Helping Others Can Be Hazardous to Your Health
Working for EMS involves challenges that can take their toll on you mentally and emotionally. Here are a few of the stressors that can challenge even the most resilient people in the field:
- long hours and unpredicatable schedules
- being "on call" for extended periods
- having to perform in bad weather and harsh climates
- worries about contagious diseases, needlesticks, etc.
- being the target of violence in the communities you serve
- violent, uncooperative, or mentally unstable patients
- witnessing large scale devastation involving air disasters, terrorist attack, etc.
- frustration with equipment, communications, etc.
- difficulty reaching emergency sites.
The Stress of the Job Can Catch Up to Anyone
Maybe you have known for a while, or are just beginning to notice:
- You're just not your usual self
- Flashbacks or nightmares about a certain bad call
- A back injury or other nagging physical problem has got you feeling depressed
- You feel nervous and exhausted--but you can't seem to get any rest
- The job is affecting your marriage and home life
- you're drinking too much and/or abusing prescription or other drugs.
- Read more about our program in the April 11, 2011 online edition of the Journal of Emergency Medical Services (JEMS).