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Esther Murray (Part 1): How to Take Care of Yourself After a Moral Injury

In part 1 (of 2) of our conversation with Dr Esther Murray, we explore the concept of a moral injury, and how paramedics can spot warning signs that they’ve suffered one, as well as tips on how to restore a good mental state.

The term moral injury was developed to describe soldiers who exhibited worrying psychological symptoms from traumatic experience, but did not respond to PTSD treatment. In short, it is a non-pathological (although problematic) response to trauma. It can express itself in a multitude of ways, from short-temperedness to leaving your phone in the fridge to not being able to sleep like you once could.

The number and gravity of traumatic situations that paramedics are exposed to is, of course, greater than most professions. Therefore, pre-hospital workers (and really all healthcare professionals) should be aware of the reality of moral injuries and how to handle them if/when they arise.


S02E04: Esther Murray (Part 1): How to Take Care of Yourself After a Moral Injury by Pre-Hospital Care In part 1 (of 2) of our conversation with Dr Esther Murray, we explore the concept of a moral injury, and how paramedics can spot warning signs that they’ve suffered one, as well as tips on how to restore a good mental state.

Key Points in This Episode:

  1. 02:21 Esther’s introduction and background.

  2. 05:50 What is moral injury and how does it relate to paramedics?

  3. 07:40 What are the signs that you have suffered a moral injury?

  4. 10:00 The challenge of shame.

  5. 11:55 Why can’t we shake the thought that situations should have turned out differently?

  6. 13:20 You are enough.

  7. 15:30 The high-energy of paramedic culture and dealing with winding down to sleep.

  8. 18:30 How do you help someone who has been affected by moral injury?

  9. 22:30 No matter how bad a scene is, remember that you are always there as a force for good.

  10. 23:55 Compassion fatigue.

  11. 25:25 The importance of self-care and taking true days off.

  12. 29:28 Be an achiever without being overly self-critical.

In part two we’re back with Dr Esther Murray to talk about flow states (states of peak performance). Look out for that on Monday the 1st of July.

Add this episode to your CPD by signing up to the Pre-Hospital Care Season 2 “proof of learning” course.

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