Ambulance personnel is the most important first responder in the community. Their role is to participate in and coordinate or directly provide out-of-hospital or pre-hospital emergency medical care. The nature of the job and the uncontrolled or often unpredictable environment are not mostly inherent in any other profession, so their impact on a worker can be crucial. This paper will examine the emergency medical services field’s positive and negative effects on its provider, namely paramedics.
Occupational and organizational factors such as workload, long shifts, and limited time to report or take a break affect paramedics. In addition to psychological effects from exposure to professional stress, there are also physical effects (Lamplugh, 2017). These include sleep disturbances, headaches, musculoskeletal injuries, fatigue, and stomach problems. Because paramedics often kneel, bend and lift weights, they are at risk for injuries and possible illnesses. They are at high risk for contact with body fluids such as vomit and blood. In addition, paramedics often encounter people with infectious diseases.
This job requires preparedness to witness many terrible accidents and situations. The emergency medical teams sometimes encounter people with open wounds, amputated limbs, and other horrific trauma. It is difficult to see so many sick, injured, and dying people on a daily basis (Lamplugh, 2017). That is why burnout is also a big problem for paramedics – if they do not love their profession, they will get tired of it very quickly.
In addition, some people may be mentally unwell and be a threat to themselves and emergency team members. A person in an extreme situation is rarely in a good mood, and the patient or his entourage may behave rudely and disrespectfully and sometimes attack (Lamplugh, 2017). There is also the possibility of legal action against emergency personnel if their patients do not like something. It can result in a paramedic’s punishment or dismissal, even if the original reason for the suer’s displeasure is absurd.
However, working in the EMS does not have an exclusively negative effect on its employees. Many of them actually enjoy their work and are happy to be able to help people, which is the primary goal of the profession. Physical help is not always enough and is not always needed; while psychological help will never be redundant, a few kind words and a good attitude will help the victim endure better.
Constant and varied practice sharpens the skills of paramedics. Unlike the movies that show emergency team routines, most cases do not include life threats to the patient. With every ride, even the professionals are never sure exactly what to expect on the spot, and adrenaline levels cannot help but rise. Stress and mood swings can not only be harmful but also strengthen and harden the mentality (Lamplugh, 2017). A paramedic’s job hones one’s ability to react to situations faster than ordinary people. Paramedics have better emergency management and response skills.
The fact that, as time passes, the employee only becomes more professional and has an extensive range of skills ensures that he or she will have a stable job not only in the field but also, for example, in the emergency room or at a hospital. Moreover, of course, the nature of the work allows for forming strong bonds with partners and team, which ultimately positively impacts the psychological well-being of paramedics and the quality of their work.
As a result, the paramedic profession has many negative and positive effects on the person who chooses it. Not everyone will last long with the alternation of peak workloads and downtime, sometimes filled with bureaucracy, with shifts that can end much later than they should. A strong, resilient, and altruistic personality is essential to a successful work process that is always rewarded with genuine human gratitude.
Lamplugh, M. (2017). The stress in EMS: Effects of stress on the unsung heroes of the EMS profession. Journal of Emergency Medical Services.