Stress in the Medical Field: From Burnout to PTSD, What to Expect and How CMEs Training Helps

A recent survey revealed that medical personnel may be the most stressed-out employees in the nation, topping even retail workers.

In all, the survey questioned 3,211 employees across various industries. When pressed about their anxiety and stress levels, 69% of healthcare workers admitted to feeling stressed at work. Comparatively, only 63% of retail employees felt that way.

Whether you’re an EMT, nurse, paramedic or any other pre-hospital staff, you know this burden all too well. Though rewarding, the job can take its toll on your physical, emotional and mental wellbeing.

Today, we’re taking a deeper look at stress in the medical field, and how CMEs training can help you focus and overcome the strain.

Ready to learn more? Let’s get started.

Low Pay Related to Stress

A recent report listed EMTs as one of the top-10 most stressful jobs in the nation. It also revealed that the median salary for this professional was $30,168.

Conversely, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average salary for a typical American worker is $44,564 per year.

With an incredible amount of pressure and a salary nearly $15,000 lower than the nationwide average, it’s not difficult for EMTs and related personnel to feel stressed.

In addition to their on-the-scene activity, these experts also have to deal with related issues including scheduling conflicts, shift work and long hours, which can take a toll on their personal and professional relationships.

Constant Exposure to Trauma

Nurses, paramedics and EMTs alike are exposed to violent and traumatic events on a daily basis. They’re also familiar with seeing death up-close and personal.

As such, it comes as no surprise that those in this field often suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). One recent study of university hospital nurses found that 22% had symptoms of PTSD and 18% met the criteria for the condition.

Moreover, a staggering 86% met the criteria for EMT burnout syndrome.

In short, this is a state of full-body unrest. It’s emotional, physical and mental exhaustion triggered by periods of high stress.

The calls that paramedics receive aren’t the conference room type. Rather, they’re sending them to scenes filled with more shock and anguish than most can imagine. Over time, this causes stress to build up and spill over.

High-Stakes Conditions

When office workers are called in for a project, their reputation is on the line. Yet, it’s unlikely that anyone will die if a report isn’t turned in on time.

On the other hand, pre-hospital professionals are often the first ones on the scene of a life-threatening emergency. That forces them to act fast, scanning through all the knowledge they’ve obtained throughout years of training.

From cardiac arrests and car crashes to mental health emergencies and childbirth, they’re working within environments that don’t allow them to make a wrong move or decision.

This heightens stress and anxiety levels, and the effects last long after the call is complete.

Fluctuating Adrenaline Levels

If you were to ask a group of medical professionals why they do what they do, most of them would tell you its a gratifying position. Being able to save lives on a daily basis is a badge of honor that not everyone can wear.

Yet, as soon as a call comes in, these experts go into a three-stage process of stress. Between each one, their adrenaline levels are spiking and dipping. Here’s what to expect.

Alarm Phase

This occurs right after a phone call. A paramedic’s adrenaline kicks into full gear and he’s out the door, ready to respond.

It’s not unlike the rush that parents get when their children are hurt. It’s a fear-induced response that drives quick action.

Resistance Phase

As the name implies, this is the phase of stress when adrenaline levels out, but the stressors don’t subside. Anyone who’s ever worked late into the night, pushing against drooping eyelids, knows this feeling.

Paramedics and related personnel feel it too. Only, the conditions are more intense and the stakes are higher.

Exhaustion Phase

Then, adrenaline dips to its lowest point. Our bodies conk out and we’re drained all over. Pre-hospital employees feel this way, too, and often have to keep going regardless.

How CMEs Training Can Help

There will always be emergency calls and high-pressure situations for nurses, paramedics, and EMTs to deal with.

Yet, being as prepared as possible can help.

When they know how to respond, what steps to take, who to contact and how to follow-up, it takes away the fear of inadequacy.

In this way, Continuing Medical Education and Training (CMEs Training) is a must-do.

As new skills and data become available, first responders can take these courses to hone their talents, explore their craft and expand their resume.

This way, they’re always up-to-date on the latest practices and procedures, equipped to handle any emergency that comes their way.

The best part? There are programs available that provide this training in a stress-free environment.

While instructor-led courses are available, there’s a growing trend toward making the coursework available online, so busy professionals don’t have to make the difficult choice between work, school, and family.

Mitigating Stress in the Medical Field

We owe our lives to the medical professionals who keep us safe, even when they’re dealing with a host of issues themselves.

Stress in the medical field is a prevalent concern, but it’s not an insurmountable one.

Helping nurses, EMTs, paramedics, and related employees keep up with their education while growing their career is our chief concern.

We provide a range of in-person, online and blended curriculum’s that cater to the medical community. From CPR and first-aid to pain management and critical care transport, we cover it all.

