Thursday, March 12, 2009

"It's Vegas, Baby!!"

It's repeatedly been said that "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" but I've never actually had the chance to prove that out ... in April that may all change, though!

Every year, the National Academies of Emergency Dispatch, the organization that I have my Emergency Medical Dispatch Certification through, holds their annual conference either on the right side or left side of the country. Back in 2006, I was fortunate enough to attend the NAED Navigator Conference when it was being held on the right side of the country in Orlando and this year I'm going to be lucky enough to attend the Navigator Conference when they hold it on the left side of the country in Las Vegas - at the Las Vegas Hilton to be exact!

Navigator 2009

Prior to yesterday morning, I was still thinking that it was probably not looking good for us to go this year but as it turns out I was quite wrong. Shortly into our shift, Jen and I got called into the Vice President's office where he told us - "It's Vegas, baby!" Seriously? Wow, I love it when I'm wrong from time to time!

Even though it had been being kicked around at work for a few weeks, I really wasn't holding out much hope of going as I knew that money is tight and technically it wasn't my turn to go. The idea is to rotate all of the dispatchers through so that everyone gets a chance to go to the Conference but this year one of the guys who would have been up for it couldn't attend due to family obligations. Two other dispatchers weren't eligible as they haven't been with us for a year yet and, of course, the guys who went last year were out of the running, too. Still, I wasn't holding my breath and really wasn't expecting to get the nod to go.

Jen, my regular dispatch partner, really wanted to go this year, especially considering she and I had taken on some additional duties, so I let her do the "nagging" for us this year as I've been the one to write proposals and the like in the past. Matt, our immediate supervisor, put his support behind Jen and I going (thanks again, Matt!) as it was felt that we could get a lot out of the Quality Assurance training - QA being the duty that we have taken on. Basically what that means is that we listen to 911 calls and evaluate them using a computerized system called ProQA which I'm sure is all Greek to you folks! Because we are evaluating our co-workers' call-taking abilities and performance, it's important that we know what we're doing and be fair in our evaluations. There are a good number of classes that are being offered at the Conference that have to do with that aspect of our job so the training potential is invaluable.

While quietly hoping that maybe we'd be able to go, I had also been kicking around the thought that if I did get to go to Vegas perhaps a side-trip to Stockton might be a good idea being that I was only going to be 500 miles away from somewhere truly miserable and it seemed a shame to be almost on the West Coast and not go by to visit Grandma Edith (who's not getting any younger), MizCyn and - of course - my favorite Mexican restaurant! Upon being told that we were going to Vegas, I asked if it would be okay to take a few extra days and go up to Stockton. I was told that sure, that should be no problem as long as I had the time available to take off and the flight wasn't going to cost any more than what was already budgeted for airfare.

Thank goodness for Southwest Airlines as I was able to get a flight back to the East Coast from Oakland for only .60 cents more than what Jen's round-trip ticket cost. Of course now there are the other logistics to figure out but I've got plenty of time to get my plans in order as the Conference isn't until the 29th of April. However, for my West Coast blogging friends who live around that area (Sandee! - Katherine!), I should be in Stockton on the 2nd of May with plans to fly back East on the 5th. Perhaps we can fit lunch or dinner and margaritas in there somewhere?

In the meantime, I guess I need to get a hold of Cyndi and let her know what's going on or she's going to be in for quite the shock in May!

Once again, a very big thank you to Michael, Damian, and Matt for giving Jen and I the opportunity to attend the Conference and represent American Ambulance; I promise not to do anything that needs to be "left in Vegas"! And no ... my fingers are not crossed behind my back!!