As we enter back-to-school days, here are 5 simple steps to get off to the right start when emailing professors. These tips may seem overly formal, but remember, this is how the first email should look. Subsequent emails can relax as you follow the lead of the instructor.
Format similar to snail mail. Yep. This isn’t a text message. For example, address the person formally and use salutations. “Good afternoon Ms. Locke.” This may be the only time you ever address the instructor this way, but it demonstrates that you understand how to communicate in a professional environment.
Be succinct. Since you have regular face-to-face communication with your professor, email should be reserved for simple requests or notifications. Save the rest for in-person. Educators love to talk about their fields of expertise. If you have questions about classroom topics, you can ask them in an email, but request office hours to get the most out of their answer.
Prepare to wait. It is customary to allow one business day for a response. If you desire a quicker response, simply request that and then wait. The emails that get the quickest responses from me are the ones that have one topic.
Use spell and grammar check. You are emailing an educator. They care about these things. Don’t use texting jargon. Remember, this is electronic mail. Even though it gets delivered electronically, don’t confuse it with a text message.
Sleep before send. It is natural for conflicts to arise. Professional communication should largely be devoid of emotion. If you notice you are angry while composing the email, do not send. Sleep on it. In fact, if something arises that makes you angry, schedule a meeting. Dialogue is best for conflict resolution.
The effects of sleep deprivation are akin to alcohol intoxication; build a safe sleep room and a culture of watching over tired medics
Jul 5, 2016
By Ginger Locke
EMS responders are unfit to drive a vehicle at the end of a sleep-deprived 24-hour shift. That’s because long shifts with inadequate sleep makes driving a risk to the responder and others on the road.
Multiple studies demonstrate that prolonged wakefulness is comparable to drunk driving. Twenty-one hours of wakefulness produces impairment of the same magnitude as a 0.08 percent blood alcohol content .
When I read accounts of EMS personnel dying in vehicle collisions on the way home from work, like EMT Susan Elizabeth Kersey, I consider sleep deprivation as the possible culprit. Undeniably, some form of state or federal regulation would improve the current practice of EMS providers logging unsafe numbers of hours worked consecutively.
Until external regulation is forced upon us, we must monitor and care for ourselves by creating safe sleep rooms. Inside a safe sleep room, a tired medic can get some sleep before driving home from their shift. In order for the room to work, we need to first agree that important, potentially lifesaving sleep is happening inside the safe room.
The first homework assignment of the semester is for the students to submit via email their 5 and 20-year professional goals.
The purpose of the exercise is three-fold.
1. When I first thought of the exercise, it was because a coach in high school had us do something similar and it was a useful exercise in setting goals. The paper where I wrote goals still exists and it is uncanny how close things came to some outlandish ideas. EMS as a career has been very good to me and I want the same for paramedic students. The homework assignment encourages them to contemplate how to make EMS a lasting career early in their investment. Through the years, some students respond that they haven’t considered their end-goals. These responses affirmed this as an activity to continue. I respect that it is hard to think about where you are going when every day is spinning with clinical rotations, deadlines, exams, psychomotor evaluations, and on and on. This exercise, for a grade, forces the reflection.
2. The next result of the activity was unintentional. Once their goals were transparent, I found myself curtailing classroom examples around those. For the student who wants to work at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, I include examples of what to do when resources are slim. For the student wanting to go to medical school, they get a nod or extra eye contact when a CT of an injury is shown. Occasionally, to my delight, there is a student who says they want to teach! I’m always in awe of these students because it never occurred to me to teach when I was in school. When these guys are in the class (it isn’t every semester a students expresses an interest in education) I ruminate out loud about teaching methods. For example, I explain the strategy of telling a discouraged learner to add “yet” to the end of their negative self-talk and how this shifts everything. “I’m not good at acid-base balance….yet.” Carol Dweck‘s name gets jotted on the board and the future educator is sent off to do their research.
3. The third outcome was unexpected and it has challenged me through the years. Some emails are well communicated and follow spoken and unspoken rules of professional email etiquette. Others fall terribly short. The challenge for me has been to hear their messages without being emotionally clouded when the style is off-putting. What I’ve learned is that a person can be incredibly relatable and have profound social intelligence in-person, and simultaneously muck up all that charm with the messiest of emails.
And that will be the topic of the next blog: how to communicate in an email to your EMS professor.
I’ll explain why this email below gets the communication rolling in the right direction.
A Florida EMS agency is not likely to achieve its desired retention goal by offering medics a $35,000 bonus for working for 5 years
Nov 17, 2015
By Ginger Locke
Sunstar Paramedics recently promised to give a $35,000 bonus to medics who stay for five years.
This year millennials, workers born between 1980 and 2000, became the largest cohort in the U.S. workforce [1, 3]. Workforce experts offer a clear message regarding the attraction and retention of millennials; money still talks to millennials, but it’s more of a whisper.
To motivate millennials many employers are rapidly switching away from cash bonuses and toward the intangibles millennials crave. In addition to earning a living wage, here are the top three things millennials are seeking in a career:
Floor-to-ceiling bookshelves hover on one busy wall in my home office. Two of these shelves are the “action shelves.” They house the books that get pulled off, referenced, piled around the house, written in, sticky-noted, stuck in my backpack, stuffed with a pencil and sometimes returned. Most of them are second and third copies as I’m compelled to give away books as a congenital habit I inherited from Mom. I was at her mountain house in Highlands, NC recently and in her bedroom she has bookshelves that greet her eyes when she wakes in the morning. She’s a retired college professor who probably shouldn’t have retired. If she woke on the other side of the bed, she’d have a mountain view, but she opts to wake on the side with the books. Looking through her library, I notice that she had two copies of almost a third of her books. “So I can still have a copy when I give one away,” she tells me. I chuckle because I have, in recent years begun buying up copies of Complications by Atul Gawande, How Doctor’s Think by Jerome Groopman, and Stiff by Mary Roach whenever they show up at local used bookstore. 2 of the 3 of these are currently missing from the action shelves because they are in someone else’s backpack or back at the bookstore for me to scoop up again.