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In spite all of your most intense training, there will be times in your medical career when you encounter a situation for the first time. Most of the time, you will be cool and confident and able to handle yourself well, but other times will be frustrating and overwhelming. How do you prepare, and how do you respond, for something that you’ve never experienced before? Here are some ways to maintain your composure and not find yourself unable to help in a new situation.

Remain Calm

The first and most important step is to try to remain calm. There are many ways that a new situation can be frustrating, overwhelming, infuriating, or emotional but it is your role as a medical professional to try to maintain composure. This can be hard, so if you need to step away to recover, do so for a moment and return with a service minded attitude.

Ask for Help

Once you become overwhelmed it can be hard to think about what the next steps should be or how to help effectively. Do not be afraid or ashamed to ask for help. Other medical professionals around you may have seen this or similar issues and they can assist you and talk you through any unfamiliar processes.

Listen Well

When you are learning to address an issue you’ve not seen before, be sure to listen well. This not only applies to the help you’ve been provided but also the patient themselves. They may not entirely understand what is happening, but what they say and their body language can give you clues on the best ways to proceed.

Document Everything

It is also a good idea to make sure that you document everything. Write down everything the patient has told you about their experience as well as any action you’ve taken or help you’ve received. This will allow you to learn from what has happened and have good records for the facility and the future if similar situation were to occur again.

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