Contemplating life.

Registration Survey

For everyone in Australia, or planning to come to Australia: National Paramedic Registration is up and coming – have your input!

The survey:

The petition:

More information: for more information, visit the Paramedics Australasia website:

Branching out?

So far, this blog has overwhelmingly been focussed on paramedicine.

I have a number of thoughts rushing through my head, some possibly worthy of short online documentation and publication.

What would you, dear reader, prefer: Should this blog primarily be a blog on paramedicine, or would you accept if I dabbled a little off topic every now and again?

Please leave a comment below, or contact me via the contact form or twitter.

Thank you in advance for your feedback!

Naming Conventions

Recent misunderstandings and differences in opinion have reminded me of the multitude of names (and misnomers) applied to our line of work.

For clarification and standardisation, I am using the International Paramedic recommendations:

  • The Paramedic is the professional practitioner
  • A Paramedic Service is the provider of emergency medical services staffed by paramedics; and
  • Paramedicine is the discipline and the area of medical study and knowledge.

Source: International Paramedic. Initiation Document (2011), retrieved from

Approaching the shrine of evidence

or: I’ve come a fair distance, but have a long way to go.

Just because an idea is true doesn’t mean it can be proved. And just because an idea can be proved doesn’t mean it’s true. When the experiments are done, we still have to choose what to believe.

I recently embarked on postgraduate studies. My thirst for knowledge needed quenching, and my post-graduation emptiness needed filling; I was bored and suffering intellectual directionless. These issues have been rectified with a quite interesting Postgraduate Certificate in EMS leadership and Management.

But back to topic: I remember my first dabbles amongst paramedics…the spoken word of these people surrounding me was at first unintelligible blabber of latin and greek derived technical teminology, but with time and a dictionary, I cut through most of that. I had a basic understanding, and I was proud of myself.

Then came basic skills and principles of paramedicine: I was told about these many things that paramedics do, and I took them in as “that’s what paramedics do”. The occasional question was usually answered with some scientific based background knowledge that I did not possess, but sounded more than plausible.

In my mind, I could picture the shrine of evidence.

Then I got a copy of some clinical guidelines. Thoughts similar to “They must be right, the big people on the ambulance follow them, and I’m sure a lot of time and effort went in to writing them” went through my head.

From a distance, I could see the shrine of evidence.

Then I started studying paramedicine. I entered the beautiful world of evidence based practice. “It’s in a scientific journal, it must be right! They’re scientists after all!”. And along came large Randomized Control Trials. “The peak of trials! Truth! TRUTH!”

The shrine of evidence began to glisten. Polished marbled with golden words in capital letters sparkled from it. a truly majestic and intimidating sight. Upon it written in bold letter:

“Science is evidence is truth.”

Still not completely confident with the world though, more background knowledge on this whole topic was needed, and which is why I did not adopt the above statement.

I want to get closer to the shrine, but my sunglasses aren’t dark enough to ward off the sparkling and shining.

Then my lecturer recommended to read this.

Clouds pull up. The shrine has some ugly cracks in the foundation, and…wow, part of it is built on rotten wooden stilts!

A great read from “The New Yorker” Magazine, by Jonah Lehrer (December 13, 2010).

Read, ponder, and rethink your worlds. After all, we’re all only human.

Just because an idea is true doesn’t mean it can be proved. And just because an idea can be proved doesn’t mean it’s true. When the experiments are done, we still have to choose what to believe.

Hide and Seek

blog post by @skepticscalpel reminded me of a few conversations I have had with colleagues in the past: If you are at a social gathering with people you don’t know well, do you truthfully answer the question of your occupation and profession? I’ve heard answers including (but not limited to) taxi driver, delivery driver, logistics…some people make things up, whilst others state their previous profession if they had one. Or avoiding the question alltogether.

These people (generally) all love their job, and wouldn’t want to change it in the world…so why the fuss of covering up reality? Why not answer truthfully? Similar excuses than the original post; don’t want to answer medical questions. More relating to our line of work: Having to answer the typical “You must see some horrible things”, or “whats the worst you have ever seen?”.

I personally tell people the truth, rattle of my spiel about “the good outweighs the bad”, people are generally happy that they get to ask a few questions, and if they ask medical questions (hasn’t happened to me yet), I advise them to go to seek appropriate care.

At the end of the day it’s only our reputation that can improve with a friendly chat to your local paramedic – may as well share the best job in the world!

What do you do?

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.


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!