Credibility and Redundancy

I’m going to make an important point and I need you to pay attention. That sentence, the one I just wrote. The one about saying something important. That was a redundant statement. And it undermined your sense of my credibility as a blogger and an EMS educator. No really, it did.

Not in a huge way. Not like if I had said something that you knew to be completely false, or got all wishy-washy, namby-pamby about some critical issue regarding your patient care. But it made you doubt my sincerity just a little. Somewhere in your subconscious you thought, “If it’s important, why not just say it?” You questioned why I felt the need to preface my important thought with a statement declaring my own thought important.

It’s as if I doubted my own credibility.

So why shouldn’t you doubt it too.


Truly important thoughts stand on their own credibility.

We do this to ourselves all the time. We don’t mean to, but we compromise the patients trust in our ability, our knowledge and our sincerity but making statements that serve no purpose. They are little red flags that we doubt our on sincerity.

Have you ever said any of these terminally redundant statements?

Trust us.

Don’t worry.

This is the honest truth.

Listen to me.

I’m going to tell you how it is.

I promise.

It’s OK.

Me too, it’s almost impossible to avoid. Best case, they waste time. Worst case, they undermine the patients trust in our ability or our credibility.

If the patient can trust you, there’s no need to say it. Just be trustworthy. If it really is OK, say why. If you’re going to tell people how it really is, just tell them. No need to request a listening ear, just look the patient in the eye and speak. If you have information that would decrease the patients worry, offer it, or be silent.

You can’t impart calm or trust or confidence or attention by requesting it. Those things are a matter of who you are and how you are and nothing else. I could give another example but I fear it would be redundant.

Now it’s your turn: Do you have a habitual redundant phrase that you just can’t live without?

More Awesomeness:

How to Set-Up an IV Line – Firefighter Style

What Is Ketosis Anyway?

Wrong Medicine

The Art of The Pulse Check

Six Techniques to Nail The IV Every Time


  1. “It goes without saying….” That one really annoys me.

  2. I’m a brand-new (not technically certified yet) EMT, and every article you write gives me that exciting, i-have-to-remember-this, there’s-so-much-to-do, how-will-i-ever-get-good-at-this feeling.
    I appreciate everything this blog has taught me, and I appreciate that feeling – it means I really am trying, and I’m going to keep trying. Every call i’m getting more comfortable, and I own it to this blog that I don’t think I’ll ever get too comfortable. Thanks for the resources to help me get good now, and keep me working toward getting better later.

  3. Steve Whitehead says:

    @Jamie Oh yeah. good one.

    @AJ Hey thanks Aj. It’s nice of you to say that. You are exactly why I write this thing. Thanks for reading.


  1. […] The premier of The Chronicles of EMS was the coolest thing is the blogging world. And we explored credibility and redundancy before launching into two posts on hypothermia. (Specifically how to assess it and how to treat […]