Posted on Nov 02, 2013

When in an emergency most people immediately call 911 paramedics services. We have been trained to do this with the expectation of receiving immediate and effective care. But is that always, or even usually received? Do you expect your paramedics personnel to be properly trained?

Reuters reports that paramedics’ services are often not properly trained. A new study asked paramedics workers whether they feel that they are properly trained in accordance with the tasks they are expected to complete. Surprisingly, many workers said they do not feel that they have received proper training.

Many paramedics workers said that they have to perform procedures that they have not even been trained to do. They also said that they are forced to use tools that they do not have proper guidance in using. This is disconcerting information for patients who need immediate care as well as society in general as we expect our emergency services personnel to be skilled and effective.

The study’s lead author was not surprised by the findings. He told Reuters, “By definition, critical care patients require the highest level of intensive skill and are at the greatest risk of death or chronic disability. It is not just a matter of correctly administering a drug dosage as ordered or adjusting the settings on the equipment as prescribed. The physiologic condition of critical patients deteriorates rapidly and correct assessments and interventions must be quickly performed. The new study should spark a discussion about paramedic training.”

While there are national criteria and guidelines by which paramedics personnel must be trained, the scope of the training is defined at the discretion of each state and that varies from state to state. Reuters reports, “But there are no standards for critical care paramedics who take very sick patients from one facility to another. Among paramedics who reported using neonatal incubators, 14 percent had received no training in their use. Likewise, between 11 and 12 percent of those who reported handling blood products, managing patients with chest tubes or using devices to measure pressure inside the skull were not trained to do so.”

The study’s author stated, “It is most troubling that critical care patients are transported by paramedic crews that have not been adequately trained to manage the patient conditions, and the medications that are being administered to the patient, and the equipment that is in use during the transports.”

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Gerry Oginski
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