Peer training to help paramedics cope

I just read about a great idea in the Journal-Chronicle:

Paramedics with Superior North Emergency Medical Service are being trained to give other paramedics peer-to-peer counselling whenever they need it.

The two-day course is designed to teach paramedics how to speak about problems supportively, identify signs of stress in their colleagues, and "how to start a discussion with them that is unbiased, compassionate and non-threatening."

Paramedics are among the healthcare workers that really deal with the dark side--but I could see this kind of training for pretty much anyone in the healthcare industry. I know, to admit that it gets to you is tough to do, and there probably would be some pushback. Until the program starts working and people see their stress levels go down as they share their concerns and just plain old vent to someone who understands what they're going through. Even editors need to do that sometimes, and I'm so thankful for my colleagues who listen with a patient ear when there's too much to do in too little time--I can't even imagine the pressure that builds up inside when people's lives are on the line.

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