5 Things Every EMT Student Should Be Taught—and Every EMT Should Know.

EMS relies on tradition and habit. We’ve done things for a long time and we were often reluctant to change. We get frequent emails from students arguing that a patient should receive oxygen by NRB when that hasn’t been recommended since late 2010.

We’ve compiled our list of things that students should be taught and current EMTs should know. Let us know if you have any others for the list.

EMT Student1.     We don’t suction newborns unless they are in distress.

Just the thought of not suctioning a newborn is traumatic for us. The AHA and NRP guidelines are clear: even in the presence of meconium, no suction unless the baby is in distress. While we were happily suctioning out what the baby will eventually cough up or absorb we forgot that pesky little thing called hypoxia.

2.     Enough with the backboards.

Our protocols change slowly but how long do we wait until we stop precautionary backboarding and use a solid spinal examination to decide whether the patient needs spinal motion restriction—on the cot. Physician groups and science are in favor of this. And while we are on the subject of backboards…

3.     Patients with penetrating trauma shouldn’t be immobilized unless there is sign of spinal injury.

Taking that time has no value and it increases mortality.

4.    High flow oxygen by non-rebreather mask may actually be harmful.

We get emails from students telling us that their educators still teach this. Ugh. [Resource: A Tale of 4 Patients]

5.     And finally, for the love of God, STOP USING “EMT-BASIC.”

We didn’t like that level when we had it. It was too dumbed down. But now we see job ads, course listings and even providers calling themselves “Basics” when that has been out for several years and replaced with what we should have been all along: EMTs.

What else would you add?