Your dream job is to save lives as an air ambulance transport paramedic. Although you’re all ready with the necessary training and certifications to start your job, there’s a lot more involved to survive the career. It can be physically demanding and mentally exhausting. The work environment can be stressful as well depending on where you work. So here are some tips that will help you survive your first job as an air ambulance paramedic:
Take Good Care of Yourself
Although your job is to care for other people, it’s important that you take good care of yourself first. As mentioned earlier, being an air ambulance paramedic can be physically demanding. You’ll have to do a lot of patient lifting and running around with your gear. All of this can take a toll on your body, so you need to be prepared.
Otherwise, you could risk injuring yourself. You need to build your core strength and work towards improving your cardiovascular fitness. In addition to this, air ambulance transport paramedics need to get quality sleep so you can cope with shift work. And of course, you’ll also need to eat healthy to ensure that your body’s fit to carry out the various physical activities required while on call.
Pursue Interests Other than Air Ambulance Transport Paramedicine
It’s highly important for air ambulance paramedics to pursue other interests outside of their job. You could engage in some sport activities, play in a band, raise funds for charity, try your hand at crafts, etc. If the only thing you’re involved in is your job, you could easily burn out and experience issues that prevent you from continuing your work. Distract yourself with stress-relieving activities and take regular vacations to ensure mental health.
You’re starting your first job as a medical flight paramedic, and you’re wondering how you should prepare for it. Of course you’ve already had thorough medical training but that may not be enough to ensure that you can succeed in your journey. There are several rules that you should remember and follow.
Rule #1: Protect your crew members
When you’re working as an air ambulance paramedic, you’d be working with a crew that comprises of pilots and nurses or even a doctor. And there may be times when you have to carry out missions that could be dangerous for the crew. It’s crucial that you work together as a team and watch each other’s backs whenever you’re responding to a call.
Rule #2: Practice incident documentation and patient recording
Another crucial part of your job as a medical flight paramedic is to ensure that you properly document every incident you respond to. And you must carefully record details about your patient so that there’s a smooth transition from your care to that of hospital personnel. You can’t afford to slack off when it comes to this, as even a minor detail missing or incorrect could have serious consequences.
Rule #3: Medical flight paramedics should always be friendly
A smile can make a huge difference for the patients you’re attending to and their family members. It’s important that you try to maintain a certain level of friendliness whenever you’re on duty. And try to ensure that this friendliness extends to your colleagues and your crew members as well.
Rule #4: Do everything in your power to help your patient
Another important rule is to make sure that your patients are as comfortable as possible. Even if it’s not within your job description, you should do whatever you can to help your patients – whether they require more pillows or an extra blanket, for instance.
In an earlier post, we talked about the basics of getting hired to become an air ambulance transport paramedic. You might even have a job already but what if it’s not your dream job? You may be vying to work for a specific air ambulance company, which means you need to look for ways to ensure that you get hired. This post will provide you with useful tips to ensure that you land your dream air ambulance paramedic job.
It’s Okay to Start Somewhere Else
Even if the first job you land isn’t with a company that you like, you need to maintain the humility to accept the job as it could be a vital stepping stone. In the meantime, you should keep your eye on the long-term goal. Use the opportunity to learn more about the industry and find ways to further enhance your skills and knowledge.
Find Ways to Improve Your Resume
It’s important to remember that there may be many other air ambulance transport paramedics eyeing the same company as you. So it’s crucial that you stand out from the crowd to improve your chances of getting hired. This means enhancing your resume with special skills and certifications that will show prospective employers that you’re a desirable employee.
Try looking for ways to add specialized skills such as Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS), Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), and Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support (PHTLS) to your resume along with the basic certifications.
Physical fitness is vital for air ambulance transport paramedics
In addition to keep yourself mentally sharp and enhancing your resume, it’s also vital that you continue to maintain your physical fitness. You will have to go through agility tests during the hiring process. As these tests can be taxing, make sure you constantly keep fit in order to get through them.
As an air ambulance provider, it is your responsibility to ensure the safety of your staff. This is particularly important for your medical flight paramedics, because there is a high possibility of them getting injured. We’ve even highlighted some of the causes of injury in two of our previous posts. So in this post, we’re going to discuss some of the ways in which you can improve workplace safety and prevent injury among your staff.
Enhancing Equipment Safety
The first thing you need to look at is your equipment. If you went through the previous posts, you would have seen that medical flight paramedics are commonly injured while lifting patients. So the best thing to do to prevent such injuries is to replace your traditional manual cots with powered patient transport equipment.
