Chapter 2: Work and home

Introduction

I signed up for this, my family did not. – Canadian paramedic 

Why don’t I let my wife in? I think I worry too much about that. I probably could share more, but I’m so afraid I’ll hurt her. I don’t want Tamara to know what I’ve lived, but maybe she’d be fine? That’s the question. – Canadian paramedic

The transition from work to home can be complicated, particularly when the shift was difficult. While paramedics expect to respond to emergency situations, no one can predict the impact of witnessing trauma on an ongoing basis. Observing traumatic events can evoke unexpected personal responses that may frighten or shame paramedics. By the end of shift, they may have responded to multiple calls with little time between to process the events. These numerous and consecutive stresses can take a toll.

It can be a struggle to find ways to disconnect from work, but it can be done.