Paramedics Course – Vital Signs Deviation

Vital Signs Deviation

Micro-lecture by the Australian Paramedical College


In today’s micro-lecture, Australian Paramedical College Hon. Snr. Lecturer Sam Willis talks about how to manage the Vital Signs Deviation.

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Vital Signs Deviation

In today’s micro lecture, we’re going to talk about situations whereby a patient’s vital signs will deviate from what we consider to be normal.

Now as a paramedic, you will be attending the sickest and most vulnerable members of the community. When you arrive on scene at that patient’s side, you have to go through your structured, systematic approach to assessing and caring for that patient. Now you will know that the first step is to follow your primary survey assessment, danger, response, airway, breathing, circulation. The next step is to do your secondary survey, which is all your vital signs. It’s your blood pressure, your heart rate, your respiratory conditions, as well as doing your history taking, which is 80% of what paramedics do. And if your patient has had some kind of trauma, it also includes doing a head-to-toe survey before you move them.

So let’s just talk generally in this micro lecture about some of the conditions that you’re likely to face. Now when you’re treating patients, generally, you will come across patients who either present with medical conditions or trauma conditions. Now trauma can be anything from minor to major trauma. Medical can be absolutely anything. The world of medicine is phenomenally complex and huge, and as you go throughout your studies and throughout your life and go onto the next system, you will learn more and more and more about the medical conditions.

Typical medical presentations to paramedics include cardiovascular diseases, so your heart-related problems. That includes a block of the coronary arteries causing what’s called a myocardial infarction. We do tend to use the term heart attack, but that doesn’t even exist. It’s a nothingness. A myocardial infarction is something that you will go to. These patients will present with tight, gripping chest pains, sometimes radiating to their jaw. They may be short of breath.

Other typical presentations whereby the patient’s vital signs will deviate from what was considered normal includes diabetic emergencies, low and high blood sugar, so hypo and hyperglycemia. Respiratory conditions such as asthma. Even anaphylaxis that might cause a respiratory problem. Chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, COPD. Those three conditions are chronic asthma, bronchitis or chronic bronchitis, not acute bronchitis. Chronic bronchitis, and emphysema. Take a look, do a little bit of a search around those conditions. You’ll also be called to people who have other long-term medical conditions, immune system conditions, eczema, psoriasis, those types of things that will cause inflammations causing your body temperature to rise.

The world of medicine is usually complex, and as a paramedic, it’s your role to work out what is acute, in other words, fast-acting. What is occurring here today? Is it a new thing or is it connected to something previous? So for example, as part of the history taking, you’ll say, “What has happened to you today?” The patient will tell you, “I’ve got short of breath.” You need to then ask that patient, “Tell me about this shortness of breath. Is this something you’ve had before? Is this something that relates to a medical condition? What is your past medical history?” Obviously, something completely new. If it’s completely new, you need to be asking questions around when did it start, what were you doing when it came on, does anybody else have this in the family?

For more information about courses and becoming a Medic / Paramedic or any other professional in the pre-hospital emergency health care sector Contact the Australian Paramedical College today:

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