Tricks of the trade: from emergency ambulance to emergency room and everywhere in between.

I’ve been quite lucky in my career so far. I have worked on traditional ambulances, I have worked on rapid response cars. I’ve struggled to treat patients in fields in the middle of the night and I’ve treated them in field hospitals behind the main stage of a festival.

I’ve commenced treatment on VVIP in secure areas. I’ve worked on high profile sports events and in busy emergency departments. I’ve triaged over the phone and via video link.

There were many things I have picked up on the way from patients, situations and the people I have met along the way. I thought I’d share these with you.

1. Always arrive a few minutes early. Check your equipment. You never know what the day will bring and knowing your equipped for anything will make you feel a little more prepared.

2. Never run to anything. Running increases your heart rate, your gloves are harder to get on and your out of breath. Walking buys you headspace to make a plan.

3. Never underestimate a mother’s intuition. Ask them what they think is wrong with their child if you are treating them 9/10 times – they already know.

4. Oxygen tubing cut into pieces makes a great straw if a patient needs a drink.

5. If a patient says they feel like they’re dying – take them seriously. They probably are.

6. Create time for silence – a well timed pause can create opportunity. Wether it be a patient asking a question in this gap or the family seeking reassurance.

7. Holding someone’s hand is one of the best treatments you can give.

8. If it’s wet and sticky – don’t touch it.

9. If you get stuck – take the patients pulse. It buys time to create a plan.

10. Offer to clean. If you have just been to something traumatic then cleaning up after can be therapeutic. It buys time to reflect.


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