10 ePCR phrases paramedics use off-duty

What ePCR phrases or terms do you use to describe everyday events, injury or illness while you are off-duty?


It’s not the calls that get in your head; it’s the paperwork and requisite terminology that sticks in your brain. Leaving work at work and enjoying life at home while not thinking of work is not always as easy as it seems. Asking the lady at the drive-thru to "stand by" while you fish around for tip change or ending a cellphone conversation with a hearty "over and out" is one thing, and perfectly normal behavior during the ride home after a long shift. But correlating terminology normal and sane people reserved for our more colorful patients with our friends and family is quite another.

Every medic who has done thousands of patient care reports knows all too well how easy it is to categorize our patients for simplicity sake. Sometimes we get a little carried away at home as well. Here are 10 everyday incidents better described with EMS terminology.

10. Wedded bliss is not always smooth sailing. When the unfortunate argument occurs, do you consider the adversary (your spouse) a "combative male or female?"

Sometimes we get a little carried away at home. (Photo/Pixabay)
Sometimes we get a little carried away at home. (Photo/Pixabay)

9. When you need to lay down the law at home, set chore schedules, curfews and the like, do you think of your lovely teenage daughter as the person who needs boundaries, or has she become an "uncooperative juvenile?"

8. When your son, a normally bright and cooperative fellow misses a homework assignment or bombs a test, is it because he simply had a bad day or week, or has he become "non-compliant male?"

7. Things got a little out of hand at the company party; are you simply a person who had one or two too many, or do you consider yourself suffering from "impaired consciousness?"

6. You bang your head on that thing that you should have moved weeks ago. Do you immediately consider that woozy feeling as "possible LOC from a head injury," or do you rub your head where you bumped it and get back to whatever it was that you were doing?

5. Your 2-year-old trips and falls flat on her face in the driveway. Do you explain to your other half that the toddler tripped and has a bloody lip, or is it a "traumatic event resulting in a lower lip avulsion?"

4. You accidentally slam your girlfriend’s fingers in the car door. Do you say, "wow, that’s gonna leave a mark," or do you immediately go into medic mode and ask her to "rate your pain on a scale of 1-10?"

3. As a result of your pain assessment, do you run for cover, or reach for the radio that is not on your belt to request police backup for an "emotional female, possibly combative?"

2. When you have a million things to do but feel crummy and simply need a little couch time, do you tell your better half that you are tired, or that need to rest because you are "diaphoretic with an elevated heart rate and possible syncope?"

1. When you finish your yard work-garage cleaning-household repair list, do you declare to the family that you are "out of service for decon!" or do you simply hit the shower?

Answering in the affirmative with a good old “Roger that,” or saying “negative” instead of “no” is kind of charming, at least for a little while. Using words best left to describing the patients we encounter when referring to our friends and family loses its luster rather quickly. Continuing to communicate with loved ones the same way you would give a report to the people at the triage desk at the emergency room will inevitably lead you to become “out of service for repairs.”

Remember, how you say what you say at work should stay at work!

In the comments, share the ePCR phrases or terms you have used to describe everyday injury and illness while you are off-duty. 

About the author

Captain Michael Morse (ret.), mmorsepfd@aol.com, is the bestselling author of Rescuing Providence, Rescue 1 Responding, City Life and Mr. Wilson Makes it Home. Michael has been active in EMS since 1991 and offers his views on a variety of EMS and firefighting topics, focusing mainly on the interaction between patient and provider as a well respected columnist and speaker. Captain Morse is a Johnson/Macoll fellow in literature from the Rhode Island Foundation. Follow Michael on Twitter and Facebook

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