|"Tips and Tricks" for Paramedic Competitions
This was a new addition to the event web site in 2010 and 2011. A new Tip or
Trick that would enable you to function more efficiently, earn more points,
and thus have a better chance of placing higher in the final results was
posted monthly. These ideas can also be used "on the street" in your
day-to-day patient treatment. It will remain here during the 2012 event "for
- Perform a COMPLETE scene survey using both team members. Figure out the mechanism
of injury or the TRUE reason why you have been dispatched to this scene. Use all of this
information to then figure out where the patients could be located, as well as how many
total patients you have. Some may not be in plain site, but should not be excessively
hidden. Do this right from the beginning- before beginning care on even a single patient!
Some patients are more critical than others (worth more points), while others have vitals
that deteriorate with time (more difficult to treat as time goes by and with a loss of points).
You do not want to miss any of them. Then, quickly triage them- communicating this
information with your partner. Many patients have been triaged twice, once by each team
member. This wastes valuable time and points.
- Move as many of your patients (some may need to be placed on long spine boards with c-
collars first) locating them as close together as possible. Do this first thing in the scenario.
Then, place all of your supplies and equipment in the middle of this group of patients. Your
partner and yourself should be positioned so that you are facing each other as much as
possible while working on the patients. Doing this accomplishes many things: you can
now each more easily reach and share your supplies and equipment, you can see your
partner and communicate more efficiently, you can share a bystander's help with more than
one patient at a time, and you will save considerable time by not having to run "back and
forth" to patients and to secure equipment. Remember, "Time=Points"!
- LOOK around and ask to determine how many of the people in the scenario location (other
than the judges) can be used to help you. Do this before starting to perform any more
treatment. It is always amazing to see these people, who are available to be used by the
competition team members, just standing there and watching. Remember that non-critical
patients can also be used to assist you. Whatever you do, DO NOT tie up one of the
paramedics on the team with a task that a bystander can do. Get creative! If instructed
properly, these "helpers" can do almost anything that a paramedic can do except for the
most advanced or invasive procedures. If you have done what is listed above (moved all of
your patients to one area), a bystander can assist with more than one patient at a time, thus
allowing more treatment to be rendered by the paramedics and the "helpers"during the
time allowed for the scenario. Remember, "more treatment given (by anyone) usually
means more points awarded".
- Expose your patients (ALL of them) and do a thorough survey (use your eyes, hands, and
verbal assessment skills). Look for the unexpected or uncommon. This is a competition- it
is meant to make you think and challenge your diagnostic skills! It is designed to separate
the good paramedics from the exceptional paramedics. Patients do have hidden injuries or
complex and multi-faceted medical issues- especially in competitions. If something looks
or seems easy, plain, or commonplace, or if the patient's vitals don't seem to match what
you would expect given the situation- you are probably overlooking something.
- COMMUNICATE and CONSULT with your partner throughout the scenario. Neither of you
knows everything there is to know about emergency medicine, but with your minds working
together- you will definitely do better with your scoring. Occasionally ask your partner "are
you alright?", and "do you need anything?". You may see a bystander or something that
may be used by your partner at that moment, thus helping them out.
- Once you have determined who you think is the "worst" patient in terms of their injuries or
condition, treat them to completion. Try to stay with this patient as much as possible and
earn maximum points. Do not "jump around" between multiple points- delegate your
partner, other on-site help and resources to the other patients. Some of the additional
patients are there as a "distractor" and will gain you very few points.
- Observe other competitions with your partner. Watch the way the competition partners work
and communicate (both good and bad). Look at how the scenarios are designed and
judged. The SC EMS Symposium is held in April (MARCH in 2012) in Myrtle Beach, the
Paramedic Savers Competition will be held in Sumter this year in May, and the NC
Paramedic Competition will be held in Greensboro the first part of October. All are great
- Perform all treatment modalities as you would normally do so on a patient during a "live"
call. If you are thinking in your mind that this is just a drill, or just a manikin, then you may
lose track of where you are in the course of treatment and potentially miss a step or two.
Do not ask the judge "do you want me to do this"- just do it. The judge is watching what you
do and listening to what you say as you compete. If they would prefer that you not do
something, they will let you know. By talking your way through treatment you are not only
ensuring that you are awarded your points by the judges for your actions, you are also
"keeping yourself straight" with your treatment steps and smoothly flowing. The teams in
the past who have scored the most are the ones who have talked the most!
- Have your equipment bags organized with the items that you will most likely need toward
the outside. If possible, have two separate bags, each containing the same, most
commonly used items and supplies. That way, each of the team members will have their
own. Review and memorize where these items are located in the bags. There is often a lot
of time wasted "trying to find" what is needed for patient care.
- REVIEW! Pull out your textbooks, EMS Journals, and class notes. All of these will help you
with the competition as well as in your day-to-day patient care.
- It is time to start practicing scenarios with your partner. Have someone design a few basic
ones for you. Use the National Registry score sheets for the individual procedures
practiced. See how well you communicate with each other. Determine how you will divide
up patient care. Review drug doses.
- You should be finalizing how you will set up your competition bags and drug kits for
efficiency. It is time to review all of the supplies that you may need, and getting ready to
"stock the unit" next month.