In all areas of life, there is always room for improvement. Take a moment to reflect on your work life to find where improvements could be made. I thought about it this past week, and have written the following tips that will positively impact your life and work as an Emergency Medical Technician.
1. Learn every patient’s name, Then use it. Asking your patients’ name should be the first step in every assessment: take your patients’ wrist, and ask, “What is your name?” Their answer will help you assess airway, circulation, major cranial nerves, and breathing. Now, remember their name. During your time with them, use it. This will make your patient much more comfortable and confident in your abilities as an EMT – drastically improving your patient rapport.
2. Leave the rig better than you got it. Next time you start your shift, open up the back doors of the rig and just examine it. Is it messy, organized, accessible, a nightmare? Whatever state you find it in, do something that will leave it better for the next crew. You can do something simple – wipe down the cabinet doors, for example. Or go a little further – do an inventory of the jump kit, or set up the pram for the next guys. It doesn’t have to be perfect (it never will be), just better than it was. You will feel better, the next crew will feel better, and who knows, maybe you will start a positive snowball effect of rig-perfecting.
3. Learn from your peers. Everyone you meet has something to teach you. In terms of your peers, you could learn valuable career-related insights. Engage with your coworkers, find topics they enjoy talking about, and dive in. People love to talk about things they love – use this to your advantage and let them teach you.
4. Care about your patient. Often times in the rush of things, we drop our patient off at the ER and get back to whatever had our attention before we got the call. “I wasn’t finished reading that post on EMTCourse.com!” I know, happens to me all the time. But I encourage you to get into the habit of staying around the ER after dropping off your patient, time allowing. Staying around the ER will only improve your future performance as an EMT. Use it as an opportunity to learn, ask the doctors what they think is happening and if there was something you could have done differently to improve patient outcome. They may not always be right, but their input is definitely worthy of consideration.
5. Be the kind of partner you would want to have. Everyone clamors for the best partner. Having a good partner not only makes your job easier, it makes it so much more enjoyable. So if you want to be the best partner, be the partner that everyone else wants. The process is simple: take out a piece of paper, write down all the qualities you would want in a partner, and then strive to embody those qualities.
6. Master medication. There are so many medications, mastering a working knowledge of all of them and their interactions would be near impossible, but make an effort to understand each new medication you encounter while on call. Don’t recognize it? Write it down, and after your shift, look it up. Keep this up, and by the end of the year, you knowledge of medications and potential interactions will be vastly improved, allowing you to perform your job better.
7. Research. If you are serious about working in the medical field, you must know that technology and medicine are constantly improving. Many of the practices and equipment you are using now will be completely obsolete in a few years, so pay attention. Stay up to date on the latest research and do your leg work. Being an EMT means committing to a lifetime of learning.
8. Stop eating junk food. As an Emergency Medical Technician, your job is literally to protect and preserve the health of others. So why neglect your own? I know you work in an ambulance and you are constantly rushed, but make a conscious effort to eat healthier. Bring an apple and skip the drive-through. You will be more energetic and better able to care for your patients. Being out of shape is not only a disservice to yourself, it is a disservice to your patients.
9. Perfect the full head-to-toe assessment. Yes, this can and should be perfected. A smooth and, more importantly, thorough, assessment is vital in giving the best patient care. Skimping out on certain parts can have disastrous results. Detailed head-to-toes can have life-saving results. They are one of the most important things you can do for your patients. So do them, and do them well.
10. Claim your contribution. We can enter the EMS field and suddenly be overwhelmed with an uncertainty we’ve never felt before. “Can I actually do this job?” “Do I know enough to actually help this patient, and not harm them?” These are valid concerns, and the stress shows you care. But don’t let it debilitate you. Know that youcan do this job. You were certified for a reason. You were hired for a reason. Ask yourself instead, “How can I contribute?” or “What is unique about my skillset that I can contribute to the team and to my patients?” Seriously, ask yourself. You may be surprised that the answer will probably come immediately. Jump on that, act on it, and contribute the world of EMS in a way that only you can.I hope you find these tips as useful as I have. If you practice them with consistency, I have no doubt you will see major improvements in both your job satisfaction and performance as an Emergency Medical Technician.
About Unitek Education
Unitek Education is the premier EMT training provider in the United States. Our mission is simple: training the next wave of EMT professionals. We offer a variety of training options to fit your needs. Unitek Education’s instructors are experienced leaders in their fields, and our ultra-real-world training scenarios are ideal for both new and seasoned students, with training the covers all major aspects of emergency medical services.