Sunday, June 29, 2008

NSR Week 2

Welcome to Normal Sinus Rhythm! This week, we've posed the topic of relationships of EMS with others for our writers to consider in their posts. Posted with each link is an excerpt of the original post; head over there and leave a comment if you have the time!

If there is a theme you would like to see in a future NSR, leave a comment here or send an email to We would really appreciate input on this project!

Peter brings us Countless Many.
My EMT friend takes great delight in passive aggressively blocking a hallway to transfer a patient from the stretcher to the newly found ED bed. He sets the transfer up so that there is only the narrowest passage for a person to get through, but like a miniature golf windmill whenever a nurse tries to get by, a slight adjustment in body position or stretcher and the passage is blocked. If the nurse says excuse me, I need to get through, he'll smile and ask her to help with the patient's legs. If a doctor needs to pass, he'll courteously point out to the doctor that passage can be effected by a quick short cut through the soiled laundry room that opens just around the corner.

Next, we have a story of Relationships In EMS from Witness
Laura was not your typical college sophmore. She was a bookworm, and studied hard - too hard, almost. She got good grades, of course, but there was always a repressed side of her that wanted to be one of the wilder girls. Perhaps it was her apparent innocence that originally attracted me to her, or maybe her intelligence, or perhaps it was just that she was pretty, but she was a fun person to be with.

Lucid tells us who The Real Heroes are.
Although a music industry studies major with absolutely no interest in science or medicine, he pretended to be interested when I selfishly recounted my passionate interest in the pathophysiology of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and commotio cordis.

CrzeGrl writes about impressions in The C Team and Impressions: Medic and Nurse
Here I am, transporting a ATV + ETOH = trauma and I have to interact with two separate EMS crews, ride in their ambulances with my equipment and have to function. It is a bit like a duck out of water.

So, during my patient transport, the part of my brain not involved in what I was doing, was thinking about the post I wanted to write regarding the interaction between EMTs and Nurses. I was able to remove myself and see the impressions they were leaving me and I was leaving them.

Verrrrrrrry interesting.

Epi reminds us that They Don't Want to Know.
“So, Epi... How's work going?”

My family is sitting around the dining room table. The chatter has stopped as they wait with baited breath. My one drunk Aunt even sets her wine glass down.

Sam ponders the plausibility of EMS Couples
I have three jobs. I get paid for two of them, but I have three jobs. I'm a private transport EMT, I'm an ER tech, and I'm a 911 EMT. At the present time in my life, I am surrounded by more EMS providers than I am anyone else. It's a blessing: EMS workers understand each other better than most, and our sick senses of humor keep me incredibly entertained. It's a curse: I'm a nineteen year old college girl; I date.

In his post Nearly Silent Respirations, Rogue Medic discusses the difference between the care given by hospice and EMS workers.
Few things are as frustrating as dealing with other health care providers who do not see things the same way we do. One area where we are especially short sighted in EMS is in dealing with hospice patients and their care givers. The misunderstandings are similar to those between the doctors and nurses in the hospital on the one side and EMS on the other. We have little, if any, training in dealing with hospice patients.

And finally, Gertrude brings us Profesionalism, Medic X, and ED Relations.
I have heard people talk about ED staff who “ hate medics, don’t care or don’t listen.” I have even seen it in action. Many EMS providers feel the same way about doctors, nurses and techs. This attitude has the potential to damage interpersonal relationships with the ED staff and more importantly interfere with our patient care.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

NSR Week 1

Welcome to Normal Sinus Rhythm, week 1 of what we hope to be many more. In this post you will find links to several blog entries by EMS bloggers from all over. Included are snippits of the original post, so head on over to the original entries and leave a comment if you have the time!

Gertrude writes about The Job.
People always want to know what the worst thing I have ever seen is. It is a question people in this business get everyday. The public has a romanticized vision of the life of a medic. They also have a morbid curiosity about other peoples lives. I never tell them the worst things I have ever seen. They wouldn’t understand and I don't want to field the questions.

Sam tells a story this week of Tongues.
Sitting next to her on the bench seat, I watch her tongue. It flaps pathetically in her mouth, trying to remember the form it should take, but failing. It flickers up and down like a tiny flame in the breeze. I get lost in its movements, willing it to take shape and tell me she's okay, that it was all just a big joke, that she could run a marathon now.

Stretcher Jockey writes about Apathy In EMS.
By my observation,the degree of apathy these days amongst my fellow EMT's and Paramedics seems to be growing at an alarming rate. I can't pinpoint an exact time frame of when this first started, but I can say, however, that this attitude of indifference has definitely become more prevalent over the last few years. I've tried to correlate this with some major event or change within EMS, but I can't. It has the feel of a cancer that has been growing silently within us, metastasizing while we sat idly by. We ignored all of the early signs and symptoms, hoping that they would just resolve on their own without any interventions - we have been in denial.

Rogue Medic shares his thoughts with us on Needle Stick Regrets.
The protocol can be your friend, when it is well written. Most of all, the protocol is supposed to be the patient's friend. Somebody needs to change this protocol. This is not easy to do in most places. It is not fast, but it can be done. One way is to go to the protocol committee and sit in on meetings, if it is permitted. Talk to the doctors who are most open minded about good patient care. Present them with research supporting the change you are attempting to bring about. Pay attention to the response. Learn from it. Come back with more research and a possibly modified plan. Doctors tend not to respond to the, "In such and such place, they are doing this," approach.

Epi teaches us a Basic Lesson.
Without warning the taillights I've been watching disappear. I'm now seeing the headlights. Without warning the car goes off the road and into the trees of Suburbia State Park.

Peter shares, an anecdote about online ordering.
We're called for a woman unconscious. I recognize the address. We have been there many times before. Two sisters. Extremely co-dependent on each other. The younger sister has chronic pain and is a known drug seeker. The older sister is just plain crazy.

And finally, Witness explains "Why I Do This".
Annie's face was beginning to match her red hair. My medic partner grabs his scope and takes a listen to her lungs while I set up a nebulizer treatment. The pulse oximeter the FD has helpfully attached is showing 94% saturation... enough to be concerned with. Vitals are all a little elevated. Mom says she wants to go to Pretty Important City Trauma and Children's Hospital - a 30 minute haul. My partner says alright, but I can tell he's thinking perhaps the closest hospital would be best. I know he'll tell me if we need to divert.