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Incomplete Treatment Education Makes EMS Look Unprepared

Incomplete Treatment Education Makes EMS Look Unprepared

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By Allison G. S. Knox
Contributor, EDM Digest

Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics learn many aspects of emergency management so they can better respond to emergencies.

They train regularly for the various medical, traumatic and psychiatric emergencies they could face responding to 911 calls. These chores are part of a larger risk management operation in which Emergency Management Services leaders determine what to train their staffs for, based on the number of calls for that specific emergency.

While risk management is an important component of emergency management at any level, it also means that in some cases EMTs and paramedics might be trained to provide medical treatment only in situations that have a higher probability of occurring. As a result, EMTs and paramedics look unprofessional and unprepared to their patients if they haven’t had training on rarely occurring events.

Risk Management and Medical Treatment

Risk management involves emergency managers reviewing the statistics of the various types of emergencies they might encounter. Based on this information, they will train their personnel on those issues. The training usually works well, but it doesn't account for some unusual or rare incidents that could have major consequences if they are not managed properly.

Obscure Medical Issues Do Occur

Some EMTs and paramedics will be honest about their lack of knowledge. Despite the honesty, patients and their family members could question whether they are actually getting good medical care. However, it is difficult to know all the various medical issues that could arise with a patient.

Professionalism Requires Clear Communication with Hospital Staff

When EMTs and paramedics come across a rare medical problem, they should tell the medical staff at the admitting hospital what the problem appears to be and ask the patient or family members for specific symptoms. This will help to narrow the possible causes of the problem, rather than creating more questions for the attending medical staff.

That’s a good reason why EMS agencies should conduct training sessions on obscure medical issues as well as the more common emergencies. Such training would give EMTs and paramedics a general understanding of some of the infrequent medical issues they might face. That would enhance their overall professionalism when dealing with patients in their ambulance.

Allison G. S. Knox Passionate about the issues affecting ambulances and disaster management, Allison focuses on Emergency Management and Emergency Medical Services policy. Allison has taught at the undergraduate level since 2010. Prior to teaching, she worked in a level-one trauma center emergency department and for a member of congress in Washington, D.C. She holds four Master’s degrees in Emergency Management, National Security Studies, International Relations, History, a Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. She is also trained in Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue, is an Emergency Medical Technician, Lifeguard and a Lifeguard Instructor. She serves on the Board of Trustees for Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society, Vice Chair of the Tactical Emergency Medical Support Committee with the International Public Safety Association, the Advocacy Committee with the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians and also serves as the Advocacy Coordinator of Virginia for the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians.