Ashleigh Wood Wood submitted 2022-02-01

“Discuss emergency medical care from the perspective of a medical student”

Please explain how you will prepare mentally and physically before performing life-saving techniques on patients in your career. Working as a healthcare provider can be a stressful and rewarding career. And we are looking for your insight and advice for other students entering the field.

Emergency medical care from the perspective of a medical student can be scary. I am currently an emergency department nurse pursuing a career as a nurse practitioner. I work with many medical students and I am a nurse practitioner student myself. I often see medical students appear intimidated and very rarely do they jump right in when an emergency arises.

On the other hand, medical residents always jump right in and are always eager to learn. I think first entering the field of emergency medicine causes others to be timid. Which is understandable since there are lives on the line. It might make the student question their intellect or judgment.

Being in the emergency department, you need to have confidence. Confidence that you can save someone’s life and be the one people can count on when an emergency arises.

You need to prepare mentally and physically before emergencies arise. Personally, I prepare mentally by focusing on my breathing. Deep breathing helps to relax my state of mind. I also think positively which boosts my confidence. When I feel confident, I feel ready to tackle any emergency that comes my way.

It is also just as important to prepare physically. Emergencies sometimes involve running and CPR. Running to get to the patient, running to gather equipment, or running to get extra help. Also, CPR is tiring. It is an upper body workout that requires great strength. You also might have to push a stretcher pretty fast. Or lift or turn a patient. I prepare for my job by working out 6 days a week. I do strength training and cardio. Being physically fit improves my job performance. I think this is often overlooked by others. Some people might be so focused on their studies that they are not physically active. For me, my study break involves being active. Working out is a good brain break for me personally.

Working as a healthcare professional is both rewarding and stressful. There are days where I love being a nurse and there are days where I question it. But there are more good days than bad. My best advice to give to those seeking a career in healthcare is to never forget self-care.

Providing yourself with adequate self-care will make you a better healthcare worker. It will help with your stress levels tremendously. Focus on eating well and doing physical activities that you enjoy and love. For me personally, I love to scuba dive, ride my bike, lift weight, go for walks, and run around with my mom’s puppy. I also have 3 cats which are great for my mental health. When I am feeling down, snuggling them instantly helps my mood.

My other recommendation is getting your vitamin levels checked and taking supplements. I found my B12, vitamin D, and iron were all very low. Taking these supplements instantly gave me more energy, boosted my mood, and lowered my stress. Having more energy led to me working out more and having more time to work on myself instead of laying in bed. So if you feel fatigued or tired all the time, you should have your bloodwork checked and consult with a healthcare provider, I blamed my fatigue on my busy schedule for years before realizing my vitamin deficiencies were the root cause. It was life changing for me fixing these deficiencies.

I also want to strongly recommend drinking water. Drinking water has so many health benefits. You will recognize an increase in your energy levels and productivity. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of self care for your mind, body, and spirit.

I recommend a vision board. Create a board with visual representations of your goals and desires. This will help you achieve them. You can also write them down in a diary if you prefer writing over visualization. There are so many options for working on your mind, body, and spirit. You just have to find what works best for you. This will help tremendously with your career in healthcare.

The healthcare field in general creates stronger individuals. We are strong because we have to be. We could lose a patient after a long code in one room but still have to enter our next patient’s room with a smile. Sometimes you don’t get a chance to grieve during a shift. This is why caring for yourself is so important.  Lastly, don’t be afraid to jump right in and help out during an emergency. Everyone around you will notice your eagerness and positive energy. This will help you stand out and increase your confidence. We are in this together, healthcare field!