These will significantly reduce the physical strain on your paramedics. In turn, this will reduce the likelihood of experiencing injury. You could install assisted loading systems that will support the cot and make it easier for paramedics to load and unload patients onto the aircraft.
You should also equip your aircrafts with safety equipment that your paramedics can easily access when needed. This would include safety masks, gloves, and gowns to protect them from exposure to harmful substances.
Enhancing Medical Flight Safety
In addition to enhancing the safety of your equipment, you should also consider the safety of your aircraft. Whether you’re operating fixed-wing aircrafts or helicopters, you should do a thorough maintenance that will ensure optimum safety for your crew.
Have proper storage systems installed for your equipment, so that paramedics can easily access them when needed while at the same time preventing the equipment from exposure. And make sure you have a routine check of your engines and inbuilt flight equipment.
In the previous post, we talked about some of the top reasons why air ambulance transport paramedics get injured. This post will discuss some more common reasons for injury among air ambulance paramedics. It will also discuss some tips to prevent these injuries.
Other Common Causes of Injury for Air Ambulance Transport Paramedics
Earlier, we talked about how air ambulance paramedics are susceptible to injury from body motion and exposure to harmful substances. We also talked about how they are prone to slipping, tripping, or falling. Here are some other common reasons why an air ambulance paramedic could get injured:
- Helicopter accidents – When you’re working as a paramedic for an air ambulance helicopter, there’s a chance you could get involved in a helicopter accident. Mechanical failures, low visibility, and heavy wind and rain could put your helicopter at risk of crashing. Some air ambulance paramedics have suffered from injuries resulting from a helicopter crash. Some of these injuries even turn out to be fatal.
- Violence/assaults – In some cases, air ambulance transport paramedics might even encounter injury resulting from violence or assault from a patient. You might come across a violent patient, who may be under the influence or alcohol or some other substance. These incidents may result in physical harm in many cases, and in some cases may even result in physical injury that requires medical attention
Prevention of Injury for Air Ambulance Paramedics
Both employers and employees are responsible for preventing injury among air ambulance paramedics. Employers can offer education and training, provide safety equipment, develop policies and procedures, enforce said policies and procedures, and address potential safety hazards.
Employees can identify problem areas, voice their safety concerns, and report any incidents of near misses and injuries. Protecting themselves with available protective gear per their standard regulations is also crucial.
Have you ever suffered from workplace injuries before? Maybe you’ve experienced knee pain or incessant back pain as a result of your work in the air ambulance industry. When you’re an air ambulance transport paramedic, you are exposed to work conditions that could result in certain injuries. This post is going to discuss the causes of those injuries.
Certain Body Motions can Cause Injury
Body motion injuries are easily one of the most common injuries among EMS personnel. Paramedics often have to sit in awkward postures for extended periods of time. Sometimes they have to put in excessive physical effort in moving or lifting patients. They even have to go through repetitive movement, which could all result in an injury. In many cases, the body motion injuries may occur while air ambulance paramedics are in the middle of lifting or moving a patient that is overweight or obese.
Accidental Exposure to Harmful Substances
When you’re working as an air ambulance transport paramedic, you often have to work around harmful substances. For instance, the respiratory secretions or the blood of certain patients may be harmful. And EMS personnel can get exposed to these substances through needlesticks, spitting, or coughing. So in addition to wearing gloves, it’s crucial that you wear protective masks or face shields to prevent exposure.
Air Ambulance Transport Paramedics can Slip, Trip, or Fall
Due to the physically challenging nature of their work, air ambulance paramedics can easily get injured when they slip, trip, or fall. They could experience these accidents while boarding or getting off their air ambulance helicopter. They could also slip on wet surfaces at the scene of accidents. And it’s even riskier to experience these accidents when you’re in the middle of lifting or carrying a patient or even your equipment.
In the previous post, we talked about the causes and symptoms of hypothermia. But that’s not enough information to help medical air transport paramedics in dealing with patients who suffer from hypothermia. In this post, we’re going to take a closer look at some other important facts about the condition.
How Hypothermia Impacts People
The worst thing about hypothermia is that it can affect every single organ in the body. In the case of mild hypothermia, a patient may experience confusion, amnesia, slurred speech, and impaired judgment. As the condition worsens, a patient that was once lethargic may become comatose and their reflexes may disappear. The central nervous system also becomes unable to regulate the cardiovascular system.
Need for Medical Air Transport Paramedics to be Aware of Special Populations
What’s important for medical air transport paramedics to remember is that there are certain age groups and types of people that are more vulnerable to hypothermia. Interestingly, patients who are either extremely old or extremely young tend to be the most vulnerable age groups. Both of these age groups have less physiologic reserve in addition to a decreased ability to produce heat when needed.
