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Will being an Emergency Medical Technician scar me for life?

I am currently enrolled in an EMT certification course offered at my school, and, though I am very very excited about it, I am also quite terrified at the possible situations I might encounter on a call. Do EMTs frequently feel burned out and emotionally drained? Also, is it possible for an EMT basic to work as an Emergency Room Technician in the ER? Thanks! #doctor #physician #emt #ambulance #emergency #emergencymedicaltechnician

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Kim’s Answer


The answer is: Only if you let it. Please research "how to compartmentalize." Basically, you will learn to think about work only while at work, and not at any other time. You will also learn how not to be shocked at the sight of blood and guts, so you can focus on completing the medical treatment of the patients.

There are, of course, sometimes problems with compartmentalizing. Suppressing the trauma can cause it to flare up later, such as in PTSD. So, you will develop coping mechanisms. It could be physical exercise, it could be talking to a therapist - I find therapists to be very helpful, especially since they are non-judgemental.

One other aspect though, is the question of if you want to have a family. Sometimes first-responders begin to see only the evil in the world, and decide they do not want to have children. I would encourage you to try to focus on seeing the good in people - there is plenty of it out there, but you have to look for it.

If it turns out that this is not the right career for you, please do not give up on healthcare all together - there are many other opportunities out there. One example is X-ray technician.

Best of luck!


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Jonah’s Answer

Hey Isabel,

Congrats on enrolling in an EMT course. Being an EMT can be exciting and boring all in the same day. You may see things that most people never see or think about. If you are worried about this talk to your course director. It might mean that this job is not for you, and that's ok! Most days are routine however you do have the potential to see some really horrible things. It's the reality of responding to 911 calls, you never know what will happen.

To answer you other question. EMTs do work in emergency rooms. It depends on the area. Check around at your local hospitals to see if they are hiring.

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