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EMS World. 2012 Oct;41(10):47-50, 52-6.

Are you under stress in EMS. Understanding the slippery slope of burnout and PTSD.

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1
Vitalink/Airlink in Wilmington, NC, USA. kcollopy@colgatealumni.org

Abstract

Burnout and PTSD are closely linked and often underreported in EMS. EMS classrooms do little or nothing to prepare providers for the inherent emotional stresses of emergency response and the "thick skin" culture of EMS may make many providers apprehensive about sharing their true feelings. Burnout is triggered by many of the same stresses that lead to the symptoms of PTSD and providers experiencing burnout that doesn't resolve within a few weeks may actually be experiencing PTSD. Be mindful of yourself and your fellow coworkers, particularly after a very traumatic response. And remember traumatic responses don't need to be as dramatic as Sept. 11, New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina or the Aurora, CO shootings to bother an EMS worker. In contrast, these are the calls where providers often receive the most attention. Instead, watch for the new father who just performed CPR on an infant the same age as his own, or the provider who just watched his or her friend die following a motor vehicle collision. Pay attention to yourself and colleagues, and be responsible and honest with yourself and others about when coping strategies are enough, and when they aren't. Finally, don't ever be afraid to seek help.

PMID:
23097838
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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