I’m so sick of hearing this phrase. If I could banish any phrase from the EMS lexicon this would most certainly be the one. I heard it today when I posted a question on Twitter, “How much do you really know about ACE inhibitors?” I asked. The first reader reply, “Not much since I’m only an EMT Basic.” Ouch. I get stomach pains when I hear that.
I want to make a bonfire out of all the worthless phrases in our vocabulary and throw, “I’m only a …” right on top.
Since when was an understanding of out patients medications an advanced skill? Since when is medical knowledge of any kind an advanced skill?
Somewhere along the way we started giving EMT Basics the idea that anything that isn’t contained in their EMT textbook is somehow beyond them. It’s patronizing. “Here you go little EMT dude, here’s the basics. Don’t move on to anything more complicated, you could hurt yourself.” That’s just ridiculous.
Someone should have put that EMT textbook in that students hands and said, “Here it is, the most important 70% of EMS knowledge. Here’s the stuff that’s so damn important we need everyone to master it. There will be plenty of time later to jump into all the other stuff. Let’s get the essentials down first.” Instead, we have a bunch of EMT’s out there with the world of medical knowledge at their fingertips and they’re afraid it’s somehow beyond them. Bagh!
“I had one EMT tell me that lung sounds were not in her scope of practice. I’m serious. She was worried someone might charge her with malpractice if she placed a stethoscope on someone’s chest and asked them to breath deep. I’m not making that up…lung sounds.
As if basic patient assessment somehow fell outside of the basic EMT procedures. I tried to explain that basic patient assessment WAS the EMT scope of practice. No self respecting EMT should feel outclassed by a paramedic when it come to head-to-toe patient assessment, vital signs, lung sounds, neurological assessment and the use of OPA’s, NPA’s and a BVM. These things are the EMT’s bread and butter. They are your domain.
Don’t ever let anyone try to tell you a basic patient assessment is beyond your scope of practice. Don’t ever let anyone tell you an area of medical knowledge is beyond your understanding. Don’t let anyone put you in a box. Your knowledge and skills are too important for that.
What do you think?: Have you ever been told something basic was outside your scope or beyond your understanding. have you ever done it to yourself?
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