Treating Your First Patient
You’ve dreaming of a career in health care for so long.
After spending months or years in school and training for the job, and weeks or months searching for the right position to launch your career, eventually the day will come where you must treat your first patient. From the beginning of the journey, this is the ultimate goal. But as with a lot of situations, the more you learn about patient care, the more difficult the end goal seems to be. The more you learn about the types of care different patients may need, the complications that may arise, and the importance of delivering quality care, the more aware you are of the risks and challenges associated with your new profession. Treating your first patient may in fact be both a dream come true and a more challenging, even frightening scenario than you previously anticipated.
Luckily, in the health care field, you are rarely alone and left to your own devices. When treating your first patient, make the experience better for all with the following tips to remember.
Don’t Be Afraid to Rely on Your Team and Network
In all likelihood, the people working with or near you are aware of where you are in your career and understand if you are new to the job; some may even be perfectly aware that this is your first patient. And rather than judge you or look down on your lack of experience, they are there to help you. The goal of all those working in health care is, hopefully, to help the patient as well as possible and within legal and ethical parameters. This means if you aren’t sure of something, asking is always better than guessing, even if you’re just looking for someone to reinforce your medical opinion. Don’t hesitate to ask a more senior nurse or paramedic to supervise your procedure, or consult with a physician or colleague before moving forward with treatment. Your team and medical network is a wealth of information and experience that you should absolutely consider yourself free to learn from.
Call Upon Your Years of Schooling
On the flip side, some new nurses or paramedics might have an experience where they “freeze up” in the moment before their first patient, suddenly feeling unprepared for the situation. In these moments, it’s important to remember that while you don’t yet have the muscle memory of these tasks you’re asked to perform, you have been educated and trained for exactly this. Certainly, the longer you work, the more “real world” experience you will have to call upon. But until then, take comfort in your training program and practical assessments and feel confident that you have been prepared and trained to do the job at hand.