The one piece of advice you wish you had gotten...

Akulahawk

EMT-P/ED RN
Community Leader
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Hmmmm. Let me see...


  • Listen. Your patients can tell you things... lots of things... about themselves and their history.
  • Hold a hand. Sometimes a touch is all they really need.
  • Be decent in word and deed. If you do not, it'll come around and bite you.
  • Non-EMS people really do NOT understand our humor. Keep it in the station or the truck.
  • (as above) Emesis basins work great as deflectors...
  • (as above) Suction Cannisters catch emesis quite well.
  • If your patient looks sick, they probably are sicker than they look.
  • Pack your lunch.
  • And patients can (and some will) lie to you. And the Nurse. And the Doctor... stick around long enough and you'll hear the story change.
  • Above all, the most we can do is nudge patients towards life. Your patient will do what they'll do. Sometimes the nudge can be a bit of a shove though...
  • Don't be afraid to say "I don't know, but I'll find out..." and do it.
  • And nobody dies in my ambulance. On Scene or in the ED... fine. My ambulance? I might take issue with that...
  • Oh, and have fun. If you don't like what you're doing and you're not having fun, well, burnout is mentally worse than being kicked in the head by a donkey. That's a clear sign to find another line of work.
 
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Danson

Danson

Forum Crew Member
65
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Hmmmm. Let me see...


  • Listen. Your patients can tell you things... lots of things... about themselves and their history.
  • Hold a hand. Sometimes a touch is all they really need.
  • Be decent in word and deed. If you do not, it'll come around and bite you.
  • Non-EMS people really do NOT understand our humor. Keep it in the station or the truck.
  • (as above) Emesis basins work great as deflectors...
  • (as above) Suction Cannisters catch emesis quite well.
  • If your patient looks sick, they probably are sicker than they look.
  • Pack your lunch.
  • And patients can (and some will) lie to you. And the Nurse. And the Doctor... stick around long enough and you'll hear the story change.
  • Above all, the most we can do is nudge patients towards life. Your patient will do what they'll do. Sometimes the nudge can be a bit of a shove though...
  • Don't be afraid to say "I don't know, but I'll find out..." and do it.
  • And nobody dies in my ambulance. On Scene or in the ED... fine. My ambulance? I might take issue with that...
  • Oh, and have fun. If you don't like what you're doing and you're not having fun, well, burnout is mentally worse than being kicked in the head by a donkey. That's a clear sign to find another line of work.

Awesome advice! Thank you!
 
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Danson

Danson

Forum Crew Member
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I wish someone had told me it's easier to listen to what someone tells me than it is to find it out myself.

But the truth is I was told that -- MANY times!-- and it didn't make a damnbitta difference!


This is great advice too! I'm going to go into this field with my eyes and ears wide open.
 

johnrsemt

Forum Deputy Chief
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Treat EVERY patient like they are you, or your mother.

doesn't matter what they did to become your patient, treat them like humans, and leave them better for the time that you were with them.
 

Akulahawk

EMT-P/ED RN
Community Leader
4,815
1,196
113
Treat EVERY patient like they are you, or your mother.

doesn't matter what they did to become your patient, treat them like humans, and leave them better for the time that you were with them.
You'd be amazed how well that works...
 

emt_angel25

Forum Lieutenant
202
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be observant no matter where you are. sometimes your pt wont tell you the whole truth about what they have or have not been doing.

if your scene feels funny to you. trust your gut and get the hell out of there until law enforecement can get there too. no ones life is more important than yours or your partners.
 
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Danson

Danson

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if your scene feels funny to you. trust your gut and get the hell out of there.

This is very important...I feel like the natural instinct is to rush into the scene to provide care. One challenge to me is to remember scene safety even when the scene seems completly "safe."
 

blindsideflank

Forum Lieutenant
184
3
18
this is coming from a powerlifter who can squat over 600 lbs. if you have to think about it, get someone to help you lift it. no point being the tough guy/gal. i mean why else do firefighters exist?
 
