Choosing a career such as being an Emergency Medical Technician can be extremely stressful; in fact it may also be one of the most stressful jobs ever. But, every job has stresses of its own kind and therefore if you give your mind and heart to it, you can become a successful EMT and eventually advance your career.
If you are aware of what kind of stresses your job has, you can find ways of solving them and become a better employee.
Here are some of the stresses of becoming an EMT:
- The job is usually for long hours because EMTs are the only hope for patients between the incident and the hospital. The job also requires 24 hour shifts which means that you may need to work for a full day with back to back emergencies and you can only rest until the next day.
- In your job, you face various different situations such as traumatized patients, aggressive individuals and also death. You need to be skilled to deal with these situations because you are a source of comfort for the victims/patients.
- After dealing with a variety of stresses at the emergency situation, you then have the stresses of changing shifts, making demand schedules and peer related stresses.
- As an EMT, you will often receive life-threatening 9-1-1 calls like a cardiac arrest or a diabetic emergency. You may also need to tackle mentally ill patients or a drunken individual. The stress that results from these calls could be long lasting and therefore it will be very helpful for you to be aware on how to deal with these stresses.
It is essential to have the knowledge of the different kind of stresses that EMTs often face and how to deal with them.
The following are the three stages of stress;
- The Alarm stage: This is the stage in the beginning where the Adrenalin kicks in, mostly as soon as you receive a life threatening call.
- The Resistance stage: This is the stage where an EMT is trying to manage the stresses but also drains the energy that they need.
- The Exhaustion stage: This stage is the most difficult stage because you lose all your energy and your brain can not function anymore. This makes it difficult to deal with an emergency situation.
The signs of stress in EMTs.
Of course, all EMTs struggle with stress and they all have a different way of managing their stress. Some of the warning signs of stress in an individual are how it affects their mental and emotional health. If you see a change in their behavior, you need to be concerned and try to help them.
It is very common for EMTs with stress to face difficulties and to be able to concentrate on the emergency at hand. The stresses that EMTs face are long lasting and can be very overwhelming too.
You may find EMTs don’t do much other than working. Their socializing is limited or reduced greatly perhaps because they prefer to use that time sleeping, relaxing or just doing their own things. This is okay to an extent but it isn’t a good sign if it happens often, it is a sign that an EMT is stressed and needs assistance.
Stress is also harmful to one’s health. It may cause various physical illnesses such as persistent headaches, fatigue and extreme tiredness, weight loss or gain, profuse sweating, stomach aches and not getting enough sleep.
Ways of dealing with EMT stresses.
There is no chance of avoiding stresses in an EMT’s job. The nature of the job is such that stresses cannot be escaped. However; EMTs can develop habits in order to decrease the possible symptoms of stress.
- Maintaining positive vibes in the work environment. It is essential to talk nicely with fellow employees and avoid any negative vibes. Maintain a good relationship with the employer and workers around you.
- When the stress gets really bad, take a break. Find something that you like to do during your free time to avoid any possible negativity. Seclude yourself for a little while and spend your time doing something that you enjoy. Spend some time with a close friend or pal, play a game together or go out for a meal to relax your mind before your next emergency.
- Spend your time doing your favorite things. You can go dancing if you’re interested, you can join a basketball team, visit a library, a museum or a park, or just as simple as taking a walk to relax your mind.
- Share your experiences. Chat with senior employees to see how they have been coping with stress. Ask them for pointers that can be beneficial to you and learn from their experiences.
Where can EMTs find help to deal with the stresses of their job?
Many EMTs are comfortable with asking their fellow employees for guidelines on how to manage the stresses that they face daily. Employers may refer you to the Critical Incident Stress Management. The CISM is very helpful for dealing with life threatening emergencies; it helps an EMT to manage and calm their emotions before taking on a task and dealing with the emergency. It helps to clear your mind so that you are able to successfully deal with the situation at hand and complete your task.
Employers may also offer Critical Incident Stress De-briefing (CISD). This is used for traumatic accidents. You may also be referred to therapy where you can learn how to manage traumatic victims and patients.
The best way to deal with EMT stresses is when employers and employees come together to discuss possible stresses and support each other.
Some EMTs are also greatly supported by their families and assisted accordingly.
It may also help you to note that sometimes as an EMT, you don’t immediately feel stresses but the stress can take its toll in a very harmful way later in your life. Therefore, take care of yourself all the time and keep your head clear and healthy. Learn about signs of stress and learn from peer experiences.
Wishing you all the best!
Remember: YOU CAN DO IT!!