Why being a paramedic is like being Inspector Morse

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Sheila Mithard 500 300dpiAll of the small business first aid trainers at First Response are either practising paramedics, or were paramedics before they joined the training profession. But did you know they also have the same inquisitive qualities as an investigative policeman?

Their skills, knowledge and 'real' experience are all vital for delivering practical training for when faced with a medical emergency that requires quick first aid thinking.


First on the scene

Often first to arrive, the paramedic needs to assess the situation quickly. The more information they get up-front will better aid a fast diagnosis and accurate treatment. This information will also prove invaluable to the next medical team treating the patient, which could be the doctors and nurses at an onward hospital, or other care facility.


Collects evidence

Like a detective, the paramedic needs to listen, look and think carefully before making any deductions.
• They listen to witnesses and anyone standing by.
• They talk to the patient to see if the stories add-up.
• They look around the scene for extra clues.


What onlookers, or even the patient themselves saw, or thought they saw, may in fact be different to what actually happened. During stressful situations facts get blurred; minutes can seem like hours and the time and order of events can get confused. Paramedics know the questions to ask to get to the facts.


Looks for clues

Accurate facts and a true understanding the actual sequence of events could be critical to the paramedic deciding what to do next. From the accounts and evidence the paramedic gains, they start to form a picture of events, while at the same time deducing the patient's medical status.


Where were they at the time of the event? What time did it happen? What were they doing? Were they alone? Were they eating or drinking anything? Are they allergic? Have they a pacemaker? Are they diabetic? Are they on medication?


It's also not just the people that can inform the paramedic. The lie of the land, the weather conditions, even the objects around the scene could all have played a part in the incident. The Paramedic puts the pieces together and tries to disregard inaccuracies along the way.


Writes-up reports and eats donuts

Yes, paramedics have also been known to eat the odd donut or two. Not that that's what we're saying detectives do too, but taking accurate notes like a detective is best practice for recording the event and informing the next medical team as already mentioned.


So, the paramedic's calm, reassuring, inquisitive and detective-like nature that all contributes to the right outcome for the patient – proper treatment and, ultimate, full recovery.


And finally, if you find yourself in a medical emergency and want to help, staying calm and thinking like a detective is a good start. Better still having some basic first aid training is also useful – such as knowing how to put someone in the Recovery Position, or giving CPR. Watch Staying Alive video here.


You might also be interested in:
• A-Z ARTICLE: Defibrillation
• BLOG: 'Should I call an ambulance?'


If you would like to know more about first aid training, please get in touch.



Last modified on Friday, 11 October 2019
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Sheila Mitchard

Sheila Mitchard DET IQA MSET - Training & Development

Paramedic. Phlebotomist. PTLLS/CTLLS. South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust. Member of the Society for Education and Training.

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