Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Dealing With Stress in EMS

... the super short course...
I've been working with a medic student lately- she does ok, but doesn't have a lot of EMS experience- so there are questions...
One question that came up had to do with EMS on-the-job stress- most folks assume that medics get stressed over broken, bloody, diseased bodies or some other horrible event out in the field. The truth is the single most stressful part of my day is dealing with the toxic, poisoned work environment that our management has created- yup- I am saying flat out it is way more stressful to be in the station than out on an EMS call.
So what is a paramedic to do? Well, some of my colleagues have chosen to get out- not a bad course of action I guess.
Me, right now I love my job- I'm really quite good at it- but I'm not going to let it kill me.
So here's my advice on how to cope:
  • Don't get involved in the petty stuff- it never ends and the little stuff is the big stuff to management because they don't know any better
  • Leave home at home and work at work
  • Exercise
  • SLEEP!- set time aside to sleep. I'm starting a 16 on 8 off cycle- when it's done I'm going to sleep- do not wake me up
  • Minimize or eliminate drugs and drink- the time spent under the influence is not restorative
  • Invest in yourself- become super good at your job. That makes everything so much easier and it makes you so much harder to mess with

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