Remember To Breathe

Tracy asked me for some tips on staying calm during the state EMT test in my plea for prompts. Well, I'm no expert, but here's what's always worked for me, and the stuff my mom taught me. Thanks Tracy!

My mom never let me go to a test hungry. Every time I had a test, a quiz or an important presentation, I was always to have a good breakfast that morning. Mind you, I said a good breakfast. No pop-tarts, sugary cereals or donuts. I got toast, scrambled eggs, bacon and orange juice. My mom always said "how can you expect your brain to work if you don't give it some protein!?" She was so right. I always saw myself doing better when I ate a good meal than when I didn't. To this day, I make sure that I get some protein before something nerve-racking. (She'll be glad to know that before my job interview, I even made myself some eggs) So that's my first piece of advice.

Secondly, always remember to breathe. I find that in stressful situations, I often literally forget to breathe, holding my breath until my lungs scream for air. My pulse shoots up, my anxiety rises, and I'm freaking out again, breathing less and repeating the cycle.

The people at the test cite are just that--people. You make a mistake? It's alright, it's just a test. The evaluators aren't out to get you. In fact, they usually want to help you--they're nice people who were once in your shoes, scared to death of their proctors. Be polite, and show them that you know your stuff. They know you're scared, so don't worry about showing your nerves.

If you fail, it's not the end of the world. Lots of people have failed lots of times.
“The greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure.”
--Sven Goran
Even if you fail, you can try again. Try, try again. Etc., etc., triteness, cliche. You get the point. Just try to remember that failure isn't the end.

As far as remembering things goes, this is the only advice I have. When you get the scenario, take a deep breath, and think of it all laid out in front of you. You always do what in trauma (as far as the state test goes)? Everything goes back to what (airway)? Is this a load-and-go? Should you consider calling for ALS?
After you've covered your every-situation bases, consider how the context of this scenario changes things.
Are the vitals stable? Are they improving? Does the patient have medication? Is that medication in date? You get the idea.
There are some things that are going to apply to every situation, and some that aren't. By this point, you know how to asses the situation. Refer back to an earlier point (remember to breathe), and just take your time.

Tracy, let me know how your state test goes! I'm sure you'll do great--it's just a re-cert. Man, now I'm all pumped for my Religion final in a week and a half.
Early Judaism--Okay, so...



Scott said...

Ha. We have our big make or break head to toe physical assessment test coming up. I am not going to stress over it. Just practice with some of the ladies from my class a few times before the test. But then we aren't assessing real people--just the dummies. So that sucks. Have you ever tried to check skin turgor on a hard plastic maniken? LOL. Not to mention that the heart and lung auscultation points are just going to be acting. Ugh. Breathe is good advice. And I think I might have some toast, eggs, and hashbrowns before that test.

Chris said...

Breathe is always good advice. In this context, its useful if you're not the only one who is doing so!

Tori said...

I'm allergic to eggs and I don't eat meat. Hmm... I don't eat the sugary stuff in the morning though. A bowl of cereal (never the sugar kind) and a handful of raisins. And now I use soy milk. Why am I going on about what I eat?

I have never had test anxiety in my life.

tracy said...

Dear Sam,
Wow! Thank you sooo very much, i really appreciate it! So many excellent suggestions, even about what to eat, you have given me many great ideas and especially, try, try again : )
i wish i knew what else to say except thank you once again for your kindness and of course, you super blog,
hearts and flowers,

tracy said...

Religion final? Wow, that sounds like an interesting class...i took a World Religion's class and loved it. i am fascinated by Judahism. For some inspiration, go to Doug Cotler.com
He is one of my favorite musicans and on "discography", i think, you can hear excerts of his songs, he's great! "Orzarua", "Dayeinu", "Justice, Justice", "Thank You God"-cute- are some of my faves
Good luck with y o u r test, you'll do great!

John-Michael said...

Such a Sweetheart! You do the "Giving" thing s beautifully that to have the honor of witnessing You in action (as in all that you give of your Self in your article) is an encouragement and a joy.

Loving you is a comfortable "given."

Bernice said...

I will look over the materials the night before and then put it away. A good night's sleep the night before is a must as well. It does more harm than good having an all night study session and getting one or two hours of sleep.