Today was a rookie moment day. Made some silly mistakes, mainly because I have never practiced in an actual ambulance before, or taking care of a patient in the ER while waiting for a bed. There is one particular story I thought I’d share with you.
While riding third with the paramedics, under my EMR certification, I help with vitals (BP, HR, RR, SpO2, CBG), lifts, auscultations, IV maintenance and other things. One of the tasks you do once you arrive at the ER is take another set of vitals with the hospital’s machines. I’ve never used the hospital thermometers before and we have never been trained in the EMR course, but I knew the concept of it. On the device, there are two thermometers. One is coloured blue and the other red. I didn’t know which one I was supposed to use, so I thought okay…well red seemed like the right colour since red symbolizes heat, and a thermometer is a thermometer right? What harm can I possibly do? So I take the red thermometer out, and push the white cap on it (for each new patient so it’s clean), and stick it into my patient’s mouth. It worked just fine. Afterward, my paramedic friend who’s showing me the ropes of the trade, I’ll call him preceptor for lack of better terms, comes over and says quietly into my ear:
Preceptor: “You know you’re supposed to use the blue thermometer right?”
Me: “Oh, really? What’s the difference?”
Preceptor: “The blue is for the mouth, the red is for the anus…”
Me: “What??? You serious?!?!?!”
Me: “Why didn’t you tell me earlier?!?”
Preceptor: “It’s okay, it’s all good. Don’t worry about it.”
Me: “You just enjoyed watching me didn’t you?”
Gosh, I wonder what the ER staff and other medics must have thought:
“That crazy paramedic student has no idea what she’s doing does she?? Silly girl!!”
I’ve been using the red all morning since 07:00! And it wasn’t until the LAST call I do that day at 18:05 that someone decides to tell me the colour difference. *sigh*
Overall though, today’s been great. It was busy but unlike yesterday, we had some downtime. I’m learning a lot with each ride and I enjoy meeting a variety of different patients. Today I think the special call was my first Air Ambulance transfer where we got to take a newborn to the NICU with the ITT. Two morning shifts down, I wonder what night shift will be like.
PS Don’t worry, all the patients who recieved the red thermometer were just fine, thanks to the clean white caps we put on for each patient 🙂 Now you know the difference between the red and blue thermometers 😉