Making a Great EMS Even Better

When it comes to severe heart attack pre-hospital care, the American Heart Association rates Cypress Creek EMS among the 19 best in Texas. In addition, CCEMS is the only agency to receive AHA Gold Status on the Texas Gulf Coast.

But what about skills that aren’t used as often? And, which ones need the most attention in continuing education (CE) classes? That used to be a bit of a guessing game for the clinical staff, but now they are putting their theories to the test by running our medics through various scenarios in what’s being called Core Competency Evaluations.

Core Competency Evals 022No individuals or teams are graded. There’s no pass or fail. There’s just the discovery of which skills need some improvement system-wide and will be the focus of future continuing education.

For instance, the Cypress Creek EMS clinical staff thought that pediatric skills could be improved upon since most of our patients are adults.

Core Competency Evals 019In many cases, there is specific equipment for children. Doses must be carefully deduced based on weight and that involves math on the fly, under pressure. At the same time you have to deal with worried parents and keep them and their child as calm as possible. It goes beyond medicine. There’s a lot of problem solving and critical thinking involved.
The medic’s stretcher-side-manner matters, such as explaining what  you are doing to a worried parent.

Core Competency Evals 023For instance, sing an EZ-IO to place an IV in the bone of a leg is not unusual in EMS. It’s a life-saving measure when veins are so constricted that you can’t find one with an IV needle.

But, what’s normal for medics is unusual for the worried parent. Advanced Clinical Instructor Rob Atripaldi played that role to the hilt insisting on an answer as to why the medics were getting ready to drill a hole in his son’s leg.

Core Comp 003The part of the son was ably played by a mannequin that simulates a pulse, respiration and moaning while sending vital signs to a monitor. In the first scenario that all the medics went through, anything that could go wrong did go wrong. Murphy’s Law was on full display as complication after complication was thrown at them.

Core Competency Evals 034

Dissecting the Drill Afterwards

It put everyone through their paces, but once again, the purpose was not to grade individuals or teams. It was to identify meaningful continuing education topics for the future on the road to making a great EMS even Better.