Despite working long hours and being subjected to considerable levels of stress, health professionals usually report high levels of job satisfaction. That does make sense considering that working in healthcare gives you the opportunity to get involved in a fast-paced and ever-evolving field that offers excitement, variety, and a fair share of challenges. You can use your clinical skills and experience to provide care and treatment for a wide range of health-related conditions, help patients on their healthcare journey, or intervene in life-threatening situations and improve people’s chances of survival. These are just some of the reasons why so many people are attracted to the medical landscape.
Being a healthcare professional is the closest thing to being a real-life superhero. But in order to be deserving of this title, you have to undergo special training and possess a specific set of skills that make you a right fit for the job. Because as rewarding and fulfilling as healthcare jobs may be, they’re also extremely challenging. And there’s nothing quite as demanding as working in emergency medicine. Emergency service providers play a vital role when disasters and crises happen, and they often find themselves in situations where they have to make life-and-death decisions. As you can imagine, this is not a career path suited for the faint of heart.
So, if you’re seriously thinking about starting a career in medical emergency services and you’re wondering what types of skills and abilities would qualify you for the job, here are the most important aspects to keep in mind.
Ability to keep calm under pressure
There are many amazing career paths in emergency healthcare. You can become an emergency medical technician, paramedic, emergency physician, emergency nurse, or flight surgeon, among other roles, depending on your area of interest. But all these positions have one thing in common: they require you to provide care and treatment to patients in extremely challenging situations. You’ll most likely witness incidents that are hard to digest for the average individual, or scenes of indescribable violence, and keep a cool head throughout.
When you’re in the midst of a crisis and you’re administering care to a patient, you can’t afford to lose focus not even for a split second. A moment’s distraction can lead to terrible consequences since your actions have a direct impact on patients’ health and wellbeing. Everyone is counting on you to stay calm and do your job impeccably even when all hell breaks loose around you. If you’re a person who has issues concentrating under pressure and you don’t do well in dynamic work environments, you have to come to terms with the fact that a career as an emergency healthcare professional is not in the cards for you.
By their nature, emergency situations create a lot of chaos and confusion. When an unfortunate event happens, putting everyone’s health and life at risk, you can expect to see people running around scared, asking for your help, and overwhelming you with incoherent requests. That’s when your organizational skills, if they exist, have to kick in and help you make sense of what’s going on, so you can get ready to jump into action.
Obviously, this is not necessarily an innate skill, but something that you can also develop over time. If you undergo comprehensive EMT training, you’ll be able to sharpen these abilities and learn how to organize yourself better when disasters strike. However, you do have to possess a basic sense of order and discipline in order to enhance your organizational skills. Otherwise, you won’t be able to rise up to the challenge, as hard as you may try.
Working in emergency healthcare often implies being part of a multidisciplinary team and interacting with professionals who have a different specialization than yours on a daily basis. Your actions and decisions will influence other people’s actions and decisions like you’re a piece of a highly intricate and complex system.
This means you have to communicate effectively with the people around you and be a good team player. Collaboration is at the heart of every emergency department and service, helping health professionals intervene when they’re most needed and deliver care and treatment quickly and efficiently. So, if you find that you’re more of a lone wolf who doesn’t perform well in settings that require constant interactions, you should probably reconsider your career choices.
Being a good professional in the emergency medicine field implies more than acquiring the necessary clinal knowledge. You also have to know how to put it into practice and make the most of the skills and aptitudes that you’ve gained during your training.
That’s something that can be taught to some extent and improved with experience, but it’s also an ability that’s hard to measure. So, before you enroll in a program to get your EMT Certification or some other diploma in a specific subsector of emergency medicine, you have to do a bit of introspection and evaluate your problem-solving skills.
In emergency healthcare, time is of the essence. Just a few seconds can mean the difference between life and death, so the ability to make the right decision in a blink of an eye is much welcome.
You’ll have very limited time to evaluate a situation, assess patients’ condition, and decide on the best course of action. Therefore, you’ll need to act quickly to make sure each one of your patients receives the correct treatment at the right time. Powerful decision-making skills, flexibility, adaptability, and attention to detail, are some of the needed ingredients to become a great professional and guarantee success in the emergency medicine field.
Emergency medicine is indeed a fascinating and highly rewarding specialty, but before you jump on this train, make sure you have the skills you need to one day build the career you’re dreaming of.