Pre-shift anxiety for a new PCP

ThirdEyeBlind

Forum Ride Along
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Hi all, this is my first post here!

Quick background. I am turning 28 this year, and have been a Primary Care Paramedic (Canada) for the last 7-8 months.
Before my schooling, and getting hired, I had zero experience in health care field. I went from computer stuff to EMS!

I’ve lived with anxiety for most of my adult life thus far. When it comes to the job, I feel like I’m getting more confident and learning every shift, I work in a very busy service with all types of calls.

Now, I find myself extremely anxious and unsettled before the shift whether its a day shift or night shift. Particularly the night before day shifts.

Does it ever get any better? While I understand some of this is normal and might ease with time/experience, I’m wondering if any of you feel/have felt the same, and if you were able to feel better about it? I seem to have this feeling that the day is going to bring me something I can’t handle.. or im gonna catastrophically screw up beyond recognition. Just something bad in general, lol.

Thanks for reading :)
 

MMiz

I put the M in EMTLife
Community Leader
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My experience is that work-related anxiety generally decreases with time. I was so anxious I didn't sleep the night before my first 12 hour shift in EMS.

Though I didn't have problems sleep after those first few shifts, I'm not sure I ever effectively managed my stress before leaving EMS.

On emergency calls my adrenaline was often full tilt.

Later in life I've found I'm less stressed when I exercise more and eat healthier.

Most importantly, I'd also encourage you to speak with a professional about your anxiety. Use some of your sweet Canadian socialized medicine to connect with a counselor and therapist and figure out strategies that work for you.
 
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ThirdEyeBlind

Forum Ride Along
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My experience is that work-related anxiety generally decreases with time. I was so anxious I didn't sleep the night before my first 12 hour shift in EMS.

Though I didn't have problems sleep after those first few shifts, I'm not sure I ever effectively managed my stress before leaving EMS.

On emergency calls my adrenaline was often full tilt.

Later in life I've found I'm less stressed when I exercise more and eat healthier.

Most importantly, I'd also encourage you to speak with a professional about your anxiety. Use some of your sweet Canadian socialized medicine to connect with a counselor and therapist and figure out strategies that work for you.

Hey thanks for your reply! I thought about reaching out to a professional to see if there was anything I can do about this in the past. I suppose I’m letting the fear of speaking to an actual doctor about it get to me a little.
I find it does affect my sleep quite a bit, and not getting adequate rest definitely contributes more to the issue. Thanks again!
 

mgr22

Forum Deputy Chief
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Hi all, this is my first post here!

Quick background. I am turning 28 this year, and have been a Primary Care Paramedic (Canada) for the last 7-8 months.
Before my schooling, and getting hired, I had zero experience in health care field. I went from computer stuff to EMS!

I’ve lived with anxiety for most of my adult life thus far. When it comes to the job, I feel like I’m getting more confident and learning every shift, I work in a very busy service with all types of calls.

Now, I find myself extremely anxious and unsettled before the shift whether its a day shift or night shift. Particularly the night before day shifts.

Does it ever get any better? While I understand some of this is normal and might ease with time/experience, I’m wondering if any of you feel/have felt the same, and if you were able to feel better about it? I seem to have this feeling that the day is going to bring me something I can’t handle.. or im gonna catastrophically screw up beyond recognition. Just something bad in general, lol.

Thanks for reading :)
You could say I also went from "computer stuff" to EMS. I was 42 when I became a paramedic.

I don't have chronic anxiety, but there have certainly been nights when I've lost sleep over what I was expected to do the next day. Some of that involved EMS. I don't think it's unusual to feel that way.

I suggest three things:

1. Give it time. There's a good chance you'll feel less and less anxious as you become more accustomed to your job. The best antidote I know for nervousness is knowledge. You probably won't have enough of that for several months, at least.

2. Think of successes you've had with other difficult challenges. Are there lessons you learned that you can apply to your current situation?

3. If you do EMS for, say, six months, and you're still feeling as anxious as on day one, maybe it's just not a good match for you. That can happen in any industry. Forcing yourself to do work you dread can be a lot worse than making a change.

We all make mistakes in EMS. It's a great way to learn. Try to find partners who don't mind mentoring new medics and will help you avoid major errors.
 

MEDicJohn

Forum Crew Member
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I sympathize with this fully. As a new medic I would get nauseous up until the start of my shift. I was terrified that I would run into a situation that I didn't know what to do. For me it was educating myself, preparing myself for most situations by studying. I lived with the protocol book in hand. Having a great support staff as well.

"Advice":
1. Get a mentor a medic who you can bounce ideas and call review off of.
2. See a doctor, but beware of SSRI drugs
3. Know that your educated. You went to school for this. You will make mistakes learn from them.
 

NomadicMedic

Pot or Kettle? Unsure.
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Stress is a normal reaction, anxiety about new things is to totally be expected.

I found that when I am anxious or stressed, meditation really helps. I initially thought it was a load of baloney, but have learned that it really works and it doesn’t take long to go from fully stressed to almost totally calm.

You can use books or classes to teach you how to meditate, but I found the best success in watching YouTube videos and learning how to control my breathing and enter that calm state that comes from being mindful and self-aware. It really makes a huge difference, and it doesn’t cost anything. There’s no drugs to take. It’s all you controlling the stress in your mind.

Maybe try it and let us know how it works for you?
 
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