Did anyone else play a sport (or sports) in high school? I did, actually I played football for a few years. I was on the line, which in my small high school meant that I played every position on the line, both offense and defense, because there just weren’t that many kids out there to play. My graduating class was 83 in my small, small town.
I didn’t touch the ball though. Coach told me just to go out there and hit people. I haven’t touched a football since.
Every day after school we went out there no matter rain, shine, snow, heat, or better things to do and practiced for three hours every night. We did this all season and I hated it. It sucked and sucked bad. However, it did make me a much better football player. It kept my mind focused and kept me in shape. I was a much better “Go out there and hit people” guy than I would have been had I just taken a football class and then played parts of the game every day.
Does anybody do this with EMS? Sure, we all do Continuing Education, but do we really practice as hard as we should as much as we should?
We play parts of the game every day but just as sure as I didn’t intercept a pass and run in a touchdown every game, I don’t perform a pericardiocentesis every shift. I can plink in an IV in my sleep (and do… a lot…) and I probably can treat a STEMI as good as the next guy. Playing the parts of the game that we do more often than the others gets us good practice on what we do most often, and if we don’t allow ourselves to get complacent, that’s just fine. However, how many times have you calculated a dopamine drip lately? Even if you live in the busiest, most dopamine swillingest jurisdiction on the planet you’ve still interpreted Normal Sinus Rhythm a lot more than you’ve shown off your math chops.
The other day I missed a tube. I was caring for a patient who crashed in front of me while heading to the ER. The Pt went from CAOx3 to very obtunded in a matter of a minute or two. The first time I went to tube, (the Pt) was clenched and by the time I got the etomidate ready we were close enough to the hospital that bagging was my best option. When the Pt got sux and sedate juice in the ER I tried again…. and missed.
I freakin hate that! Man, I never miss a tube! At least almost never. I hate it when I do and beat myself up about it. Probably more hard than I should, but that’s just me. I take this stuff seriously if you can tell. The next shift I spent an hour playing with our two intubation dummies and our “Fred the head”. I tubed over and over again every way I could think of. For an hour. Yes, I know that it’s not exactly like the real thing, but it was all that I had access to for practice.
Something cool happened right after I got done with my hour long tubing pennance. I sat down for lunch and immediately got toned out to intercept a code with CPR in progress. I pointed my SUV towards the rural address and hit the gas. When I got on scene, the BLS crew told me over the radio that they were having difficulty with the airway. I walked in, and got the most beautiful tube that I think that I’ve ever gotten. Right in, right through, and right hole.
I think that my football coach would have been proud.