Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Sunday, March 6, 2011
This blog started out as one thing, and has somehow morphed into something else.
It is time to separate things out a little. Even while noticing how very connected they are.
For now, I'll leave this here, for anyone who wants to read back through the archives- including myself.
Most of the fencing-related and teaching-related stuff will appear on our new collaborative blog, The Swordmaster's Grimoire.
The EMS stuff will be on my new, actually-an-EMS-Blog blog, The Lonely EMT.
So whichever of those you are interested in, now you know where to go.
I don't know yet if I'll end up continuing this blog or not. There might be some things that don't really belong on either of the other two, but I don't know yet. I'll know if and when it happens. I kind of expect that it will.
Monday, February 28, 2011
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Sunday, February 20, 2011
On the one hand, I'm researching and working on writing my fencing master's thesis. That's a lot of reading. And a lot of writing. Teaching classes, and otherwise focusing and refocusing on the whole fencing thing. Writing for the new blog. Working on my own training. It's good.
On the other hand, I'm excited about going to EMS Today. Enthusiastic about the opportunity to learn some stuff, get some decent training, and network. Making preparations for applying to the local ambulance company, where I've wanted to work since my first ride along. Looking forward to getting more into the whole EMS thing once I get my youngest a little older, so I can work long hours without feeling like I'm being negligent.
Seems like two totally separate things, pulling me in different directions.
But it isn't.
There is a lot of overlap.
One big area of overlap is something I've been thinking about a lot lately.
It's more than just "customer service."
Something fencing and EMS have in common in a HUGE way is the necessity to be able to create rapport. To connect with the student/patient in a very personal, immediate way, without distracting from the technical things you must also be able to do.
Knowing how to get my student to focus where I want him/her to focus, and to stay connected with me, is a HUGE help in being able to help my patient focus where he/she needs to focus, whether it's on something like his/her breathing rate, or something- anything- other than what is happening around him/her in a crisis.
Being able to give a technical lesson, and perform the skills I need to perform, while giving constant verbal and non-verbal feedback to my student, is a huge help in being able to treat my patient AND keep communicating.
Knowing how to use my voice to keep my student focused is very much like using my voice to calm my patient.
Maybe my personality isn't as split as I thought.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Thursday, February 10, 2011
My daughter has lived with us EMTs a few years now, and is reaching the age where she can take the class and join us. She has been riding with the rescue for the last year and a half, and has been very helpful there, fetching and carrying, etc. Now that she is getting ready to become certified herself, she has started paying more attention to the patient care.
We typically use the time on the way to the scene to go over our plans on arrival, and to remind ourselves of any pertinent information we may have about a patient's medical conditions, or any special needs. If appropriate, we review any intervention we might need, etc. Sometimes, we are close to the scene and don't have a lot of time. Sometimes, there isn't anything in particular that we need to review.
The other day, we were on our way to a reported accident with no injuries, expected to be a sign-off. The proverbial "wants to be checked out." It happened that the call was on the far end of town, so we would have a longer drive than usual. Plenty of time to go over whatever we wanted to go over, but little that we really needed to review for that particular situation. Basics. Scene safety. BSI.
But because my daughter was with us, and had been talking about starting her EMT class, I decided to go over trauma assessment. From the beginning. By the numbers. In addition to scene safety and BSI, mechanism of injury, number of patients, need for resources, spinal stabilization, general impression, level of consciousness and etc, on down the line. An excellent exercise, one found around the house every day. Literally, at our house, but I digress...
We arrived on scene to what turned out to be a two car accident.
We all know how accurate dispatch can be.
But true to what we had been told, there were no real injuries, just a little redness from an airbag. No problem. It's all good. Just hanging out, waiting for the wrecker. A relatively pleasant call, albeit in unpleasant weather.
Ever have one of those days where suddenly, everything changes?
Not far up the road, a sudden collision (is there any other kind?).
As in "What is that in the road? How did it get there? It doesn't look like anything I've ever seen before. Oh, shit. That must be a car."
Called for more resources.
Good thing trauma assessment was so fresh in our minds.
I had never seen a car in that condition before. It was literally ripped apart.
I was sure there would be fatalities.
It was nothing short of a miracle.
Great teamwork all around.
Patients extricated and packaged in an unbelievably short amount of time.
And my daughter?
An impeccable job, staging gear and assisting us.
Kept her head in a very stressful situation.
She's going to be a great EMT.
I'm sure of it.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Went over to the Fire Academy last week to return a book to the library.
The librarian- who is the best librarian I've ever met- pointed me towards some books that she just got in, from another library that closed.
I found several that looked interesting, but only brought one of them home, since my reading time is somewhat limited.
Turns out that the one I brought home was of enough interest that I started looking to buy a copy.
Ended up also ordering the other two I had looked at, and some others I found online. I'm on a roll.
Here's the thing.
The fire department I'm in offers no EMS training at all. None. I think they think they do, but they don't know enough about training to realize that what they are doing isn't training, at all.
A prime example occurred just this week.
The scheduled training was for the EMS Director to give a presentation on cold weather emergencies. He has no training to teach, at all. (I could write a whole post about that.) His "presentations" are last minute rambling about some subject, with little to no preparation.
But if that isn't bad enough, what actually happened is that he didn't show up.
He handed on old EMT textbook to another person, who also has no training to teach, and told him to "cover this."
So that person read from the old textbook.
And that is what happens when they even attempt to provide training. Often, it just gets canceled.
For a long time, I felt some sympathy for both of these people, who are being asked and expected to do something for which they have no training, and less skill. They do "the best they can." But the longer this goes on, the more I realize that it is their responsibility to step up and say "I do not have the training or ability to do this; let's bring in someone who does." And they don't. I don't know whether they are embarrassed to admit they can't do it, or whether they don't realize they can't. Either way, it's bad.
And this isn't good enough. Not even close.
So after three or four years of this, now that I have SOME experience, as little as it is, rather than NO experience, I'm doing the only thing I can reasonably do.
I'm finding training opportunities elsewhere, as much as I can, and I'm organizing training for myself and the other EMTs, without relying on the fire company to do so. I have years of teaching experience, and training people is what I do. Shifting those abilities over to include EMS is inevitable, although I didn't intend to be forced to do so this early. I won't be attempting to teach new skills; that is beyond what I can claim to be able to do. But I can run drills, and I can go through scenarios, and we all can learn a lot from a wide variety of sources.
Why am I mentioning this?
These books I've started accumulating are mostly EMS education books.
Some, clearly designed to be used as such, and others, perhaps written more for sharing experiences, rather than outright teaching, but they can also be used to great benefit.
As I read through them, I'll share here what I find interesting and/or educational.
It might be medical information that I didn't know.
Or it might be about teaching, itself, more than about EMS, in particular.
I would also welcome recommendations for resources other people have found useful, both on the EMS front, and about teaching.