Starting EMT-B soon, normal to be scared?

IcantThinkofAname

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Hi all,

I'm so glad I found this forum. I've been reading it for days and it's been very helpful. I'm starting an EMT-B class at the beginning of September, and although I've been wanting to do this for a long time and I sat down and talked with our local EMS coordinator, I'm suddenly very scared. I was fine until I made the decision to just sign up and told my husband and family I was so excited.

My big fear is that when the time comes, I won't have the courage to do what's needed or know what I'm doing. I guess I'm afraid I won't have the confidence in myself to do what needs to be done.

Is this a normal fear people have going into it, or are EMTs super confident by nature and I'm just delving into the wrong field?

Thanks for any advice and input!

-Alle
 

apagea99

Forum Lieutenant
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I'm going to guess it's normal because I've got some of the same things going on (my class starts in 2 weeks). I think the confidence will come as we learn our skills and practice them in class and then in our clinicals.

Good luck to you and study, study, study!
 

Onceamedic

Forum Asst. Chief
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I had a paramedic instructor tell me that if I ever stopped being scared that it was time to find a new profession. You learn to function in spite of the fear and use it to spur you on to further education and keeping your skills sharp. Why don't you try a few ride alongs if you can get them. There are EMTs that quit after the first nasty trauma or ped code. But scared - yeah, I'd say that was normal.
 

mikie

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Regardless of the course (EMS, math, science, etc), I think everyone has a little anxiety about going into it.

I was really excited but also nervous if I could do it, whether I'd fit in with the rest of the class. I ended up just fine!

You'll be fine! Good luck!
 

Code 3

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My big fear is that when the time comes, I won't have the courage to do what's needed or know what I'm doing. I guess I'm afraid I won't have the confidence in myself to do what needs to be done.

Use that as motivation to study and stay focused. It's ultimately your decision on whether or not you end up in a situation w/o any clue of what to do. If you practice your skills enough they will start to become second nature.

For example, how can you not know what to do when you're called to a cardiac emergency when there's an entire chapter explaining S/S and treatments? It's entirely up to you ;)
 

John E

Forum Captain
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I'd find a new instructor...

Any instructor who tells their student that they should be constantly afraid is an idiot.

Fear is a blocking emotion, it stops us from doing what's necessary in a time of crisis.

Concerned, sure, anxious and nervous since we might be taking another person's life in our hands, absolutely, working in a constant state of fear, nope.

Ask your instructor to define "fear", maybe they just don't understand the meaning of the word.

John E
 
OP
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IcantThinkofAname

Forum Crew Member
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Thank you!

Thank you to all who replied. I do think a lot of it is anxiety. I think of just about every job or venture I started where I was the newbie and I'm always anxious. I think experience and learning the material thoroughly will help with that. It certainly is a bit nervewracking, though, to know you hold someone's life in your hands and one screwup could take that away.
 

Ridryder911

EMS Guru
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I believe your so called fears are reasonable. The usual reason people are afraid is because of the "unknown". Once you know and have gained experience then a lot of the fear will leave. Appropriate fear is okay, but unreasonable fear has to be evaluated. Yes, you may have some form of "anxiety" and mild fear on all calls which is again is usually caused by the "unknown" and this is to be expected.

Having a mild form of anxiety can actually be productive as it enhances the senses, observation skills, etc. but it is a controlled anxiety and that it itself is something one develops with time and education.

Can you make mistakes.. you bet, will you learn off these mistakes, I hope so. Will you endanger patients? Probably not. There is very little treatment or even lack of that can cause potential harm (unless one is grossly negligent).

Now, with all of this said remember that your expectation as a Basic EMT is that just above first responder care. You will only be responsible for a few minutes or until more advanced care is available. I am sure you will be taught well on how to perform the needed requirements, you will be tested as well on the minimum satisfactory requirements to ensure safety to others.

Chill out.. study, practice, relax and enjoy your course..

R/r 911
 

BossyCow

Forum Deputy Chief
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Fear or Anticipation??

Some fear means that you are taking this seriously. I think we all go through a bit of that from time to time. The key is to not let the fear paralyze you. If you can acknowledge that this is a scary thing and still be able to function, pull the information out of your brain and go on with your life after the call is over, you'll do fine. If it doesn't get better with practice, then I'd re-think your calling.
 

silvercat354726

Forum Lieutenant
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I have to agree with what others have stated above me. I was nervous, excited all the above you named when I started last year. Bossycow pointed out a very true thing about the fear paralyzing you. I know when I went on my first cardiac call I was paralyzed a for what seemed like 10 minutes but was about a minute when someone told me to get the cot in the house, I did. Study and get a few people together to practice with what you are learning in class. Good Luck
 

Oregon

Forum Crew Member
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I was quite scared that I would faint at the sight of blood, or freeze when needed, or whatever. When the time came for clinicals, I made a couple of mistakes but nothing serious. When I got out there with my newly printed cert. I just kind of slid right into it like I'd always been doing it.
But driving to every call, my guts still clench and I get a little freaky until I get to my patient. Then everything goes quick and smooth.

I hope that's how things work out for you (except for the gut clenching thing!)
 

rhan101277

Forum Deputy Chief
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I just started my class last week, its pretty good and the jitters have kind of worn off. The class is moving to the local ambulance service training room, instead of the college. There are more training tools there etc. I have to say A&P I is alot harder than the EMT-B class so far. I am just taking A&P to be a more informed basic, but also to pursue paramedic next fall if everything works out ok. But if I decide to stay a basic, it definitely will not be money wasted.
 

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