Advice for an Aspiring Female EMT?

flowers

Forum Ride Along
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Sorry if this has been asked a lot/before.

I'm starting EMT class this month and I am looking for some advice on workouts to do to get in better shape, and specifically improve my strength for the job.

Some background: I was in the USAF, gained a lot of weight in a short time (depression + exercise intolerance from an illness now in remission [IIH]) and pretty much all my workout knowledge is for preparing for the AF PT test, aka not much on actually improving strength.

Basically I was wondering if anyone has any advice on what to do to get myself in better shape and which parts/workouts I should look to improve to be in the best condition I can for EMS. From what I understand theres lots of lifting, but I'm not sure what or how to workout for that.
 

StCEMT

Forum Deputy Chief
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Basically all the big lifts are beneficial, just pick a program and stick to it. Squat, deadlift, row, sumo deadlift, farmers carry, etc are all good for this job.
 

Peak

ED/Prehospital Registered Nurse
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Lift smart and work smart.

The strongest guys can have career ending injuries from bad technique, and there are plenty of more smaller women who more than capable when it comes to performing the physical labor.

You can also hurt yourself in ways you would never think of. I never hurt myself in the field, but I sprained my wrist helping to move a bariatric patient in the hospital and ended up with a 5kg limitation for 3 weeks. If I was in field that would have been FMLA, fortunetly it just meant I had to do 3 weeks of neos. One moment you don't fully think about can take you out of the career.
 

Aprz

Forum Deputy Chief
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I don't feel this job is as physical as people believe or can make it sound like. Yeh, we lift a lot, but usually with your partner. Women, even petite ones, work together all the time with no trouble. It can be hard at first, but it is all about technique and being smart. I kind of feel like guys tend to get hurt more in this field trying to muscle everything while women will tend to look for smarter ways to move patients.

Just try to be healthy. It is super easy to put on weight in this field because you aren't constantly lifting or working out, and you tend to eat crappier too.
 

Kevinf

Forum Captain
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Work smarter and not harder. Use leverage to your advantage. Use manpower to your advantage (many hands make light work). Don't be afraid to call for backup early, you can always cancel if not needed. Don't stay at employers that don't take the potential for lifting injuries seriously.

That said, you DO need to be in reasonably decent shape to safely move today's patients. They aren't getting smaller. There are inexpensive gym memberships that will give you access to a personal trainer for awhile. Might be a good idea to take advantage of that for a bit and tell them what you are trying to accomplish. Largely, you need a strong core and grip and good lifting mechanics.
 
OP
flowers

flowers

Forum Ride Along
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Thank you guys for all the helpful insight, I really appreciate it! <3
 

DrParasite

The fire extinguisher is not just for show
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I don't feel this job is as physical as people believe or can make it sound like. Yeh, we lift a lot, but usually with your partner
No offense, but just because you are lifting with a partner, doesn't mean the job isn't physical. most EMS people need to train like professional athletes, because we don't always have idea situations to move patients. And yes, lift with your firefighters, ABCs, and call for help before you think you need it: all true statements, but you still need to be able to do the job, and that includes lifting and moving heavy patients. Maybe you'll work for a slow agency where you don't have to work, or you don't have to use your muscles often; good for you, but the rest of us need to make sure we are able to do the job in less than idea conditions.

Three type of career ending injuries are all too common in EMS: knees, shoulders and the big one, backs.

if you want to lose the Lbs, start jogging. it's cheap, with the only expenses being a good paid of running shoes. Do you need to run 8 miles a day? hell no. but it gives your body a good cardio work out. push ups, situps, and squats help, as does good eating habits and stretching.
 

NomadicMedic

EMS Edumacator
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Agreed. We often send 2 people on BLS transports and the patinet may weight 200+ and be on a second floor. You'll need to move heavy patients on a Reeves or scoop and not being able to effectively lift and move will end up in an injury and a workers comp claim.

Do basic strength conditioning exercises and cardio. Your body will thank you for it.
 

Aprz

Forum Deputy Chief
Premium Member
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No offense, but just because you are lifting with a partner, doesn't mean the job isn't physical. most EMS people need to train like professional athletes, because we don't always have idea situations to move patients. And yes, lift with your firefighters, ABCs, and call for help before you think you need it: all true statements, but you still need to be able to do the job, and that includes lifting and moving heavy patients. Maybe you'll work for a slow agency where you don't have to work, or you don't have to use your muscles often; good for you, but the rest of us need to make sure we are able to do the job in less than idea conditions.
I definitely do not work in a slow area. Very urban and busy. No offense taken.
 

akflightmedic

Forum Deputy Chief
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I would like to mention a VERY stark contrast which I have utilized personally within EMS, however I find it more pervasive in nursing than in EMS. And that is patient movement.

In EMS, all too often I have seen provider after provider basically move, lift, slide the patient way more than necessary. Often this is due in part to it simply being less frustrating, quicker, or simply unwilling to take the time to coach the patient to move themselves.

In nursing, I see the approach of constant communication to the patient on moving themselves. You "make" the patient do as much for themselves as possible, even when they push back, complain or say its impossible....you still coach and guess what...they actually move and do it for themselves!

I absolutely support this approach an I am sure there is data which says it leads to better outcomes for all...just sharing this for any newbies who think they have to move or lift every single patient...don't! Protect yourself. Walk them, let them move their legs, their arms, whatever. Obviously if they medically cannot or should not (cardiac, resp, fx leg) use common sense, however for most of the routine calls...walk them!
 

DrParasite

The fire extinguisher is not just for show
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Many agencies have policies in place that crews should carry patients from the place they find them until they make it to the ER. This is more for liability reasons in case the patient falls, often at the expense of the provider's backs, and not because there is any reason the person can walk (or to maintain the perception that if you call, we will carry you all the way to the doctor) . Whether or not this policy is actually followed is another story (there is no reason to wheel an ambulatory and compliant psych transfer, other than policy say to).
Walk them, let them move their legs, their arms, whatever. Obviously if they medically cannot or should not (cardiac, resp, fx leg) use common sense, however for most of the routine calls...walk them!
They have two legs right? if only one leg is fractured, they can hop on their good one to the ambulance.
 

NomadicMedic

EMS Edumacator
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Wait. That is really a policy at some EMS agencies? I worked in quite a few places, and I've never seen that. If patient can walk and is willing to walk and it's not contraindicated to have them walk... They should walk.
 

joshrunkle35

EMT-P/RN
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Many agencies have policies in place that crews should carry patients from the place they find them until they make it to the ER. This is more for liability reasons in case the patient falls, often at the expense of the provider's backs, and not because there is any reason the person can walk (or to maintain the perception that if you call, we will carry you all the way to the doctor) . Whether or not this policy is actually followed is another story (there is no reason to wheel an ambulatory and compliant psych transfer, other than policy say to).
They have two legs right? if only one leg is fractured, they can hop on their good one to the ambulance.
Interesting. I’ve never heard of a policy like that.
 

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