This guest post was submitted by paramedic and educator Brian Lilley. He replied to the Everyday EMS Tips weekly enewsletter, “Do you know your stuff?”
“[I do not] carry such information in my mind since it is readily available in books. …The value of a college education is not the learning of many facts but the training of the mind to think.” ~ Albert Einstein
Essentially, I believe Einstein is advising us not to memorize what we can look up. I did this very thing recently.
After achieving ROSC on a cardiac arrest patient, we initiated therapeutic hypothermia and packaged for transport. As we moved to the truck, I drew a complete blank when asked where we were going to transport the patient. I had just spent 10 minutes throwing the clinical “kitchen sink” of procedures at this patient. My heart was racing, and now I had to consider my geographic location relative to nearly a dozen hospitals, recall which hospitals had cath labs, and then recall which of those cardiology groups supported therapeutic hypothermia.
Total brain lockdown occurred.
So in front of my partner, the patient’s family, several police officers, and an engine company of firefighters, I pulled out the reference card I had made last year detailing each hospital’s capabilities and limitations. I looked at the card and said, “We’re going to hospital name.”
No one laughed or questioned me. No one called my supervisor or medical director.
The patient benefited.
You don’t always have to know the answer. You only need to know where to find it.
Thanks Brian and congratulations to the entire response team for achieving ROSC for the patient!
How have you used a reference card?