Advancing the EMS profession

EMS Health, Wellness and Resilience

The greatest asset of any EMS agency is its workforce – the EMS practitioners and other personnel who are there for members of the community during their worst moments, and who ensure their patients receive high-quality, compassionate and life-saving care. However, “being there” for patients and their family members and friends during medical emergencies is inherently stressful. EMS practitioners often work under difficult, unpredictable and rapidly changing circumstances. We may work in harsh environments, with limited information, assistance and resources. In the course of our work, we may be exposed to risks such as infectious disease, physical violence, occupational injury, vehicle crashes and death. We may be called on to help the victims of traumatic events, such as those who have experienced a natural disaster, serious motor vehicle collision, abuse or violence. We also run the risk of becoming victims of violence at the hands of patients who are inebriated or having a mental health crisis. To be able to effectively handle the stress associated with working in EMS, EMS practitioners benefit from having good physical, mental and emotional health.

NAEMT believes that all EMS practitioners should practice within a culture of health, wellness and resilience that allows them to become aware of and learn to adapt to their work and personal life, and cope with significant stressors. Developing and sustaining this culture must be the shared responsibility of agencies, practitioners and the greater community. View full statement. Download NAEMT’s Guide for Building an Effective Wellness and Resilience Program.