Jessica Meza

Submitted 2023-07-17

In my undergraduate studies, I have experienced many experiences in healthcare settings, including having to provide emergency care in a clinic that required ambulance attention. These experiences have shaped and allowed me to grasp the importance of being prepared to handle all situations as future medical providers. I hope to become a physician assistant in a trauma unit providing patient care in the emergency room, operating room, ICU, and outpatient clinic. Currently, I am an incoming student in a physician’s assistant program. My previous roles in patient care often required basic life support, CPR, first-aid, AED, and pediatric life training as critical skills that kept me prepared for threatening to non-threatening life situations. It is important to know how to respond to dangerous situations quickly and effectively to avoid casualties. As a future healthcare provider, the career is stressful yet rewarding because providers affect the lives of patients and ultimately make the world a better place, one patient at a time.

A deep breath in and exhale helps calm nerves before anxiety escalates to a higher level of stress. This technique was used every time I attended the clinic. The clinic I work with focuses on helping low-income patients access quality care for chronic diseases and other health concerns. Some days, we get patients who have neglected their health because of the inability to afford care, which can quickly escalate to life-threatening emergency visits. To this day, I remember that an elderly female patient was unaware that she was in a hypertensive crisis that could have been fatal. She walked to our clinic and was being seen for the first time. I checked her in and brought her to the back for her vitals. I immediately observed that her blood pressure was substantially higher than normal. As I ran to call the doctor for help, the patient fell to the floor and did not react. I got the doctor and nurse practitioner to help the patient, and the doctor yelled to notify the ambulance of an emergency that required hospital attention. I and the other volunteers helped in panic prevention and alerted other patients in the waiting room of our situation. Our patient was fortunate in that she had received medical attention from the start of her stroke, which saved her life. I soon learned that you can be in a life-threatening situation at any moment. The skills I gained to tame my fight or flight autonomic physiological reactions in high-stress situations have been crucial for patient care and attentiveness. Focusing on healthy methods to prepare mentally and physically before performing life-saving techniques on patients in your career can make a huge difference.

When embarking on a healthcare career, being mentally prepared helps set up for success in serving your community. Healthcare providers are hailed as heroes, yet that perception puts extra stress on them to be superhuman, despite facing challenges in the field. Physicians and medical professionals are very much human and fear what the day brings, so it is important to have a routine to decrease mental stress and other mental factors that can affect their duties. My routine before starting a shift with my volunteer team in the clinic comprises positive self-talk to uplift and reminds me of proper training to help aid in unexpected medical emergencies with help from providers. Not only did I remind myself of my capabilities, but I also remembered the list of procedures we have within our roles to take care of an emergency immediately. Apart from self-talk, team communication is another way to receive group support to ensure that you are all on the same page. Our team finds the time to communicate with one another at the end of the day to discuss any patient concerns or burdens that can mentally take a toll on us. It is essential to recognize when the team is under heavy stress to prevent burnout and keep us united for any potential crisis we may face.

Being mentally prepared is as important as being physically prepared to handle emergencies. The stress associated with being a healthcare provider is exhausting and requires physical release. After a long day at the clinic, I like to go for a jog in the evening and do meditation through yoga to keep my body aligned with my mind. I enjoy having inner peace and increasing self-awareness. Caring for yourself is just as important as caring for other patients, which is something I always take into consideration. Dedicating time for self-care allowed me to feel confident and prepared to handle any challenges that I may face during the week. Not only do I feel great mentally, but my energy levels increased by completing physical activities, such as yoga. Keeping a sharp mind allows me to obtain a new perspective on stressful situations and use breathing techniques to calm my nerves. Setting aside a few minutes for yourself can have a huge impact on the way you can respond to an emergency.

Overall, I am grateful for the training and level of preparation needed to help miracles occur in the medical field. Being a medical provider is a rewarding and fulfilling career that presents challenges. Without the proper certifications and training available, many of us would not be knowledgeable in basic life support which would not allow us to work to the best of our abilities. I have learned so much from the training I’ve received that it has made me have an appreciation for the hard work medical providers go through to save lives. I hope to become a physician assistant that continues to share the importance of completing training like basic life support and providing quality care, even in stressful life situations.