Back to the ABCs

As a new paramedic, there are a lot of sources of stress: information overload, emotions, nervousness, and precepting as a credentialed paramedic are just the tip of the iceberg — and that’s before you even clock into work! So, how do you manage all of those elements and still successfully treat your patient?

The key is to remember these simple guidelines:

  • BLS before ALS: Remember, the basics are the foundation for everything else. What do we call a perfectly packaged trauma patient — complete with multiple IVs, bandaging, splinting, C-spine precautions — who ultimately died from mismanagement of the BLS airway? A really pretty dead person.

    Try answering these questions when treating a patient: Is the airway secure? Are they breathing adequately and being oxygenated effectively? How is their circulation system.

  • Patient assessment: The cornerstone of a great paramedic is not the “cool” things we do — it’s the ability to provide consistent, solid patient exam. After all, we can all do the same skills; the importance lies in the basics every time.

So, when you're feeling frustrated, just remember to start with your ABCs and a thorough exam.

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