EMS is a challenging industry to work in and is demanding not only physically but mentally. There are numerous challenges that EMS providers face which compromise their mental health and well-being including acute stress incidents and chronic stress that accumulates from their day-to-day EMS roles. With the everyday hustle and bustle, it is easy for EMS leaders to forget how important it is that their front-line providers are mentally fit and well enough to perform at a high standard.
The rise in EMS data collection has transformed the industry, and the ability for EMS leaders to monitor their providers’ mental well-being through data collection is at the forefront of several significant initiatives. Here are five things that EMS leaders should consider when beginning to collect data from their providers on their mental health and well-being:
1. Ask the right questions.
When presenting a survey to providers over their mental health and well-being, it is critical that the questions asked are clear, concise, and easy for the providers to respond to. Asking questions such as “do you feel overworked?” or “are you getting enough sleep” with a scale of 1-5 as a response will be much easier to monitor than open-ended or free text questions.
2. Stay focused on the providers, not the organization.
The overall goal of monitoring the mental health and well-being of providers should be just that, to monitor them. EMS leaders should avoid asking too many questions related to the organization or organizational performance. While some of the feedback that you receive from your surveys can reveal certain aspects of the organization’s performance, the main goal should be to monitor the providers own mental health.
3. Be consistent and persistent with your efforts.
All too often in EMS we see initiatives pushed out towards our providers only to have them forgotten within a month or two. Making the decision to show that you are contentious of your providers’ mental health status shows them that they are valued members of your team. To continue to show them that they are valued you must be consistent and persistent with your efforts to monitor their mental well-being and that this initiative is here to stay.
4. Have a team in place to take action.
Collecting data of your providers’ mental health and well-being is excellent for gaining knowledge of their overall health, but it serves you little purpose if nothing is done with it. Supervisors are the best resource you have with regards to taking action and making actual improvements. Supervisors should be able to access the collected data of their employees to ensure they have a solid foundation of awareness when interacting with different providers. They should be educated and trained on approved methods for assisting team members when it is found that they may be suffering or overly stressed.
5. Regularly ask for feedback on how you can improve your data collection.
As with many things in EMS there is constant change in how we perform, operate, and understand situations. After implementing your new mental health awareness program and data collection, you may find that through continued exposure and education there will be a time to change your processes or surveys. Therefore, it is essential to remember the value in seeking feedback about your program from other EMS leaders, your Supervisor team, and your providers for suggested changes and the overall status of your initiative.
Keeping these five considerations at the forefront of your mental health data collection initiative are vital to a successful outcome for your program, for your organization, and most importantly for your team.
Our goal with this article is to provide you with some of the most common challenges that EMS organizations face when seeking to develop embracive and rich high-performance cultures and to offer practical solutions that will help you overcome them.
You now have the tools and techniques that will help you improve your organizations: feedback, performance review, and hiring processes.
Do you need some support while you figure out your next steps? nSightify would love to help you build an inclusive, high-performing culture. Reach out to us to learn how our performance management solution can support your goals!