As we begin to wind down on the pandemic-level of constant 911 calls and the endless hours waiting on a room in the ED, we find ourselves in a time to reflect a little before our next call. Like so many services, we have a new influx of eager young professionals. Recently, a new student asked me, “how do you guys keep doing this day after day?” Not an unusual thing to ask lately, and my reply was this:
“determination and our perseverance to make sure our patient gets the definitive care and treatment they need.”
COVID-19 has really stretched us thin, not just with staffing, but with supplies, training, willpower, and people who actually WANT to learn. Training new hires and students can be tedious and frustrating if you don’t have the opportunity to learn and adapt along with them in addition to teaching them what they need to know. You must become extremely patient and place yourself into their boots. If you don’t empathize, you risk placing yourself in the position of doing harm. Not only to your student, but to the patient, and most likely our profession as well. We need to be resilient and steadfast, showing them the ropes and thoughtfully placing them into the patient care position supported with good proctoring and mentorship.
Being an FTO during COVID-19 has also taught me how much more training goes into each individual now as “scene safe, PPE” takes on extended importance. Safety in EMS is more than watching out for bad actors or the physical dangers that have made ballistic protection a part of our PPE regime. The risks we increasingly face include dangers we cannot even see with the naked eye elevating the role of correct droplet PPE. We must regularly demonstrate proper techniques of donning and doffing of PPE for ourselves and our patients who may be immunocompromised prior to potential COVID exposure.
Remember that even during these pandemic events we can still learn, adapt, and overcome all of this with the skills and knowledge learned from our mentors. Stand strong and keep mentoring! It doesn’t matter whether you are in an FTO position or not, the next generation is watching you and will mimic your behavior. Be sure you display what you want to see in them.
Corey Harris, Field Training Officer, NC/SC AEMT