Pre-Work Tips for New EMS Professionals
About 30 minutes into my 60-minute commute to my part-time paramedic job, I realized I had put on black dress pants (wrinkle-free cotton Dockers) instead of my black uniform pants. It was too late to turn around. Fortunately, I was wearing my white uniform shirt and not a generic white dress shirt. When I arrived at work, I confessed my uniform error to the first person I saw. I decided it was better to own my mistake instead of waiting for others to notice. What could have led to a reprimand for a uniform discrepancy became a humorous foible.
My slip-up reminded me to return to a basic set of work preparation tips that are as applicable for a veteran EMS professional as they are to a new EMT or paramedic.
1. Own your mistakes. You will rarely make an error without it being noticed. Report errors and mistakes promptly to the appropriate person — partner, patient, receiving nurse, and/or supervisor.
2. Create and follow a preparation routine for every shift. I need to lay out all of my uniform components the night before work so I am not grabbing the wrong pants or mismatched socks at 0530.
3. Sleep and eat well before work. My patients and partner are counting on me to be at my best. I strive for at least eight hours of sleep the night before any shift. I will also wake up early enough for a bowl of cereal before my commute.
What do you do to get ready for work so you are mentally and physically at your best?