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Danson

Danson

Forum Crew Member
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this is coming from a powerlifter who can squat over 600 lbs. if you have to think about it, get someone to help you lift it. no point being the tough guy/gal. i mean why else do firefighters exist?

So, being the kind of *cough* scrawney guy that I am...are there any exersizes that I should focus more on when I go to the gym to make my life as an emt easier? Right now I do lift weights and do cardio work. Not really squats though.
 

johnrsemt

Forum Deputy Chief
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I have had patients who were combative, or rude to me; (spitting, swearing, swinging) who I have been nice to, and had their attitude change.
Some didn't change their attitudes, but I was still nice to them.
Some times I had to fight with a patient to protect myself, (long enough for my partner to stop the truck, so that I could bail out of the back and we could wait for the police); but I was STILL polite as I was beating him with the clipboard.
 

berkeman

Forum Lieutenant
152
4
18
Learned a great stroke question the other day from a medic who I transferred a Pt to:

"Repeat after me, The sky is blue in Cincinnati."

If you're having trouble telling if the Pt is slurring her speech, the "in Cincinnati" part will probably show it up pretty well. Worked in this case.
 
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Danson

Danson

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I wanted to thank everyone here who has left me some advice. Hopefully this thread will give other new basics insight into the profession as it has certainly given me some.
 

Jeffrey_169

Forum Lieutenant
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I am a brand new EMT-B who is about to start my first job in one week. I have been cruising this site and trying to pull as much information as I can in order to be a more well informed, thoughtful and respectable EMT when I do start.

I know to avoid becoming a "whacker." I know that I am humble and have so much to learn from other EMTs and Medics, and that I never want to stop learning.

I have learned ways to deal with stress and how to stay healthy.

I have learned how much gear I NEED to carry and the best to get when I do need it.

I have learned so much and I thank you all who have posted in the past, posted to me and those who continue to post and share your knowlege.

What I want to know now is if there was ever a time when you thought, "Hey, I wish somebody had told me that before I started!"

What would you want to tell your past self: your former self just about to start his/her first job?

I know that everything I have learned here and in class only acts as supplemental knowlege to what I will actually learn in the field. But I am on a mission to never stop my learning process.

Any helpfull advice is appreciated.

Thank you! B)

There are a few things I wish I would have known years ago. One of them is when the situation gets rough, and you are in the heat of battle, don't be afraid to ask for help or admit you don't know something. You seem to have a handle on this really well, which is commendable. There are too many know-it-alls out there.

Another thing is when to know when to step back, look at the big picture, and regroup. There are times when you are going 90 mph in a 55 mph zone (so to speak) and its important to keep a handle on yourself and not lose sight of what you are doing. When I was younger I would run on some calls and go "mind condition black" becasue I simply was going faster then my mind was able to operate. Then are those calls where you just can't seem to figure out what is going on, and this only incites more stress, which results in more aggravation and frustration. I eventually learned there are times when taking a step back, taking a couple deep breaths, and mentally regrouping can make all the difference. It is easy to get overloaded when a patient is going downhill quickly and you can't figure out why. Eventually it was an older women who taught me to step away, take a few deep breaths, and then take another look when I was calm and collected. It makes a difference.

Some say this is common sense, and it is, but when I started I was young and I didn't know better. I had something to prove, and to me this seemed less moncho then I wanted to be. I soon realized the error in my ways.

I am sure you will do fine. You seems to have a good head on your shoulders, and are willing to listen and learn form others opinions and experience. These are admirable qualities in anyone, but especially a clinician.
 

fire_911medic

Forum Crew Member
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Few things I would have told my young 18 year old self who was sooo naive'

1. You aren't going to save them all no matter how hard you try. Sometimes you'll do absolutely everything right, and it's still not going to be enough. I have to still remind myself of that sometimes.

2. You're human, you are going to make mistakes. It's okay. The important thing is that you learn from them.

3. NEVER forget that your patient's were once valued by someone. Even if they are the most annoying things in the world, they were or are cared about by someone. Don't be afraid to show compassion. It's not a sign of weakness, it's showing that you are the stronger person.

