Note from Author

You have chosen an interesting time to attend EMT school.  Waves of pandemic, the effects of climate change on our hometowns, civil unrest, and increasing fears of yet another war certainly makes your EMS experience meaningful. By starting this journey, you are stepping into the fray of our struggling health care system and will witness the best and worst of the human experience.

As an EMT you will have a front row seat to pure, raw, and uncut humanity. Your seat grants you access to people’s lives in a way not many people or professions can claim. As such, it is your charge to have a positive impact in the lives of those struggling, hurting and downcast in our society. At times you may feel like a real hero; enjoy the feeling, you earned it. At other times, you may feel like a well-trained Uber driver. Remember in these times of frustration, that EMS is our nation’s true “safety net” and that what you do matters.

In the United States, 911 is the only number a person can call to receive guaranteed attention and support, regardless of income, race, immigration status, mental capacity, or insurance. You are it. The tip of the spear. You will be called to assist victims of major trauma as well as a simple hangnail. You will respond to imminent birth and an elderly person who falls. Your role in society is to make the situation better when no one else knows how. You will be on the front lines of a mental health crisis and bear witness to the grind of addiction.

Starting now, the authors, your instructors, and your mentors and partners will pass along wisdom to help you obtain the skills necessary to make order from chaos, but also tips to keep you safe, provide you with waypoints for growth, and hold you to the ideals of our profession.

Being a well-studied and practiced EMT is essential to standing ready for the worst-case scenario. However, all your expertise will mean little if you aren’t there when the call for help comes. Suicide, anxiety, depression, PTSD, burnout, and divorce are all too common by-products of life on the front line.

Therefore, make the habit now, while you are still in school, to pay attention to your mental health. Seek a therapist, join an exercise routine, breathe, and share your struggles with one another. Your family, friends, and community need you physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy. Don’t wait. Do this for all of us. Do it for you.

Thank you for your interest in learning how to be an asset to someone in crisis. Whether you choose to join our ranks as a volunteer, paid professional, or use this experience as a stepping stone to something else, I speak for all the authors when I say I am honored to come alongside you on this section of your path.

Stay safe out there and I’ll see you on “the big one,”

Chris Hamper, B.S., Paramedic


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Oregon EMS Psychomotor Skills Lab Manual Copyright © 2023 by Chris Hamper, BS, NRP; Carmen Curtz, Paramedic, BS; Holly A. Edwins, Paramedic, B.S.; and Jamie Kennel, PhD, MAS, NRP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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