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Mastering resilience: Insights from an EMS leader

Mastering resilience: Insights from an EMS leader

In the realm of Emergency Medical Services (EMS), maintaining composure in chaotic situations isn't just a virtue – it's a necessity. Dr. Charl van Loggerenberg, General Manager of Emergency Medicine at Life Healthcare, sheds light on the unique challenges faced by EMS personnel and the strategies they employ to navigate them effectively.

Identifying stressors: Understanding the challenges
EMS personnel encounter a multitude of stressors,’ Dr. Charl explains. ‘From environmental factors like working outdoors in all weather conditions to situational hazards in various settings, the pressure is constant.’ This continuous demand for readiness underscores the need for ongoing safety awareness and training.

A critical component
The importance of composure cannot be overstated. ‘Maintaining composure allows for clear-headed decision-making,’ Dr. Charl emphasises. ‘It fosters a positive response from colleagues and reduces anxiety for patients.’

Cultivating focus and resilience
Mindfulness practices play a crucial role in helping EMS personnel manage stress and stay focused during emergencies. Dr. Charl notes, ‘Training and preparedness instil confidence, which is key to remaining calm under pressure.’ By paying attention to their surroundings and trusting in their abilities, EMS teams can execute their duties with professionalism and precision.

The key to coordination
Effective communication is another linchpin of successful emergency responses. ‘Prior training, drills and clear protocols ensure seamless coordination,’ Dr. Charl affirms. Designating a team leader, conducting pre-event briefings, and having contingency plans in place for unexpected changes are all part of the equation.

Coping strategies: Supporting emotional well-being
But what happens after the adrenaline fades? EMS personnel must cope with the emotional toll of their work. Dr. Charl emphasises the importance of debriefing sessions, where team members can reflect, learn from mistakes, and support one another. ‘Creating a respectful, safe space for conversation is crucial,’ he adds. Taking care of personal health through adequate rest, exercise and nutrition is equally vital.

Building resilience: Ongoing training and support initiatives
To bolster resilience and coping mechanisms, ongoing training programs and support initiatives are essential. ‘Various EMS organisations offer psychological support and mentoring from senior professionals,’ Dr. Charl explains. ‘These resources not only enhance individual well-being but also contribute to the overall sustainability of the EMS workforce.’

Ready to elevate the emergency care available to employees at your business? Get in touch with Life Health Solutions today to find out how we can help you. Call (+27) 86 123 4123, visit our website, or email us at

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