Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Once again, here I am, not having written in approximately forever.

I haven't had writer's block, exactly.
It's not that I haven't had anything to say.
It's a combination of things which include being very demotivated in some ways.

I've decided to participate in NaBloPoMo to see if it helps me get back into frequent posting. Hopefully (for me, and for anyone who happens to read this) it won't end up being a bunch of hastily written, uninteresting posts. Like this one. Oops.

We don't have enough call volume out here to make it reasonable to post about an incident every day. Still, I'd like to give people some idea of what it's like in my little EMS life.

That means I'll talk a lot about training. :-)

Latest interesting training tidbit:

We went down to Reading, PA to a 2-day event hosted by Reading Hospital.  Apparently they do this every year, and I definitely plan to make attending a habit.  For one thing, they host Bob Page, who is one of the most dynamic presenters I've seen in the EMS world. For another- it's free.  Yes. Two days, excellent presentations, no cost (other than the hotel- which was also very reasonably priced). They even fed us breakfast and an excellent lunch the day I was there.

We only attended the second day of the program, for four sessions. Two of which I had been actively looking for since seeing Bob at EMSToday in Baltimore last March.

One was a shorter version of his full "Slap the Cap" presentation. I'd still love to do the full 4-hour version, but this one provided something I very much needed.  My agency has been dragging their feet in this. They argue that we don't "need capnography" because it's just for intubation, and we rarely have an opportunity to intubate out here, with automatic ALS back-up. I've tried to explain other uses, but they don't listen to me. This workshop at least gave me written materials to give them. Not to mention, a better understanding for myself.

The second that I had been looking for was his "Stethoscopy for Dummies" class. He had mentioned it during the "How Vital are Vital Signs" session at EMSToday. He rightly pointed out that while everyone in EMS has a stethoscope, or access to one to use, what actual training is provided on how to use it?  The best part of this sessions was that we were able to listen to actual lung sounds and learn to distinguish between different sounds and what they mean. Much better than being given a one-word description ("rales"), perhaps an instructor's imitation of the sound,  and then being expected to be able to translate that to an actual situation.

In order to listen to various sounds, we used these cool sounders, made for this very purpose. They connect to any sound output (like the headphone jack on your laptop or iPod).  You can get a wide variety of sounds to listen to, some for free online, or you can buy them. You can find the one we used here, and that page also lists some of the sounds and other training materials that are available. The sounder itself is $45, which is a reasonable price, especially if you have a group of people who will practice with it.

Another of the four sessions we attended was "Zapped," which was about managing the patient with an AICD.  He told us that the idea for the class came from attending a support group meeting at a hospital, for patients with pacemakers and defibrillators, and asking them what they wanted EMS to know. They replied "make them stop looking like a deer in headlights."  It went over the devices, how they work, and what kinds of things can happen if they fail. It was a good class for someone with little knowledge of the devices, but I happen to know a fair amount about them, so it wasn't a critical need for me.

The fourth class was "What's Up With This?" a brief tour through some of the things EMS does without much (or any) scientific reasoning.

Overall, it was a productive day.  Well worth the drive. I'm looking forward to seeing what they offer next year.

You can find Bob's schedule on his website, to see if he is bringing any of his classes near you.
Starting tomorrow, Nov 2nd, he will be at the New Jersey EMS Summit and if you can get there, I recommend it. I'd also recommend getting him to come to where you are, but I think there is a significant wait time, due to his busy schedule. Still, check it out and see if it might work out.  He has a long list of topics he offers, ranging from very basic things to more advanced.

1 comment:

  1. OK, I am caught up, now I'll try to keep up. Happy Thanksgiving and I am really pleased you are writing again. Maybe I'll think about doing the same.