know what to's she gonna help me help them?<br />
Thank God I have God to lean on... :-)

I have worked 16 years in the great state of TX. Rural Metro Dallas, Careflite, ETEMS, Lifeguard Ambulance, and AMR Dallas, I have been out of the field for about 5 years. I have moved to Australia and I am about to start work with NSW Ambulance, Sydney Australia... I have to confess I am a little nervous about starting to dispatch again for the third largest ambulance company in the world, nervous and excited.....

I, too am in the 4th month of training and I take all calls but with a trainer monitoring me. Most days are tough and I've cried quite a bit. So how do you know when to keep at it and when to give up? I want to do this but it has been the most difficult thing I've EVER done in my life and I'm in my late 40's. I am just praying that it will get easier. Any suggestions for handling extremely stressful days or tips for what got you through training? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

I am interested how things are going for you now a couple months since your post.

I remember those days like it was yesterday. After a long hard day of work (which seemed hard to me at the time) I would go home and just cry my eyes out! Thinking I was NEVER going to succeed in this stressful job.. Trust me, it DOES get better.. Soon you wont even realize, you will just be doing it like it's nothing! So hang in there!

It gets better!!! You will have days months into it where you will feel like you've forgotten everything you've learned. But, the next day will be better... Most things will become second nature after awhile. And, then every now and then, even after a few years on the job, a call will come in and you'll think... what in the world do I do with this. Another six months, maybe a year you will look back and laugh at how hard it seemed in the beginning... and it was/is hard, but you'll realize just how far you've come!!! And, even during the hardest days and some cynical ones too, you'll know you have the greatest job in the world!!!

I know what you mean, my training was the hardest thing I have ever been through, but well worth the effort. Keep your head up, it will come, do the best you can every day and don't worry about it when you are at home. I have been doing this for 13 months and my training alasted about 8 months before I was signed off all 4 positions (PD, Fire/EMS, SO and calltaking)

Wow, on your own after 3 weeks? That's crazy to me! We train an average of 6 months here. To Julie, I agree. A lot of it is repetition but just keep in mind that nothing is ever routine. It's too easy to fall into a comfort zone once you've been doing this a while. Be prepared for the worst every time you pick up the phone.

I know whatcha mean, I've been dispatching now for only 6 months and was put out on my own after about 3 weeks! I am the only one on my shift and cover a large county in texas...a lot of is is just learning through will get it!