Brittany Ann Ruschkowski Submitted 2017-08-18 00:00:00 -0400
There’s no doubt that basic life support is a critical skill for all healthcare providers. Working as a healthcare provider can be stressful and unpredictable, but it is certainly a rewarding profession as well. Saving the life of a patient in an emergency is likely one of the most gratifying experiences encountered by many medical professionals. However, with that said, how can future healthcare providers ensure that they are sufficiently prepared to perform these lifesaving techniques on their prospective patients? As a first-year medical student pondering my future career in healthcare, this is a question that often crosses my mind: how can I ensure that I am ready to save the lives of future patients? I am preparing to perform lifesaving techniques on patients in my career by staying mentally and physically fit, making healthy routines, and taking time for myself to relax and do the things I love.
Staying fit, both mentally and physically, is critical for being able to effectively perform lifesaving techniques on patients. Obviously, healthcare providers need to be in good enough physical shape to perform important lifesaving techniques. I remember taking my first CPR course and being surprised at the endurance required to perform 30 consecutive chest compressions – physical fitness is important! While some people think of hitting the gym as the main way to maintain or improve physical fitness, I would argue that it is even more important to get enough sleep each night, eat well, and stay hydrated. In addition to physical fitness, mental fitness is key to saving lives – healthcare providers need to think quickly and creatively to address each patient’s unique situation. While being in medical school will surely be a great way to stay mentally fit, I try to think about mental fitness every day, even when I am not in school. For me, this means that even though I am on my summer break from school now, I still try to stimulate my mind each day and be open to learning and experiencing new things. This kind of mental stimulation can be different for everyone, but I like to attend art galleries and museums to learn new things and stimulate my mind to think differently.
Of course, it is important to mention that staying mentally and physically fit is easier said than done. Sure, it’s easy to find time to exercise, eat well, rest, and stimulate my mind in new ways during my summer break, when I have no homework. But when September comes, how will I ensure that I keep doing this? The best way to make healthy habits stick is to turn them into healthy routines. For example, I have an hour set aside each day that I dedicate to exercise, no matter what the day brings. I also try to set aside a time each week to plan healthy meals, and I go to bed at the same time each night to establish a healthy sleeping routine. I know that by establishing these routines now, I am helping my future self. By establishing healthy routines when I am not stressed out, I know that I will be able to stick to them in the future, even when I am feeling overwhelmed. Additionally, a predictable routine can be comforting amidst the unpredictable nature of a career in healthcare.
While it is important to establish healthy routines to keep your mind and body strong, it is just as important to incorporate rest and relaxation into these routines. To prepare for the stressful job of performing life saving techniques on patients, I am finding activities that will help me to unwind from this stress. Whether your relaxing activity is going for a walk, reading a good book, or meditating, it’s important that you make time for it! Relaxation is an essential component of mental health, and a strong mind will help you to perform better in a stressful medical situation. Finally, with all the stress that can come with a medical career, don’t be afraid to reach out for support if you need it! There are many resources available to you if you need someone to talk to about the stresses of your career. This support can also come in the form of friends and family members who are there to support you during stressful times.
Overall, while I know that preparing for a career as a healthcare provider is a big job, I hope this advice can help other students who are entering the medical field! I truly believe that if you make efforts to stay mentally and physically fit, establish healthy routines, and remember to take time for yourself to relax and unwind, you are taking great first steps to prepare you for this exciting and rewarding career path!