The Challenges and Rewards of Being a First Responder

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Imagine being the first on the scene to save a life or to be the one who prevents an accident from turning into a tragedy. That’s the life work of Emergency Medical Technicians and they’re employed in every state in the nation. In fact, in some states, like California, First Responders are in especially high demand.1 If you want a career where you could really make a difference, consider the rewards and challenges of becoming an EMT:

Reward: Make a Difference

First responders tend to be highly satisfied with the work they do.2 This is probably because their work is so important to society. As an EMT, you could provide life-saving care to patients on a regular basis. You can be confident that you’re making a positive difference.

Challenge: Work in a Challenging Environment

As a first responder, you might face on-the-job hazards. Because you must touch patients who could carry contagious diseases, you could become infected if you don’t take the right precautions. You’ll also have to kneel, bend, and lift heavy weights. You may need to restrain certain patients. All of these activities can lead to injury. You can keep risks to a minimum, though, by training to become an EMT and always following proper safety procedures.

Reward: Bring your Skills Anywhere

EMTs can work throughout the United States. No matter where you live, there is probably a need for emergency medical technicians. Although licensing requirements vary, most states will allow you to work as an EMT if you have full NREMT certification. This means that you will have the freedom and flexibility to move where you want and continue in the career your love.

Challenge: Work Long Hours

Emergencies can happen at any time, so first responders are always on duty. This means that you might have to work nights or on weekends. Many first responders also work long shifts ranging from 9 to 12 hours. However, they may also have several days off in a row.

Challenge: Confront Emotional Trauma

As a first responder, you may see severe injuries, people with mental illness, and even death. The most emotionally healthy people can be affected by the stress related to EMT work. But because you’re in the healthcare profession, you’ll have easy access to counseling and emotional support throughout your career. It’s important to remember that you can’t take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself first.

Reward: Build Community Connections

Your work as a first responder will give you the opportunity to build relationships with people across your community. In addition to your patients, who will come from all walks of life, you will also encounter police officers, firefighters, doctors, nurses, and others who play important roles in the local scene. The better you get to know these people, the stronger your connection will be to every aspect of community life.