• Human factors within paramedic practice: the forgotten paradigm

      Summers, Andy; Willis, Sam (2010-09-01)
      It would seem hard to imagine how you could draw a comparison between a commercial airline pilot struggling to land a stricken plane in a storm and a paramedic fighting to save the life of a patient in cardiac arrest. Although very different circumstances, they both have one thing in common: that is, they are both vulnerable to a condition known as ‘the human factor’. Examples of where Human Factors (HFs) exist within the prehospital profession can be various, common examples are environmental distractions e.g. noise from bystanders, mobile phones, machines, or more simply caused by lack of sleep and inadequate nourishment. This article discusses human factors within the prehospital environment and will highlight the benefits of being able to recognize and act upon them, with a specific focus upon the impact they can have on the ambulance practitioner operating in the field. It discusses human factors training and recognizes the role of crew resource management (CRM) and its importance within the prehospital profession. Abstract published with permission.
    • Treating the unexpected: the opiate overdose patient

      Willis, Sam (2010-12)
      Ambulance practitioners are regularly faced with those who present with a form of drug overdose. The subject of substance misuse can be controversial, delicate and are not always straightforward to manage. Not only can substance misuse be a sensitive topic to approach, but patients can be adept at hiding the signs and symptoms from friends, family and ambulance practitioners (Caroline 2008). In addition, it may be difficult to establish what exactly has been taken, when, and how much. Gaining consent to treat the patient can also be fraught with difficulties. This reflective account uses a case from practice which highlights several of the difficulties that ambulance practitioners face when dealing with this type of patient. Abstract published with permission.