Tuesday, 24 August 2010

The Newbie

Those who can, do. And those who can't? Teach. Apparently.

I tried teaching once. Lasted all of a year and then gave up. Couldn't cope with the formality of educating in a school setting, probably because I was no good at it as a student.

Then I found a career I loved, studied hard for it, passed all the exams with flying colours, and have loved almost every minute of it since then.

Now, Lizzie, a newbie, is asking for help and advice. For the Handover Carnival, she asks a simple question. "What would you teach me?"

There's no better way to learn in this job than from those with all the experience. I've written before how learning to be an EMT or paramedic is a little like learning to drive. You learn to pass a test, but the real learning only starts once you've passed it. The wealth of information that is available is all there for the taking, there are blogs, websites, journals, research facilities, memberships of associations, and so on. If, however, I'm asked for one piece of advice to give a new recruit, it would simply be the following:

Keep an open mind.

This could be by not pre-judging a patient before you've ever set eyes on them. Not every unconscious patient lying on the ground outside a pub is a simple drunk.

Remain open-minded enough to question other's actions, even if you think that as they've been paramedics or doctors or nurses for dozens of years, they must know it all. We're all human, and all fallible.

Not every bruised or broken-limbed child has been abused. In fact most aren't. But keep your mind alert for the possibility.

The same goes for the elderly and vulnerable.

And keep your mind open for continued education. Every scenario you meet is a learning opportunity. Every patient you meet has something you could learn from.

Every new disease or medication you come across shouldn't just become another one of those long words on a list of things you don't understand. They should become part of your dictionary.

Every person you work with, has something to teach you. Many will be positive role-models. Some will show you exactly the type of medic you don't want to be. Be prepared to learn both.

Not every family model you come across will meet your expectations. Some may even break your heart.

Be prepared to be shocked and saddened, thrilled and delighted, broken and yet filled with hope, all in the space of one set of shifts.

Most of all, be open minded enough to know that you can't know everything. No-one can, and those who claim they do, usually know the least of all.

And be prepared to ask for help.

Oldies or newbies, sometimes we all need it.

Good luck!


Rory Robinson said...

I feel one the the most important things I learnt early on was to leave work in work. Not always possible I know but at the end of the shift it's tome to forget the last 12 hours and move on!

oneunder said...

Always be ready to re-evaluate. You might not be right the first time.