I finished paramedic school back in August. It was a long road for me, it took me a few years because I was not assertive enough to be a paramedic right away. I will also admit, clinicals while working full time burned me out some, so I stepped back for the spring semester before pushing over the summer to just finish it.
And then I started to burn out again. Meltdowns and stress buildup. I was coming home angry and dreading work the next morning. My agency tries to alternate trucks on slow days, and back in November they skipped the other crew to send me on a second call. I was so angry. I was possibly the better choice for the trip but I felt so outraged by dispatch skipping the other truck that I really truly did not want to take that call.
But, duty called. So I hopped into the back to put my monitor on the stretcher, and coming back out of the truck I placed my foot wrong and fell. I ended up with a broken arm and a badly sprained ankle. I was out of work for about two months, and it turns out I needed the break so badly, just for my sanity. I think I knew I was starting to burn out on stress before my fall, but I didn’t realize just how bad it actually was.
I don’t know why I seem to burn out so much faster than other people. I have anxiety, and I suspect I am not handling that as well as I could be. I have a friend, an older medic, who does what he can to help, but he is still of the “suck it up buttercup” school in some ways. I try to leave work at work, and I feel like I manage to, but some days the stress just follows me. The kicker though is that I am still under a white cloud and I don’t know how well I will be able to handle when it turns black. Maybe I will leave EMS? I don’t know. This has oddly enough become a comfort zone for me and I don’t know what else I would do.
Written by: Anonymous paramedic, 9 years in EMS.