As a new EMT, it can be very intimidating and overwhelming. Most of what you learn will be on the job and not taught in your EMT course. As for everything, we all start at the bottom before we gain experience. Learning to become a good provider and partner will take time and expertise. As a new provider, there is much to learn. Here are some tips to help you along the way.
Understand Patient Assessment
I cannot emphasize this enough. It is vital to the EMS provider to understand the nature of the call, resources needed, BSI protocols, scene safety, and assessing the patient’s injury or illness. Without a good foundation of patient assessment, you will be unable to provide the care needed to your patients. Conducting patient assessment comes with experience, and over time the more calls you go on, the more comfortable you will be conducting your patient assessment.
Do not be afraid to ask questions. When faced with a skill or situation you are unfamiliar with, ask before doing. Nothing is worse than a provider who does not ask questions and creates more stress during a call. In general, whether it is about a protocol or policy, ask if you are unsure or do not understand.
Be A Team Player
It is imperative to be a team player, especially in EMS. You will be working with your partner and other resources throughout your shift. Not only is it essential to get along and communicate with your partner, but it is also equally important to do the same with other providers. When providers are team players, there is less risk of burnout, mistakes, and overall frustration. In addition to taking care of your partner, make sure to take care of yourself.
Never Stop Learning
EMS is constantly evolving and changing. Ride with as many experienced providers as possible and learn as much as you can during your shift. Take electives when available, even if you do not need the CEUs. Be open to topics in EMS that may not be the most exciting to you. If you struggle with a specific population, like pediatrics, identify that area of weakness and work towards improvement. Be open to constructive criticism. Please do not take everything personally, instead take it as an opportunity to do better and grow.
Make self-care a priority. You cannot be a good provider or partner if you aren’t taking care of yourself. Make an effort to eat, sleep, and exercise to help ease stress. If you experience an upsetting call, make sure to discuss it with your supervisor, partner, or others. EMS takes a toll not only physically but also mentally and emotionally. Make self-care a priority to decrease burnout and stress.
As you begin your journey in EMS, you will learn a lot about yourself, see the worst and best of humanity, and grow as an individual. As you progress, you will master your skills and confidence in providing patient care.