There are ways to cope with stress according to Dr. James Kraut, a licensed Psychologist, in South Florida, “There is a short meditation practice you can do. The more often you do it the better, but once a day for 10-15 minutes is great. Sit in a comfortable position, either on a cushion or chair. Begin to breathe slow, long, deep breaths through the nose. Allow your breath, as you become aware of it, to take you into the present moment. Let everything from the past that is haunting you slip away if you can and keep all predictions about the future out of your head as well. The past can no longer be accessed and we never know what the future will be until it slips into the present. You need not worry if thoughts begin to bubble up. It happens to every meditator. Just gently notice them and turn back to the breath. 
Once you have slowed yourself down and brought yourself into the present moment, think back to the incident that has affected you. Consciously keep your breath slow and deep, which allows calming neurotransmitters to continue to relax you. Pull your awareness back as if you are observing yourself experience the traumatic event. Bring comfort to yourself, like you are your own loving parent, infusing compassion into the situation. Soothe the part of you that was traumatized and discourage yourself from feeling any emotion other than gratitude. Appreciate that you had the opportunity to try to help. Remind yourself that we cannot control the things we face in life, or the outcomes of events that involve us; we can only bring our best to the situations life brings to us. Reassure yourself that you did your best. If it was a particularly traumatic event, you may want to consider talk to a professional to take this process deeper. (*This exercise should in no way replace any counseling or therapy already involved in or planning on being involved in.)
Again, helping nurses, EMTs, paramedics, and related employees keep up with their education while growing their career is our chief concern and we cover it all.
Contact us today for more information and let us take the load off your shoulders, one course at a time.
CMEs Training

Renewing Your Healthcare License? How to Choose the Best Continuing Education Provider

Education doesn’t end when school ends. In fact, working professionals know that career success entails the willingness to be a lifelong student. In other words, if you’re not learning, adapting, and growing, you’re probably not as effective at your job as you need to be!

If your career requires continuing education, it is essential to choose the best provider for your needs. Unfortunately, not all programs are created equal, and selecting the wrong one may be a massive waste of your time and money.

Let’s get into what you need to know about choosing the best continuing education providers!

Choose an Accredited Provider

Before selecting any course, you should always double-check to make sure your regulating board has approved it!

That’s because licensing boards have rigorous standards, and they want to guarantee all providers have the professionalism and expertise needed to teach you the course information. If the course isn’t accredited, it may be rendered useless when renewing your license. That’s a waste of your money!

A competent provider provides all accreditation information. You shouldn’t have to dig around or second-guess to determine if accreditation is a problem.

Some accrediting agencies require that providers submit their courses for approval- you can ask if this is something your prospective provider does.  Many of them also submit the courses for accreditation on behalf of the student.

For example, at CMEs Training, we handle the reporting of CEUs to the various medical boards monitoring the CEUs for each agency. This gives the student one less issue to worry about.

Consider the Provider’s History

Unfortunately, it’s easy for anyone to create a continuing education course. Many scammy companies exist, and they can create serious harm to the professionals they aim to serve.

How long has the provider been in business? Do they have positive reviews? Have you been recommended to them by a trusted friend or colleague?

What kind of cancellation or refund policies are in place? Remember that reputable companies work like reputable businesses. They are open and transparent regarding the work they provide, and they are willing to answer any questions you may have.

Learn About the Course Formats

How does the provider teach specific courses? Will you need to attend a workshop or similar? Will the work be done entirely online?

Do you have a specific preference or learning style for how you to retain information? Will you need additional time constraints? If so, is the provider able to accommodate these preferences or needs?

Are the prices reasonable for what you will receive? How do they compare to other providers on the market? Do you receive the course material ahead of time? Did you feel prepared for the exam before taking it?

Keep in mind that reputable companies have manageable and personal class sizes. Whether the course is in-person or virtual, you should have access to hands-on training and individualized support.

Check Out the Course Content

After determining what accreditation you need, it’s time to browse through the course catalog.

Some employers or licensing boards require specific courses in their continuing education curriculum. Others allow their students to choose elective classes. Some require a mix-and-match approach.

Does the provider offer the courses you need? Does the curriculum look interesting to you? Will you be learning information that is pertinent to your line of work?

It’s usually easiest to choose one provider for all your continuing education classes. Some providers will provide a discount for lumping courses together. Moreover, if you like a particular instructor, there is a good chance that they teach other classes in the program!

Learn About Your Instructors

Speaking of instructors, who is going to be teaching your course? Are you attending a live seminar or participating in an online module? What kind of communication will you be having with the instructor?

You want instructors who have expertise in their careers. After all, they should have a thorough understanding in what they’re teaching! Ideally, they have both applicable work history and teaching experience.

Moreover, you also want instructors who deliver the information with professionalism. Just because someone is an expert in the field does not guarantee they will be fit for teaching.

Are the instructors approachable and personable? Do they make themselves available for questions and feedback? Do you feel like you will leave the course learning something new?

Distinguish Customer Satisfaction

After completing a course, you should always receive an evaluation for the program. This evaluation allows you to provide feedback to both the instructor and the provider. Reputable companies use this information to improve their programs.

You should take these evaluations seriously. Was the course information communicated thoroughly? Were the instructors competent in teaching you what you needed to learn?

Finally, you will also have the chance to review the provider itself. This review may entail questions related to customer service, management of fees, and other questions related to problem-solving.

Remember that a good provider wants to work with its students. If something didn’t work out for you, speak up! This is your money and your education, and you deserve to receive the results you want.

Final Thoughts on Choosing the Best Continuing Education Provider

The best continuing education provider has superior instructors, dynamic courses, and guarantees its work. A competent provider encompasses both professionalism and passion for the line of work they specialize in.

As a working professional, you don’t have the time or money to waste on shady programs. At CMEs Training, we recognize and honor the importance of lifelong learning, and we have an extensive variety of courses suitable for your profession’s needs.

Check out we can offer for you today!

CMEs also created a companion video for this article.