CPR Recert Revenge

In my feeble attempts to make myself more valuable, I went ahead and got an AHA Instructor certification. Yes, I am a CPR instructor but have never had a chance to do CPR on a real patient. Still, I know all the protocols and procedures, ratio, etc., forward, backward, inside and out. My EMS Coordinator asked me to help with skills testing for CPR recertification this year.

Several of the EMTs in my agency are also anatomy TAs at my university. Even though I did rather well in anatomy, I have some…ill feelings toward about the difficulty of some of the pins on my exams. Since they’re all senior TAs, they are the ones pinning the exams. A “normal” TA that just teaches a section and pins weekly quizzes I could easily forgive, but these guys… I had no choice but to give them a hard time since I was now in the position of test-giver rather than test-taker.

Before I go through this…they all passed with flying colours, following AHA guidelines to the letter. It was just so easy to mess with them…

TA: Okay, I’m going to open the airway with a head-tilt chin lift.

NA, clicking pen: Oh, really?

TA: I…uh…yeah…yeah I am.

NA: Well…okay…if that’s what you really want to do.

TA: Okay I’m checking for a pulse for 5-10 seconds. Is there a pulse?

NA: Well, I don’t know – is there?

TA: I guess not…

NA: Well, it’s a manakin of course there isn’t.

TA: Oh, ok…

NA: (evil cackle)

Do I feel bad? No, not really. They all performed their skills flawlessly, so the integrity of the test was not compromised at all – and I feel much better now.

When I’m only doing skills testing and not involved in the actual teaching, I like to ask a couple supplemental questions to make sure they really know their stuff. One of the questions I usually ask is what tidal volume is appropriate for ventilation / how much of the bag do you squeeze? Realising that I was dealing with people just as geek as me, I had the following conversation.

NA: Alright, K how much of the bag are you going to be using when you ventilate the patient?

K: About half to prevent hyperventilation.

NA: OMG OMG OMG! I can talk to you about¬†inter-thoracic pressure and cardiac perfusion pressure and you’ll understand!

K: Talk nerdy to me.

I then went on to explain how hyperventilating the patient can be very detrimental.

K: OMG that makes so much sense!

NA: I KNOW! Isn’t anatomy amazing!

K: Yes! Anatomy TA Handshake!

NA&K doing the secret handshake: Cross-bars of flesh!

I only know the secret handshake because I spent so much time in the lab while I was taking the class. They sort of adopted me. Nerds FTW!

Mat Goebel
Research Fellow

My research interests include EMS, EKG, STEMI, cybersecurity, data viz, ML, and NLP.