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May return to EMS. Chance my success.

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  • May return to EMS. Chance my success.

    So I worked as an EMT about 6 years ago. I did not consider it a success.

    I have identified the factors that led to my inability to perform.

    First, I am not naturally a fast, quick on my feet thinker. I am highly intelligent, but I am more reflective and analytical. I process immediate incoming information more slowly than the average person. I do best when I can take time to think about a situation. I recognize that in EMS, this time is in short supply. We must think and act NOW, as life hangs in the balance. That is not to say I can't do it, just that it isn't natural for me. It takes a considerable amount of focus and intention for me to do. I have to be confident in the processes and skills I am utilizing.

    Second, the anxiety of calls compromised my ability to perform. The focus required to be this job well was interfered with by anxiety. Basic tasks seemed insurmountable challenges. I did not have any grounding skills to manage this anxiety, and it essentially took over. The result was on some calls I was unable to do the job well. Sometimes, I would "freeze up." I'd say as time went on, this was less of a factor. However, patient's lives hang in the balance, and I may not have the time to dial this in. A mistake could cost a life.

    I did very well in class. I was able to competently manage our "mock" calls. However, the pressures and anxieties of real emergencies added another element entirely, and I was not able to adapt. My crew told me I was below average and wasn't going to make it. This was crushing, but fair. I was not performing competently. Some calls I did well, but I was very inconsistent.

    My success will depend entirely on my ability to ground myself and focus on the situation at hand, managing the anxieties of an emergency. I essentially need to tune out my anxieties and focus, so that I may think and act RIGHT NOW. I need to improve my ability to think on my feet, and cope with and tune out anything that gets in the way. So my question is, is this something that can be learned, or is this something you either have or you don't? Is EMS/firefighting simply a poor fit for me, and should I accept that and pursue different ways of helping people?

    Don't hold back. I'd like to know.

  • #2
    So how old are you now??

    What have you been doing the last six years??

    Are you still certified?

    Any firefighting work??



    • #3
      Can you arrange a ride-along with a local agency?

      You'd be under no pressure to perform, as an observer, but you'd be able to place yourself in the crews shoes real time and perhaps judge your reaction and response to the unfolding situation.

      And perhaps critique your view of the call with the crew after the fact.

      If you get a good mentoring crew, they might even include you in the call, asking your assessment, etc. Worst case scenario, you end up assisting with CPR on a full arrest.
      Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

      Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.


      • #4
        If you cannot overcome this anxiety I would recommend finding another line of work.
        As an EMT, Paramedic or Firefighter it is of utmost importance that you can think on your feet fast and make the right call "Everytime" because lives are in the balance.
        Think of it this way: What if you needed medical attention for a life threatening condition or needed rescue from a burning building? Would you want a 1st responder showing up and not have the ability to make a fast assessment and plan of attack to save your life?


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