-- Laozi, Chinese philosopher (also known as Lao Tzu)
The experience was both easier and more challenging than I had expected. In all honesty, the course material wasn't particularly difficult to understand, even with the use of medical terminology sprinkled throughout. The hands-on and practical skills weren't particularly difficult either, whether it was applying trauma bandages, inserting airways, performing CPR, or just moving and lifting patients.
On the other hand, I was challenged to overcome an initial desire to simply 'help' a patient with what appeared to be an immediate discomfort or pain, and rather to slow down and assess the entire situation, looking for those more hidden issues that actually posed a greater life risk. It took a bit of time for me to not just understand the importance of this, but to actually internalize it to the point that it became natural to slow down rather than speed up in times of crisis.
Not that I was always perfect at it.
In fact, my first optional CEU class will be later this month, as I plan to attend an "EMS For Fire Scene Support" course (aka "Fire Rehab"), in order to have a better understanding and readiness when the Mendham First Aid Squad is called to support our local fire departments at the scene of a structure or other fire.
While the EMT class covered the basics of care for burns, this additional course will cover operational and organization details, including how to assess and evaluate fire personnel who may have been battling the blaze and are in need of rest and recovery, before they can be released back to duty to continue their own activities. I'll be back in a couple of weeks to talk about that course, and perhaps share details later this summer when I help support the Mendham Fire Departments' own training activities, putting this new knowledge in to action.