How To Mitigate And Manage Fatigue In EMS

Fatigue and tiredness are one of the most common problems associated with emergency medical service workers. With the haphazard routine of emergency management that EMS personnel have to carry out regularly, it can almost be impossible to avoid the harmful effects of burnout. Because healthcare personnel must work long hours and execute life-saving treatments, their mental health needs rest. Otherwise, the nature of the work can make it very difficult for workers to carry out their tasks properly.

Also, they should manage the problem of fatigue and burnout beforehand. It ensures optimal patient care and helps improve the moods and work ethics of the paramedics. And when the staff on board is well both mentally and physically, it can result in a lower incidence of medical errors and malpractices. After discussing the importance of the problem, this article will cover some easy strategies that might assist avoid, minimize, or manage the tiredness associated with EMS.

1. Effective Patient Management

There is no doubt that EMS workers have a highly stressful jobs. Paramedics can be on shifts for as long as 24 hours. They must do some of the most time and energy-consuming procedures that can be highly detrimental to a patient’s life. While the task usually involves giving CPR or monitoring a patient’s vitals, the real challenge is that it must get done each time accurately. When lacking sufficient clinical knowledge, it can be very easy to make mistakes while handling a procedure. It can lead paramedics to waste mental energy and efficiently reach a state of anxiety and tiredness. Therefore, this issue can be corrected by encouraging staff members to pursue an online ems training program. Enrolling oneself in an EMS training program strengthens medical concepts and gains the necessary experience to manage emergency scenarios efficiently. Plus, with the help of online education, they can work and manage studies simultaneously.

The study will also allow individuals to develop better critical thinking. Hence decisions can be taken faster and are likely to be better in favor of the patient. Obtaining comprehensive knowledge is a fundamental aspect of healthcare. The more you’re aware of your clinical correlations, the more efficient patient management you’ll be able to do.

2. Pay and Bonuses

It is easy to take the services of a paramedic for granted. Often we forget that they are human too and have necessities like needing to sleep or eat. When a research study got conducted on the fatigue of EMS workers, one of the most common causes of fatigue came out to be the lack of sleep. A large number of paramedics had reported that they don’t even manage to get 4 hours of sleep in a day, which is well beyond the recommended 8 hours!

For this reason, EMS workers tend to be slow and error-prone in performing their roles.  EMS management must provide their workers with bonuses like off-duty nap hours or small coffee breaks to combat this. They must allot bunk beds or personal rooms to help workers recharge and light snacks to help workers keep themselves on their feet at all times. Moreover, reducing the number of on-call hours can also effectively reduce the risk of burnout in EMS workers.

3. Staff Shortages and Motivation

To conserve resources, EMS administrators/employers tend to hire low numbers of EMS workers. The nature of the job is already challenging. It leads to workers being excessively overworked and contributing to a lack of motivation. Because workers are often required to perform activities that are not typically “not their job.” Standard on-call duty EMS workers are expected to diagnose, manage and treat patients. They may also perform operations like drug infusion or monitoring vitals during the ambulance ride.

But what paramedics are not likely to do is take care of duties like maintaining log books or equipment checks. The non-value-added tasks add to the fatigue of a worker and can make them less competent for when the real “deal” arrives. It is, for this reason, EMS administrators must aim to hire more staff. Not only that, but they should also ensure that each member is entirely made aware of what their duties are and what aren’t. Regular meetings should also be scheduled so that employees may get encouraged through lectures. Employees that do very well should also get rewarded.

4. Monitor the progress of the staff

Another helpful way of combating the effects of burnout is by constantly monitoring the aptitude of the paramedics. It includes strict performance checks every month. Whether conducting regular tests or assessing the workers’ skills, it needs to be done regularly to make realistic conclusions and objectives out of the assessment. Based on individuals’ accomplishments and failures, paramedics who perform poorly can be eliminated and have resting days until they recover. Appropriate measures, such as providing fewer on-call hours and stress management education, can also be used.

Regardless, doing this will overall improve the efficiency of each worker tremendously. This practice can also help highlight the unit’s key issues. It may then be combated further to create a sustainable environment for everybody.

5. Encourage Healthier Practices

Workers on duty should be encouraged to opt for healthier diets and habits. Administrators should promote seminars and workshops that allow paramedics to learn about the importance of diet and exercise. It is easy to slurp large amounts of coffee and binge on sugary donuts on late-night calls. But these harmful practices should still be condemned, and healthier options like water and fruits should be encouraged.

The workers should take meals full of complex carbohydrates, and fatty foods like donuts and cakes shouldn’t be made available. Eating a bit of that sugary treat can surely provide for an instant sugar rush. Still, it distorts the body’s energy balance in the long term and tends to make paramedics feel sleepy. A better alternative is complex carbohydrates. Our bodies spend a significant amount of time digesting these, so it can be sure to give you long-term energy.

Final Thoughts

A paramedic’s job is highly stressful but essential at the same time. Hence appropriate measures are imperative to sustain the well-being of an EMS worker. Some tips like hiring more staff or motivating on-duty workers can help. Still, to achieve a good working environment, all aspects of the healthcare body must work together. Only then can we achieve optimal care for everyone in need.

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