Tips for paramedics to avoid burnout

10 January 2022 By Chanelle Wate

The word ‘burnout’ has become increasingly used in today’s healthcare system as professionals working on the frontline manage rising demands due to Covid-19, seasonal fluctuations and the usual amount of emergency care requirements! Although the work can be challenging at times, the effort given by paramedics has not gone unnoticed – we’d be lost without you!

What’s important is that you continue to be passionate about your career and that you finish your shift feeling enthused and rewarded! That’s why we’ve put together a guide on how to spot the signs of burnout and how to prevent feeling overwhelmed, so that you can continue to love caring for people and be the best paramedic you can be!

EMS burnout statistics

Everyone experiences stress in their career, but the stress felt by paramedics is both physically and emotionally demanding. When working long shifts and dealing with traumatic events and life-and-death situations, it’s not uncommon for healthcare professionals working in the industry to feel burnt out.

With the recent events of the pandemic, the health sector has felt increased pressure and strain as the industry mitigated new challenges. This has had an impact on paramedics across the UK and according to research by mental health charity, Mind:

  • 69% of emergency responders feel like their mental health has deteriorated as a result of the pandemic

  • Only 26% of ambulance staff reported their current mental health as ‘very good’ or ‘good’

  • 77% of ambulance staff say their mental health has worsened since the start of the pandemic

EMS burnout symptoms

When you work in healthcare, your priority is caring for others and your shifts can often be non-stop. It can be hard to spot any signs of burnout when you work hard to put the lives of your patients before yours, but it’s important to remember to check in with yourself too!

Symptoms of burnout can manifest themselves in different ways and can be unique to the individual. But there are a few tell-tale signs to look out for that typically suggest you may be experiencing high levels of stress, such as:

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Exhaustion

  • Lack of motivation

  • Difficulty sleeping

5 tips for paramedics to avoid burnout

Everyone handles stress differently but the key to avoiding feeling burnt out is to take care of your body and mind. Life as a paramedic can be hectic at times when you’re out saving lives! So, you’ll need to be prepared for various challenges and incorporate methods into your day to help you manage your wellbeing, such as:

1. Check in with yourself regularly

Yes, your number one priority is to provide exceptional care to your patients but don’t forget about looking after yourself in the process. Check in with yourself regularly and acknowledge how you’re feeling, so that you can recognise when you’re being pushed to your limits and take the necessary preventative measures to avoid burnout.

2. Don’t be afraid to take time off if needed

We know that your job is your passion, but don’t be afraid to take time off if you are feeling overwhelmed. Rest is important and taking the time to recoup and get some sleep will prove invaluable to avoid feeling stressed.

3. Eat well and exercise regularly

Physical exercise works wonders in helping you deal with stress! Although it can be difficult to motivate yourself after a hard day’s work, finding at least 30 minutes to do some form of physical activity like walking, running or cycling will help you de-stress and feel rejuvenated.

4. Engage in stress-reduction activities

Find time to engage in relaxation activities like meditation, reading or listening to podcasts. Everyone will have their preference and know what helps them relax, so it’s important to factor in time daily to take a moment to be calm and stress-free.

5. Get regular, good-quality sleep

This may seem like a no-brainer, but getting enough sleep is key to ensuring your mind and body are healthy! Try a sleep app that analyses your sleep patterns and wakes you up in the right phase so you don’t feel groggy!

 

If you would like more information on how to spot signs of burnout, our friendly team of consultants would be happy to help!

 

When it comes to looking for your next paramedic opportunity, we’ve got you covered. We can ensure you are always able to provide the best care possible by sourcing short and long-term assignments, out of hours, or back-to-back roles.

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