Month: August 2011

In Training

As you may have noticed, not much is happening here. I’m back at school, undertaking my final four weeks of training prior to being made up as paramedic, the senior on the van.

So far, the first week has been interesting, and a great learning curve with a few new skills, focus on scene management and heaps of theoretical and practical revision. I won’t go in to too much detail – there are still students waiting to do the course and can’t give away any secrets…

One little tidbit worth mentioning in regards to kinematics and unchallenged paramedic misconceptions: I can’t remember where I picked it up, but I was always under the impression that if two cars collided head on in to each other, their impact speed would added. I never even questioned this logic.

Once I thought about it a mere couple of seconds, reality and physics kicked in. Evidence based practice has once more turned my thinking and practices around:

Watch Mythbusters debunk the myth!

Read you in a months time, and see you in six weeks time at the Paramedics Australasia Conference – where I’ll be presenting myEMStrip!

Advances in Paramedicine

According to the latest guidelines from the Australian Resuscitation Council (and other, of course), the pre cordial thump is no longer recommended for ventricular fibrillation.

But it’s such a great word!

“Precordial” sounds so anatomical, sciency, specific, like we know what we’re talking about. And “thump”…it has such a ring to it!

We need a replacement, pronto.

Hmm.

I suggest the “Precranial Thump”!

What is a precranial thump? Well, science has unfortunately not picked up on this yet (no google results!), so we’ll just have to make something up that suits us (not like that hasn’t done before…*ahem*).

  • Apply repeated precranial thumps to yourself for that 0130am callout for a sore knee (songkit)
  • You may internally visualise and hypothesise about lavishly applying precranial thumps to people who have no idea what paramedics are actually trained for.
  • Or, you may bang your head in the air because this is the best job in the world and being a Paramedic ROCKS!

Rip Rip Hooray!

Investigations as to the cause of our patients illness are underway, but I would like to get a reading of her heart to complete it. Unfortunately she is wearing stockings and a long dress, no way I can just slap a dot on her leg.

“I need to pop one of these stickers right about there” I say to her, pointing to her lower left thoracic region. Eager to help, she swiftly pulls up her dress, but not far enough; I still can’t access the bit of skin I need. She is lying down, and her dress is wedged between the stretcher and herself. She has no hesitations: “the clothing needs to get out of the way in order for the paramedics to help me!” is how I interpret her thoughts.

She wiggles and writhes around, forcefully pulling at her clothes, and tells me:

“You’re going to be the first man I ever rip my clothes off for!”

I chuckle, and ask her if I could add it to my CV.

Flying High

I love flying. I love looking out the window. I love seeing the landscape spread out beneath me, while I try to identify land marks; combining street views together with the birds eye view from the plane window.  The skyscrapers densely packed in the city centre, evening out as the eye leaves the city centre, morphing in to urban sprawl. Traffic jams snaking their way through clogged arterial roads. Streetlights mimicking christmas lights, aligning and alighting darkened streets. Factories. Trains. Endless housing.

It’s a new perspective from up here. Removed, detached, you realise your own insignificance. You are one of many. That argument you had with your partner the other day? The differences you and your colleague argued over last week? All that fades away in to trivial squabble.

The plane makes a steep turn, then levels out again. I recognise the area I currently work in, it is quite a large area, mainly suburban. The area covered by our ambulance is quite extensive, I think to myself. There are thousands of people living down there, every day new people move in, some move out, some people visit, some people pass by. A significant number of people that go about their day to day business; on a busy day we get to meet maybe ten of them, some days only two or three. Out of thousands.

To us, they are the patient. They need fixing, or just a ride to hospital. We hold their hands, we do our paramedic stuff if needed – then hand over at hospital, clean up the van, and wait for the next person requiring our assistance…repeat ad infinitum or until shift changeover.

To them, we are saviours in green, with mysterious equipment, and magic in our (gloved) hands. Never did they think we would meet today. Never did they think their day would be disrupted by an unplanned visit to the emergency department.

So many people out there, such a minority we actually have any direct interaction with.

To us, just another patient.

To them, an exceptional situation. Make sure their experience is as exceptional.

Status update

I wrote this on the flight to Melbourne – unfortunately I didn’t get access to a WiFi hotspot to upload the post in time – the SPA conference has now been and gone. Great seeing you all there!

 

Busy times, I think to myself as the plane crosses rural Victoria. I’m on my way to this years Student Paramedics Australasia (SPA) Conference in Melbourne, and looking forward to catching up with many interstate colleagues and friends that I have made along the way – and of course, you, dear reader!

This time last year, I reflect, I was slogging away at work; bogged down in university studies, shafted from a roster point of view, and not happy with my whole situation. I needed a break. I needed to get out of my environment, have a breather, and mix with some enthusiastic people who love the job as much as I do. By pure chance, last years conference fell exactly during that time. What relief! The socialising, the networking, the professional and social exchange was just what the doctor ordered. I had refuelled myself with enthusiasm, and regained faith in my profession and peers. It’s amazing what positive effects a short holiday surrounded by some like minded people can have on your mental well being. It was my first conference attendance, and I knew I wanted more. The 2010 ACAP conference followed, a short while later the WA trauma symposium. From zero to three conference attendances in less than six months.

This year I am becoming an active participant in the conferences; presenting a poster at the SPA conference and speaking at the PA conference. This has gnawed away at my time a little, which has impacted on my blogging – but don’t despair, myEMStrip2011 posts are in the pipeline, and will be released shortly.

Hope to see you at one of the conferences this year!