Some elderly patients may be unable to sense ambient temperature, leaving them unable to protect themselves from the cold. So during winters, you may notice that some older patients can become hypothermic even just from staying inside a house that’s slightly too cold for them. Since they have decreased compensatory ability, hypothermia may develop even when the temperature doesn’t seem too cold to you.
In case of neonatal patients, they have almost zero ability to defend themselves against the cold. That is the reason why warming plays such a crucial role in resuscitating patients who fall under this category. Infants that are five days old or more may be able to metabolically compensate, but they are still extremely prone to heat loss.
If you work as an air medical transport paramedic, there’s a good chance you will respond to emergencies in which the patient requires a splint. This will usually be in situations where the patient has undergone some form of physical trauma and fracture. You may think you’re already an expert in splinting but there’s always room for improvement.
Tips for Better Splinting in Air Medical Transport Paramedicine
As a novice paramedic, you may still be nervous when you come across actual patients that require a splint. Here are a few tips that will make it easier for you to make great pre-hospital splints:
- Take your time if the patient is stable – There may be times when you need to splint an extreme fracture when you respond to a call. If the patient’s condition is stable, it’s important that you avoid rushing through the splinting process. Although you may get nervous, there’s no harm in taking a few extra minutes to carefully splint the fracture before taking them for air medical transport.
- Make the most of pillows – Pillows provide good padding when you need to splint a fracture. They also act as effective splints even on their own. So if your patient has a distal fracture, you just need to roll up the injured part in a pillow and tape it firmly. But make sure the toes or fingers are sticking out.
Opt to control the pain beforehand – Although splinting is intended to reduce pain, the splinting process itself can be very painful. If your patient is screaming in pain it may be difficult for you to concentrate on the splinting and you may end up making a mistake. So try to administer some analgesics beforehand if possible.
If you’re working as an air ambulance paramedic, you have to carry out physically straining tasks occasionally. Combined this with a more pedantic lifestyle when you’re off-duty or not on call, you could end up with different types of muscle pains and physical strain. One of the most common types of pains that medical flight paramedics can encounter is knee pain.
Find Out What Causes the Knee Pain
The first thing you need to do when you’re suffering from knee pain is to identify what is the root cause. If it wasn’t caused by physical trauma to the knee area, there’s a good chance you can prevent the issue from reoccurring. It’s easy to get pain in the knee due to a slight mistake in movement while stepping or climbing or even squatting.
In some cases, even if the pain is occurring in your knee the main cause of the problem may be at a completely different part of the body. So it’s important to get to the root of the issue if medical flight paramedics want to gain long-term relief from knee pain.
Knee Pain Solutions for Medical Flight Paramedics
Try stretching your legs by putting them on the table with your knee facing downwards. Your knee should be in line with your hip joint. If you can do this, it means everything is okay with the functionality of your glutes. The stretch might even help in relieving the pain on your knees to some extent.
You should invest in a good foam roller that you can use for 10 minutes every day. Use it on every part of your joints and muscles that are prone to pain such as your inner thigh, calves, hamstrings, and glutes. This not only decreases the pain but also loosens up the muscles to prevent further strain.
Last week, we discussed three common patient statements that should have you concerned. But those are not the only statements that you should be concerned about while you’re serving as a medical flight paramedic. There may be several other statements that sound simple enough but should be taken very seriously so that they don’t result in bigger problems.
When Medical Flight Paramedics Should be Concerned
Here are some more patient statements that you should be wary of and take seriously instead of just dismissing them:
- When a patient doesn’t want to go to a specific hospital – Every now and then you might come across a patient who does not want to be taken to a certain hospital and tells you so. There may be a good reason for this based on their past experiences. In some cases, it may be because they are dissatisfied with the level of care provided.
But in other cases, it may also be because the hospital has records or knowledge of the patient’s medical history, which the patient has been hiding from you. So make sure you ask the reason why they don’t want to go to a specific hospital.
- When a patient is dismissing their problem for a minor one – It’s important to pay close attention when a patient tries to dismiss the pain or problem they’re experiencing as a result of a minor issue. For example, the patient may explain that the discomfort in their chest is probably because of indigestion.
There’s a chance that the patient is in denial and is ignoring the signs of a major health issue. In this instance, it could be a sign of an oncoming heart attack. The patient may be looking to reassure themselves that it’s nothing serious. So it’s important for medical flight paramedics to assess patients more carefully when they’re dismissing their problem for a minor one.