Paramedics Course – Non Technical Skills

Non Technical Paramedic Skills

Micro Lecture by the Australian Paramedical College

In this micro-lecture we’re going to talk about the use of non-technical skills in paramedic practice. Skills such as communication and situational awareness, working together as a team, decision making and collaboration.

Non Technical Skills

In today’s micro lecture, we’re going to talk about the use of non-technical skills in paramedic practice.

Now for those of you who have never heard of it before, non-technical skills are any type of behavior or mindset or performance from the crew that can allow the technical skills to be performed dangerously, not in the right time, not in the right order, or any situation that’s going to cause you to become dangerous in your practice as a paramedic.

Now there’s no doubting you will have heard of technical skills.

Technical skills are literally any type of skill that allows the paramedic to treat their patient. That’s anything from undertaking blood pressure, undertaking an intramuscular injection, listening to someone’s chest, doing an ECG, all the skills that we do as paramedics.

They are called technical skills. But something that we don’t give too much attention to are the non-technical skills. And if you were to a basic literature search on this, you see massive lists of non-technical skills that get in the way of paramedic practice and performance that makes us unsafe.

They include things like poor communication, role conflict with your crew mates. It includes things like a lack of situational awareness, not really knowing what’s going on around you. It involves collaboration or lack of collaboration, working in so much isolation on your own that you’re not able to safely work as part of a team and safety being the key thing here. It also means a lack of flexibility.

As you can see, let’s start thinking as paramedics more along the non-technical skill sides because the technical skills are something you’re going to get. And more and more education providers are focusing on the non-technical skills.

Now unfortunately, most of the evidence and research comes from the aviation industry, and it’s there in black and white, and it’s great, and it really just supports us in what we’re achieving. But for us to be able to categorically say this has been proven in paramedicine, we need paramedic research, which is where the role of researchers come in.

However, it doesn’t mean that there’s an absence of non-technical skill data and information out there. I ask you guys to go and find it for yourself. But I’d like to just make a couple of examples.

Let’s use the term situational awareness. Situational awareness means having an understanding and a recognition of everything that’s going on around you before you implement something.

A typical example is let’s say you’re in the back of an ambulance and you have to stand up to change something on the ECG or to listen to your patient’s chest.

Well, if your crew mate is going around the corner and you don’t realize it, you’re going to injure yourself and possibly your crew mates. I always use communication as a secondary if not a primary example as well because if you can not communicate effectively with your crew mates and your patient and other healthcare professionals, then you’re not going to be that safe as a paramedic.

Communication doesn’t just mean able to impress people with your knowledge. It means work together as a team, decision make, collaborate, listen. And use a range of communication skills.

That’s a micro lecture on non-technical skills (in Paramedics).

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