4. Do not let the job become your identity. That's the quickest way to burnout I know. Leave it at the door. You may love what you do (and trust me I do or else I wouldn't do it), but don't let it be your life. Get away from it and keep your non EMS identity. I realized several years ago when I got hurt and thought my career might be over that I no longer remembered what my pre-EMS life was like. I had let the job become "me". Don't let it happen to you.

Those are my few words to help you out. Stay safe out there.
 

Jeffrey_169

Forum Lieutenant
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Few things I would have told my young 18 year old self who was sooo naive'

1. You aren't going to save them all no matter how hard you try. Sometimes you'll do absolutely everything right, and it's still not going to be enough. I have to still remind myself of that sometimes.

2. You're human, you are going to make mistakes. It's okay. The important thing is that you learn from them.

3. NEVER forget that your patient's were once valued by someone. Even if they are the most annoying things in the world, they were or are cared about by someone. Don't be afraid to show compassion. It's not a sign of weakness, it's showing that you are the stronger person.

4. Do not let the job become your identity. That's the quickest way to burnout I know. Leave it at the door. You may love what you do (and trust me I do or else I wouldn't do it), but don't let it be your life. Get away from it and keep your non EMS identity. I realized several years ago when I got hurt and thought my career might be over that I no longer remembered what my pre-EMS life was like. I had let the job become "me". Don't let it happen to you.

Those are my few words to help you out. Stay safe out there.

Nothing to add, I just wanted to say this is an OUTSTANDING post.
 
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Danson

Danson

Forum Crew Member
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Nothing to add, I just wanted to say this is an OUTSTANDING post.

I couldn't agree more. Through all my mental preparing for this career, I never thought to not let the identity of being an EMT eat me alive.

I am so glad I started this thread.
 

emt_angel25

Forum Lieutenant
202
1
0
few things i would have told my young 18 year old self who was sooo naive'

1. You aren't going to save them all no matter how hard you try. Sometimes you'll do absolutely everything right, and it's still not going to be enough. I have to still remind myself of that sometimes.

2. You're human, you are going to make mistakes. It's okay. The important thing is that you learn from them.

3. never forget that your patient's were once valued by someone. Even if they are the most annoying things in the world, they were or are cared about by someone. Don't be afraid to show compassion. It's not a sign of weakness, it's showing that you are the stronger person.

4. Do not let the job become your identity. That's the quickest way to burnout i know. Leave it at the door. You may love what you do (and trust me i do or else i wouldn't do it), but don't let it be your life. Get away from it and keep your non ems identity. I realized several years ago when i got hurt and thought my career might be over that i no longer remembered what my pre-ems life was like. I had let the job become "me". Don't let it happen to you.

Those are my few words to help you out. Stay safe out there.



amazing!!! Very very good
 

themuffin101

Forum Ride Along
8
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1. if they look like they are going to puke, turn them towards family members...
2. BLS does not stand for Basic Lifting Service. Work efficiently and you will be respected.
3. MICU does not mean ME In Charge Of You. Although people of higher training are usually willing to teach, never let their attitudes phase you.
4. If you think someone of higher authority is doing something wrong, theres a good chance that you are right, respectfully ask them about it. Common case is not immobilzing a spine when it should be done.
5. DO NOT GO INTO A CALL NERVOUS OR PANIC- you become nervous or panic because you feel like you might mess something up. You are more likely to mess up when you are nervous. If you feel like your pulse is increasing or you are getting nervous, take a step back and think, WTF. Its him that is having a heart attack, not me. Y am i nervous.
6. Be in a good mood and smile. If a patients family sees that you look worried or nervous, they will flip out and become hysterical.
7. have fun...you didnt become an EMT because u had to, it was you choice
8. convenience/vomit bag is your friend
9.kravats are good for anything
10.follow rules 1-9
 

fire_911medic

Forum Crew Member
64
4
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Another thing that was told to me along the way that I've found useful :

Work smarter, not harder. If there's a better way to do it an easier way that will get the same job done, try it. Be open to new ideas - they may work, they may not, but everybody's got something to contribute. Even if it's how not to do something !
 
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