Some things that I have found to be good practice in getting more comfortable with all aspects of being a paramedic. Through and through, the bottom of the line is to train in as realistic of circumstances as possible. Below is a small list of things that I tried to do during my practice sessions:
- Checks against the clock: When conducting the scenario, during the breathing and the circulation checks, deliver what you actually find. Provide information closer to what is expected. If it is a breathing check, have the patient mimic the rate and depth. For the pulse check, have someone verbalize each beat. Alternatively, you can deliver how many beats were detected in a 10 second period. Practicing this now will make it more natural when you need to do this in a truly stressful situation.
- Give your findings before you receive it. Rather than expecting a response, diagnose and report. I found ‘this’. If the person running the scenario has something that contradicts what you say, they will let you know. (Get used to calls with little prompting).
- Don’t look at the person running the scenario. Ever. Use this as an opportunity to train your ability to multi-task. In the sense of training your muscle memory, the best thing you can do, is to look at the tool you are asking about. If you are asking for the blood pressure, look at the cuff and the same idea with the SpO2.
- If it isn’t on you. You don’t have it. Typically, this isn’t a problem coming on scene, however practice leaving the scene as well. If you forgot your bags, you forgot them. If you have other tools on you, use them. If you have a flashlight, use it to check pupils. If you don’t have it, use an alternate method to assess. Faking this, by pretending your pen is a flashlight, trains you to go to your pen holder rather than where your actual light would be.
- Do everything from top to bottom. This includes from the meet and greet to loading the patient in the back, to sending your patch and reporting to the triage nurse. This will train you to take better notes on scene, either written or memorized. If you get stuck at a point, this will help you revert to a route of diagnostics to which you may have missed.
- If you lack the basic skills, such as applying the K.E.D. work on it outside of scenarios. Challenge yourself by doing it blind folded, or with the patient in complex positions.
- Give both positive and negative feedback. Learn as a group and be merciless. If it was a good call, the next one has to be stepped up. Keep challenging each other. If you have become good at your trauma call, it may to be time to work outside of the lab. Use actual stair wells, closets, washrooms and cars.
- The final and arguably most important. If it can be argued, prove it. Hit the books and show what is right. Do not grow an ‘ego’. Expect to be wrong. Expect to loose face over something minute. Expect to look bad. We are your friends. If we didn’t like you we wouldn’t tell you.
This is just a small set of ideas that can improve your training. If anyone has other ideas, I’d love to hear them so use the comments section below to leave your suggestions.