Airway, breathing, Circulation…

This post will reveal just how new at my job I am… There are currently two ways of joining the LAS, one way is through a university course in paramedic science, the other is via the LAS training school. I chose the latter as I’m not great with formal study, I’m much happier learning by doing. Once you’ve done the formal classroom training you are released onto the road as a trainee, to all intents and purposes you are an ambulance person but the person you’re working with takes overall responsibility if it all goes wrong, and once every 3 months one of our guvnors comes and watches what you do to make sure you’re ok. After a year like this you take another big written exam and have one last rideout – if you pass you become an EMT 3 and can have trainee’s out with you. I’m coming up to this landmark now, and I’ll be honest it scares the poo out of me! As I’ve mentioned I tend to attract medical emergencies or jobs which don’t *really* require an ambulance, which leaves me with a problem… I’ve not seen any real trauma. And while I’m in no big rush for it (’cause it means someone’s really unwell) I would like to see some while I have an experienced ambo bod stood behind me to call in if I can’t deal with the situation. I mentioned my fears to one of my team leaders and he gave me a super piece of advice… he said,
“you go to your first person under a train with a trainee on their first day on the road – what do you do?”
This made me think – it was like a test – after a couple of seconds the answer became clear and I replied,
“safety – make sure the power’s off, Airway, C-Spine, Breathing, Circulation”

It was the right answer. But still, I like the fact that at the moment I have someone who’s experienced making sure I don’t mess up! I try and learn as much as I can from each person I work with, and they’re a good bunch of lads and lasses and are happy to explain and teach, given a choice I’d get my first *real* job under my belt now… but we don’t get choices in this job so I guess I’ll be picking up drunks again this weekend!

Valuable lessons I have learnt so far include but are not limited to –
see everything, hear everything, say nothing
be assertive and in control at all times
treat everyone like I’d want my family treated (unless they’re trying to punch/kick/bite/stab or shoot me)
and never be afraid to ask for help or advice
oh and never be afraid to make tea (although I probably won’t get to finish it!)

I don’t think I’ll ever stop learning… or making tea, and that’s why I love it!

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~ by Laura on February 16, 2007.

4 Responses to “Airway, breathing, Circulation…”

  1. thats funny as i was out in the bad weather with a new AA2 ( yes im a johnie, please no rotten food) backing up county ambulance. the usual jobs where done, doctor transfer, drunk fallen over, etc. then we got a female feeling unwell, fainted. on the way we were told it was a stopped breathing, when i we got there and i check her i thought “oh s**t” and started cpr, to the audible gub of the new AA2. This was the first time i have done cpr for real. i look up to see she has gone, as im thinking she done a runner she returns with BVM and a time for paramedic back up. after the working on the CPR case with the tim (the para) a run to hospital, she was called as dead by crash team.

    if you keep your head, the trainee will keep theirs.

  2. Have to agree with Dave M above, hopefully all your trainees will have a level head on them and know what to do whilst you get stuck in.

    Remember when you first came out on the road? How nervous were you? They’ll be the same – sometimes I find it helps to have a little run through what they expect of you and from you and vice versa. Do this at the the start of a shift and it helps set both of your ground rules for going forward. Also – have a little conflab on the way to a job, what you think you’ll be needing if you’re attending or what they might want if they are.

    As far as I know, EVERY….that is EVERY AS has it’s jinxes – that is, staff that attract the most serious jobs – Trauma Magnets if you like – stabbings, shootings, serious RTA entrapments, walls falling on people, jumpers, ped vs car, truck, train. Can you ask if you can work with them for a while?

    On the morning of my second In Service Assessment whilst a trainee, I awoke with a migraine and had to call in sick. Bummer!! It turns out that the EPD Tutor taking the assessment and my colleague who would have been with us (another trainee off the same course) had the all time perfect assessment serious trauma and medical job. Tanker lorry driver had an MI at the wheel, running another car off the road, causing driver entrapment AND a chemical spillage to boot. Perfect – and me at home with my head under a pillow!! Ar*e!

    Waffling on a bit, no long after I qualified, I was attending for “man vs. tram” – an entrapment. I was with a paramedic and we had a medic on scene as well as an officer. I was lucky – they all let me do my thing and take charge of the situation and ‘boss’ the fire crews about. It was a good job that went pretty much by the book and I was pleased at the outcome. There was only one downside – the medic had a bunch of fluids and drugs drawn up and ready for extraction time, someone had to cannulate!! Not a skill the EMTs in the West Midlands have, therefore down to my para. Hence forth, she then takes responsibility from the moment that needle goes in.

    Ho hum. Such is life. Relax. Get someone to run through some of their traumas and see what you’d do. At the end of the day, ABCs always win out if you do nothing else.

    Good luck for you soon to be qualified. We ALWAYS get stuck with a trainee right after qualification, I’m sure it must be the same for you guys and girls.

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