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Taking Care of Our Own

Pouring From an Empty Cup: The Neuroscience of Stress and How to Hold the Line of High Performance

John vonRosenberg, MA, FP-C; EastCare

Stress sucks. It makes easy things difficult and it makes difficult things even more challenging. If you are not feeling at least a little pressure every day on the job, you are likely not paying attention. “Eustress”, “distress”, “burnout”. . . each of these terms carries a weight that takes a toll on our physical bodies and punishes our emotional and mental selves.

This session will review the neuroscience behind stress – what happens from a structural and chemical perspective in the human brain when exposed to a stimulus that is perceived to be stressful. How does neuroplasticity, stress inoculation, and compassion fatigue change our brains and what can we do about it? Attendees will develop a deeper understanding of the consequences of working in a stressful environment, discover techniques for managing physiological changes, and discuss methods of supporting ourselves and our team mates in the face of increasingly difficult situations. It is important to adequately prepare for stressors of the job, manage emotions associated with caring for sick and injured patients in the moment, and mitigate the negative impact of stress following exposure to a difficult event. This talk will review what is known about work stressors, the statistical burden of burnout and other consequences of stress, and what we can all do to make sure we continue to provide the highest level of care to our patients while remaining healthy along the way.

Finding Your Inner Superhero

Josh Duda, NRP, FP-C; North Memorial Air Care

What do you do when things get tough? How do you dig deep to keep moving forward?

This session will explore a personal journey through tragedy, the lessons learned, and ways to overcome challenges.

Does Anyone Actually Get 8 Hours of Sleep? Real World Resilience for Real World Providers

James Boomhower, MS(c), FP-C, C-NPT, NRP, CCISM; Boston MedFlight

We all know what we're "supposed" to do. Sleep 8 hours a night, exercise 20-30 minutes per day, and eat all of our veggies. But what does that actually look like for individuals with professional and personal lives that simply don't allow that to happen? In this presentation, we're going to discuss how we can still promote wellness and resilience without asking ourselves and our colleagues to meet such impractical goals. We're going to boil down the "need to have", the "nice to have", and the "good to have when you can get it"- all in an effort to help you take the stress out of wellness.

We're in this Together: Engaging Staff through Peer Support

Phadra McCray, M.Ed, MSW, LSW; Nationwide Children's Hospital
Rachael Bardnell, MSW, LSW; Nationwide Children's Hospital

As we go through our workday, we are faced with various challenges. From our interactions with families and co-workers, not to mention the outside stressors that we bring along with us. The load can become heavy and sometimes it is difficult to find a silver -lining or having the strength to want to. Spending time meeting the needs of others, we neglect ourselves in the process leading to ignoring symptoms when they arise in our bodies. Pushing through to autopilot, we live without taking in the beauty of everyday encounters and question purpose. Recognizing the signs to seek support can realign our thoughts, decompress in a safe space and provide the opportunity to self-reflect. With training, peer supporters can offer validation, discuss experiences and work toward engagement of effective coping strategies.

EMS Burnout, Trauma Exposure, and Stress

Aaron Ziegler, MD; Corewell Health Aero Med and North Flight Aero Med

A lecture around the topics of EMS burnout and post-traumatic stress. The topic of burnout will address the prevalence, signs, and effects of burnout in EMS. Using burnout as a backdrop, this session will discuss a recent case in EMS in which mistakes led to an unintentional death and ways it could’ve been prevented. The session will address the signs of a negative trauma exposure responsive and strategy we can employ to help. Lastly, we will discuss individual and organizational resources to help address the topics of burnout and post-traumatic stress.