Working in healthcare can be both stressful and rewarding. So, is it stressful for a person who specializes in the field of nursing? Of course, it will be much more so; the staff dedicates their lives to other people, more than to themselves. As a nursing student and practitioner, I have realized that the clinical field is one of the places where mental health has been affected, added to this, we are from the generation of students who took and learned everything they could and it was necessary in two years of the pandemic through a small screen, which closed itself to the world behind a door of the house, that in the face of so many restrictions in the hospital environment, it has been very difficult for students to put everything into practice in the clinical field what they have learned; So, given this, how do we prepare ourselves mentally and physically when an emergency situation arises? Some of us simply do not.
In an emergency situation, depending on our level of experience, we will react, either with fear, with precision, or with fear and precision; In the first instance your body will look for a possible escape, and it is your will and desire to assist the person which will stop you from it. Whether or not it is the first time that we carry out an emergency maneuver, we must learn to react quickly and effectively to everything, because time is something that we do not have and for the other person is running out.
We know what to do, we know the techniques, the place, the situation, but in a world where depression will soon be the second most frequent disability worldwide, it will be very difficult to have a 100% clear mind to help others.
There are two factors that in my point of view are very relevant since they will also determine our way of acting in an emergency. The first will be our desire to help people outside of us. If we do not have a common sense of empathy for others, we will not know how to react to the world or anyone; if we are only in this profession for money, we are making an effort in vain, because we do not save anyone, not even ourselves, in the other hand, if we have that need to help, even our own fear will react to us in emergencies. The next factor that is very relevant to me is the desire to learn: it goes hand in hand with the desire to help: anyone can help, but if they don’t learn anything, and in a country like Mexico (my country of origin), where unfortunately due to the mismanagement of the country, the necessary value is not given to education, and we are required to learn anything by our own means, in all this, far from speeding up the situation, we are able to hinder our own effort and lose valuable time.
After all this, how am I supposed to prepare? Truly speaking from my own experience, from the mind of someone who is not perfectly well every day, but who took enough interest in this field to help others to be well; what I can tell you is: read, research, get a lot of information, and always stay up to date with all the new techniques that are presented: the clinical field is always a place where you are constantly learning; practice a lot, never stop doing it, do not have in your mind that idea that you “learned it once and it will be enough”, it is never enough to learn and practice; attend many courses, either on your own or through your study center, always looking for a way to be up to date on everything.
On a more personal note, hold on to what you love, there will be no rule to follow, we will all have a very different ritual than everyone else: watch a movie, go out with your friends, eat well, sleep well, have fun, listen to music, exercise. Whatever your ritual, always pay attention, listen to yourself, even look for someone professional to listen to you, mental health is paramount above all. Moods drop most of the time, fatigue crushes us, as well as our thoughts, but the reward of satisfaction when seeing that you helped someone, or that you did everything that was in your hands, will not have a comparison to that.