Being Resourceful
injured soldier

U.S. Army Sgt. Grayson Colby holds the hand of a critically wounded U.S. Army soldier while aboard a medevac helicopter. Sometimes, the most challenging part of a combat medic's job is providing emotional support.

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Back in the 1980s, the television character MacGyver earned a reputation for making complex devices out of everyday things he found lying around. Because field medics can't carry an entire hospital with them all the time, they need to be extremely resourceful. On one level, it could be as straightforward as making a tourniquet out of a piece of clothing, a simple but critical life-saving device.

Not all resources are physical, though. Sometimes being able to relate to a patient in a completely nonmedical way can be enough to stabilize a situation. For example, speaking softly to a child, even if the child doesn't understand your language, can do amazing things. This kind of resource relies on the emotional care a medic is able to provide [source: Seehusen].

Physical or emotional, a medic's resourcefulness in some measure has to come from within. On the other hand, the hazards medics face can come from literally anywhere.