Smarter Assessments

Sunday night I had the opportunity to discuss one of my favorite topics on EMS Office Hours, patient assessment.  During the show Jim and Josh mentioned Greg Friese’s EMS1 column about applying non-linear approach to assessment.  The next day I read the first part of Dan Limmer’s series about thinking and intuition on his blog, EMT Review.

One thing that I teach about assessments, and try to do myself, is to pretend that every is about to stop breathing, and that each question will be the last one you get to ask.  This gets students to think about what information is most important, and practicing with stable patients makes it easier to do with unstable ones.

This is one reason it is such an exciting time to be in EMS.  We’re moving past the same mechanized, mnemonic -driven assessments for every patient and towards ones specific to their complaints.  We’re starting to really teach critical thinking, and I look forward to reading more about what Greg and Dan have to say about this.

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