So I’ve officially been on the job four weeks now, which basically means I know everything. Just kidding! Piece of advice number one- you will NEVER know everything. But I have collected some tips for students just starting out or grads just getting hired on. Some of it was passed down from veterans, some of it is professional courtesy I learned in my previous careers, some things I’ve learned the hard way, and some are common sense- which I’ve learned is perhaps not so common.
1. Keep your mouth shut for the first year. Unless it endangers you or your patient.
2. Arrive 20 minutes early. Or you’re late.
3. You can’t kill patients by talking to them. Finished your history taking but still have a two hour transport? Try the FORD acronym. F- family, O-occupation, R-recreation, D-Dreams/Desires/Dogs (Pets). (Thanks John and Trav)
4. Find a veteran medic you trust/admire and proactively ask for feedback on calls. Compliments will boost your confidence; critique will improve your skill; taking your roll seriously shows initiative.
5. Avoid workplace politics. ATLEAST until after probation. Preferably forever.
6. Be the “you” you would want treating your favorite loved one, or showing up on the front of the newspaper. It can happen, and every patient you meet will be someone’s favorite person.
7. Got the chance to use the bathroom? Use the bathroom!
8. Got a chance to eat? EAT! (Learned the hard way: fainting from low sugar in the ER is one way to get a reputation.)
9. Always carry emergency snacks that boost energy/put you in a good mood (I carry chocolate bars, fruit chews, and cashews).
10. Drink LOTS of water. You will be both physically active and encountering lots of foreign germs/bacteria. Water of course is the best way to flush out toxins. Besides, dehydration can lead to fatigue. Multivitamins aren’t a bad idea either.
11. You will be a fresh ear for other employees to vent to. Be respectful, listen, pay attention to trends, but ultimately make your own opinions…and then keep them to yourself. See points 1 and 5.
12. Set two alarms until you get used to shift work. And maybe even after.
13. Always have a variety of clothing options available. It’s Canada dude.
14. If you think another medic did something awesome, they helped you out, or was exceptionally good with a patient- be sincere and tell them that you noticed. It’s good for morale and shows you are paying attention. (But mind the fine line of being a butt kisser. Nobody believes a butt kisser.)
15. It’s called symptom relief for a reason.
16. Admit when you don’t know something. Faking it is the same as lying. Be honest, then take the initiative to learn everything you can about whatever it was so it doesn’t happen again.
17. Wear a watch. Every day.
18. Volunteer. But not for everything. Work-life balance is really important, especially in such a demanding profession.
19. Back your personal vehicle in everywhere. Good practice for tight squeezes.
20. Be sickeningly polite. I believe that respect is implied, not earned. Trust however, is earned- including your patient’s.
21. Don’t horse around at base….at least until you figure out everyone’s boundaries really, really well.
22. If someone is bothering you, tell them, not everyone else. It’s part of being an adult.
23. Treat everything your service provides you (from your uniform, to your monitor, to your ambulance) like it is an amazing gift on loan. It’s easy to forget how spoiled we are as Canadians in comparison to most of the world’s medical resources.
24. When sh*t hits the fan….ABCCC’s. Airway, Breathing, Circulation, Care, and Conscience (which may be interpreted as an pun when appropriate).
25. Never leave your bags or your partner behind- In or Out of a call!
26. Had a bad call? It’s ok to call your Mom or Significant other at 4am. We’ve all done it. A support system is important to career longevity.
27. Remember the last sense that is lost is hearing, even in unconscious patients.
28. Never stop studying. Even if you hate your job, your boss, your life- your patient deserves your best effort and care. If you ever disagree- quit.
29. In regards to documentation: read as many other people’s PCR’s as you can, then take the best parts of each and develop your own style. Also, have a detailed conversation with the person who audits said PCR’s. I’m still writing mine on a scrap paper first. (Thanks Chris and Ryan!)
30. And finally, be like a duck…
This is how I feel ^^
Anything to add???