Quick BP tip


Not all cultures see things like we see them, and understand things how we say them. Many indigenous people (aboriginal in this part of the world, but applicable anywhere, really) have a different sense of belonging.

If you need to do a set of vitals on them, tell them that you will check their blood pressure. A colleague of mine recently told a patient he will have to take the patients blood pressure, upon which he sincerely and without joking responded: “what are you taking, and will you give it back?”

Not a good start if your patient is already reluctant to be in the back of your ambulance, and an easy mishap to avoid.

For more (practical) blood pressure checking tips, check out Greg Frieses Blood Pressure Assessment Tips.


Let’s start this off with a classic. Enjoy!

Welcome back, and welcome to the second part of “keep yourself updated with online resources”. In case you missed part one, scroll down to the last post or check it out here.

Again, I’ll dive right in to it, and introduce you to some other resources I use regularly:

Writing_starBlogs (Weblogs)

Last post I already wrote about blogs, and how to follow them via RSS feed-icon-14x14. They were focussed on paramedic education, these blogs below are from a general ‘on the job’ perspective. Nonetheless, you can still get some great learning and reading materials from them: It’s the closest thing to riding along in the with the crew. Here is complete list of my complete reading list, below are some blogs I would like to highlight, in no particular order:

  • Medic999: I only came across this blog the other week, and am impressed by his writing style, job morale and ethics. Plus the layout and style of the blog is ace.
  • NeeNaw: Cool name. Neenaw is up in Ambulance Control in London, answering 999/emergency calls and dispatching ambulances to such emergencies. Especially good for us on road staff to get a view from the other side of the radio.
  • Random Acts of Reality: I know, I know, everybody knows Tom already, he did start this whole thing. Still going strong, and without him the list would not be complete.
  • StreetWatch: An experienced medic from the US, who is currently blogging his book, chapter by chapter. Thoroughly enjoyable, and if he’s not writing fiction, his posts are good food for thought.
  • The Paramedics Diary: Back to London for this one. If you want to know what a shift in London looks like, look no further. Pretty detailed, pretty good.
  • Trauma Queen: Some Scottish for you. There you go. Very well written.

Remember, if you like any of them, to subscribe to them via their RSS feed. Also, I have deliberately left out the aussie bloggers – they deserve a special post 🙂


twitter is also a blog, a microblog to be exact. You have 140 characters to tell people what is going on. Ranging from mundane to the extraodinary, pick out some interesting people to follow, and stay in tune with your world. Often, people who blog will also have a twitter account, and publish thoughts, new blog posts or interesting links to their account.

Who? What? How? Why? OK, first things first. Sign up for an account at twitter first. Then find a few people to follow. A simple way to find interesting people on twitter to go to someones account, and check out who they follow. For example, you can find my twitter feed on the right hand column of this website, or find my twitter site here. There you will also see who I follow. Look at their profile, see who they follow…and build up a follwing. Simple 🙂

To keep all these posts under control and easily viewable, I use Tweetdeck. I used to use twitterriffic (Mac OS X only). There are plenty of other apps out there. Your choice.


Podcasts are a great way of getting information, especially if you are more of an audio learner (as opposed to a visual, reading etc.). In my experience though, you need the time and the (head)space to get something out of it. Currently I only have time for one podcast a week, and it is The MedicCast. Be patient and listen to the whole episode, as Jamie likes to talk a lot occasionally, but I think it makes the whole show that tad bit more personal. You can listen to a lot of podcasts directly on the casts website, but I like to use iTunes to organize my podcasts. There are many alternatives out there if you have an aversion to Apple.

60px-Emblem-web.svgThe Web

I have such a large amount of links that it would be too much to write them down here. I will dedicate a special post for them in the future.

Other services – What else is out there?

facebook, delicious.com, StumbleUpon…the list goes on. I don’t use these site very often, or if I do they are not really for educational purposes. That’s not saying they don’t have their place, just that I don’t use them. If you use any online services out there that I have missed, please comment or send me an email – I’ll be more than happy to add to the list.

By now, most of you are probably thinking “overload, Overload, OVERLOAD!

More about information overload, dealing with the massive amount of resources the internet has to offer and general ideas how to manage such amounts of gathered knowledge can be found at Life in the Fast Lane, a great site by a couple of ED/ICU doctors at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Western Australia.

As already stated, any comments, suggestions, criticisms, ideas are gladly accepted. You can either leave a comment under this blogposting or you can contact me via the contact page at the top of the site.

I don’t have to tell you that the internet is a wonderful thing. Sure, information overload can be a problem – if you let it get to you. Filter out the good from the bad. Here are my picks and tricks to keep myself on the ball in the ever evolving and revolving world of pre-hospital care and medicine:

@Email Newsletters:
Probably the easiest way to be on the ball, all you need is an email address. A lot of magazines, newspapers and blogs have email subscription services, most of them are free. Get the latest delivered directly in to your inbox. Here is my selection, in alphabetical order:

  • Everyday EMS Tips: Greg Friese, the author, will send you a weekly roundup of his blog. Subscription link is in the right hand column, and includes two handy ebooks to download.
  • JEMS.com (Journal of Emergency Medical Services) also sends out a weekly newsletter rounding up the newest articles from their website. Subscribe to the newsletter here.
  • The Mediccast is by rights a podcast (and a great one too). Jamie Davis, the Podmedic, sums up the show, and sends out the corresponding links/shownotes to you after each weekly show. Great way to follow up things you heard, then read about them. Head on over to his website here, the subscription link is in the left column.

120px-Feed-icon.svg RSS (Really Simple Syndication)
OK, this may sound complicated and too techy for some, but it really isn’t. In simple  terms, it’s taking the above mentioned  email newsletters one step further. All you need is a RSS reader or aggregator; I use Google Reader (Take a tour, or watch a video).

Here is a list of educational blogs I have in my reader (you will recognize some of them from my newsletter subscription list):

You already know about the first two sites, the last one is also highly recommended.  Steve Whitehead focusses on some really good subjects, both for those who have just joined the job and for the more experienced amongst us.

(Something I just noticed: Three websites, and together the first letters spell E M T . Fancy that :))

Next posting I’ll be looking at more blogs in general, the microblogging service twitter and other ways of using the internet to your advantage.

I hope you got something out of this post, and if you have any comments, anything to add, anything at all, please leave a comment or contact me via email. Details are at the top of the page under ‘contact’


Have you ever wanted to know what your colleagues in a neighbouring state do in certain situations? Wanted to know how they teach their students? Wanting to move interstate? Discuss here!

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A place to get Ambos and Paramedics in Australia together, to focus on learning the ropes as a student ambo and how to tame these ropes as a senior paramedic/tutor.

Watch this space!