Emergency medical care as a medical student is different from a seasoned medical professional in many ways. I have been a medical student twice in my life, and soon to be one again as I am currently starting my adventure in obtaining a nursing degree. I was a medical student when obtaining my emergency medical technician and paramedic certificates. The environment for a medical student is very stressful, exciting, and confidence building. The environment is new and can be overwhelming because the student wants to show they can do whatever challenge is handed to them, but also the pressure of not harming a patient or losing a patient is always on their mind. In the medical field a simple mistake can cause major issues for the patient and staff assisting you with procedure, from a small injury all the way up to death of the patient.
The excitement is because the student will finally be able to apply skills they have learned, and show off their talents of compassion, empathy, and life saving skills. When I was a student for emergency medical technician, I had it in my mind that I was taking on a role of a super hero, always saving lives, and always making things better for those in need. When I started doing clinical shifts, and vehicular shifts, I was met with a startling discovery that it isn’t always what we think super hero drama would be. A good majority of medical professional work is the emotional aspect of being the one to hold an elderly persons hand because she is lonely, or meeting a child eye to eye to comfort them in a traumatic incident for them. It is not always working a code and saving a life in the midst of a traumatic scene. It was a huge eye opener for me how much there is more emotional reassurance to people it was more then applying medical skills.
The stressful aspect is because as a student you want to gain the trust of the staff you are working with, along with the praise and reassurance. The only way to do this is by keeping focused on the situation, applying the skills you have learned or are learning to a patient without causing harm or distress to the patient. A student also has to be a duck on water so to speak, a patient has less then a minute to trust you in an emergency situation, or they are not going to allow that student to help them, which delays care. The only way to establish trust is to have confidence in their ability to help the patient, this will allow the student to show that confidence in their demeanor. It is also stressful because the student will be dealing with situations that have not been dealt with before. It is not every day that the average person deals with a person who has been shot, or stabbed, or a person who has overdosed on drugs, or delivering a baby, and many other situations. These situations can cause shock and stress, and then add the stress of doing a procedure that is no longer being practiced in a safe environment and is now being done for real.
Being a medical student is also confidence building because the student is being lead by an experienced medical professional, this will let the student learn in real life situations, but also allow the student to be praised, and encouraged. It will let the student gain an inner confidence in themselves when they accomplish a skill, and see how they should carry themselves by watching their mentors, and trainers. Also when a student is able to so the result of their actions in the patient they have treated. Even if the outcome was not a positive one, it was a lesson learned and builds confidence in knowing what could happen and a remembered expectation of how they should deal with such let downs in the future. This leads to the rewarding part of the profession. It is very rewarding to know that with all the hard work of learning proper skill and procedure, the public benefits from this and the student receives a feeling of self gratitude that they made a positive impact on the patient and their loved ones life.
In preparing mentally and physically for a patient care career I feel I started this many years ago when I got my certifications as a EMT and Paramedic. My goal was to work up to being a Nurse by gaining as much patient care experience as I could. I learned it is important to take care of my physical needs in eating right, getting proper sleep, finding ways to control stress levels through doing stress lowering activities such as meditation, hobbies, and balancing my time between work, family time, and me time. I also think staying educated in skills for patient care, continuing education of medical procedures, and advancements is key to staying a sharp, skilled, trusted medical professional. The medical world is constantly evolving because of new illnesses that arise and the treatments for specific medical issues evolve because of new technologies. All of those evolution events require staying educated on the changes and solutions.
In conclusion being a medical student is exciting, rewarding, and stressful, but it is something that will change the students life, and benefit the public. It is a heroic choice to become a medical professional. The only way to prepare for this type of career is to take care of yourself to be able to care for others. Along with staying informed and continual education of the many aspects of medical care.