1. Don’t forget about pathophysiology.
When the education standards came out in 2008 – 2009 we were all worked up about pathophysiology. Then we tried integrating it. With time some of us have fallen back in that old comfortable place without increased pathophysiology. Pathophysiology is here to stay. It helps our students understand—and pass the test.
2. Embrace the AHA guidelines.
If you are teaching the NRB mask as the one and only, you are wrong. I hear from students weekly who tell me that their instructor says all cardiac patients get a NRB mask. This is false. The patient with borderline sats and minimal distress will get a cannula—and some patients will receive no oxygen at all.
3. Value thinking over memorization any way you can.
I get emails from students who, after reading a tough sample exam question, email me and write, “My instructor said they would NEVER do that!” (Yes, the student used the caps.) The problem is that they get a NREMT question where all the choices stink and they have to choose the best. They go back to the words of their instructor (and role model) who told them it would NEVER happen. Their head spins and they are incapable of thought. The next five questions that pass for them on the NREMT are a blur because they are so shaken up. Avoid talking about definites in clinical situations. Patient presentations—and our response to them vary widely. When a students looks for a black and white answer, show him or her the shades of grey. It will help them on the test. Value thinking over memorization any way you can.
The exams (state and NREMT) are maturing and getting tougher as we move farther and farther into the education standards. We need to pump up our courses to meet these expectations.