As you kick start your career as an EMT you will be faced with so many new challenging and sometimes frightening situations that your textbooks have not prepared you for. We took to inviting a few veterans to tell us what the one thing was they wish someone had told them when they started out. This is about the good, the bad, and the ugly. Some things you will already have learned through your textbooks and preparation, but out here in the real world, they take on a whole different meaning.
One tip every experienced veteran will forewarn you about is that all your academic and practical training can never prepare you enough for what you will encounter on the job. Day-to-day, you will face situations where you undoubtedly have to carry out swift, unpredictable decisions that require you to remain calm, level headed, and professional, at all times.
There will be times when you make mistakes. You are not expected to know it all. You will learn and will also teach. You are now part of a family, a community, and while you are out there, your partner and colleagues will have your back, just like you will be expected to always have theirs. Do not be afraid to ask questions or make suggestions, but most importantly, always be respectful.
This job is most definitely not for the faint of heart. A strong stomach is a MUST and you need to practice the ability to suppress your reactions when faced with these situations. This is one of your many EMS superpowers! At some point or another in your career, you will be exposed to bodily fluids, Saliva, blood, urine, feces… it’s all in a day’s work :). What is important when that happens is that you ALWAYS take precautions to look after yourself and your partner.
Safety first! Consistently act with your own safety and that of your partner in mind. It is not your job to be a modern hero. Do the right thing for yourself and not for social recognition or reward.
It is OK to fumble and resemble the class clown when opening the stair chair. It happens and is something that almost every EMT will struggle with when starting out. The great news is, it gets easier with practice.
Practice safe lifting. By practicing safe lifting and carrying techniques, you will ultimately avoid injury or hassle as a result of putting a strain on your back, knees, or joints.
Keep it simple when talking to patients. All the medical abbreviations and terms signify nothing to them. Being able to recite every notable abbreviation off by heart does not do anything more than make an already unsure, scared patient even more alarmed.
Well now you know! Good luck on your new career as an EMT and be the true hero you were made to be.