The Resilient First Responder – KEYNOTE
EMS is one of the most stressful occupations in health care. Tragic death, suffering patients, dangerous environments allow more susceptibility to occupational stress. Add to that the stress of caring for critical patients in unfamiliar scenes and increased exposure to traumatic events. Research tells us that 72 percent of EMS personnel suffer from a traumatic experience. Add to that the results-depression, distress, anxiety, PTSD. Twenty-eight percent of Canadian paramedics have considered suicide! The Newland Study (2015) looked at critical stress in over 4000 EMT’s and paramedics and concluded that 86 percent experienced critical stress, 37 percent contemplate suicide, and 6.6 percent attempted suicide. So why are we involved in EMS? It is the level of job satisfaction and the opportunity to serve others (altruism).
The implications of the Newland Study reflect the importance of RESILIENCE and establishing coping skills early in EMS careers. Healthy resilience allows adversarial growth, meaning that through hardship EMS personnel can reach a higher level of functioning. Resilience in EMS providers is significantly associated with overall well-being and health. Resilience measures the ability to bounce back from stress. Resilience lessens symptoms associated with psychological stress. The level of resilience in EMS is an important trait because it enables a more effective coping ability and fosters PTG.