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Help with static cardiology

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9 replies to this topic

#1 strippel

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Posted 29 July 2007 - 06:22 PM

OK. Looking for help, preferably from someone with Education or a psych backround.

Here is my story. Graduated from paramedic school, did alright. I took my national practical test, and passed 11 out of 12 stations "flawlessly" (per the DOH rep). The last station of the day was static cardiology. It was late, I was pretty tired, but confident.

I went into the room, and knew the proctor. My mind went out of control. Every rhythm and every protocol was running through my brain at the same time. I could identify the strip, but what I thought and what I said were two different things.

I failed. Now, I should have filed a grievance, as the cards were quite old, ink was faded, and the lamination very cloudy. I did not find out later that many did not pass that station, and there was an issue with the same cards at the last test.

Against my better judgement, I retested the same day, other strips from the same old, faded set. I failed.

On Thursday, I retested static, and my mind became a blur again. This time, a different location with different cards. I failed.

Obviously, I have an issue with the static cardiology station. I am not a brain, but obviously stayed awake long enough in class to pass dynamic, as well as ACLS and PALS.

Can anyone offer any assistance in surmounting my "phobia"?

Does NREMT offer an alternative testing style?
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Posted 30 July 2007 - 04:27 AM

While this might not help you in and of itself, it is useful information to know. While stress increases memory of a specific event ("flashbulb" memory effect), it also decreases memory recall during the stressful event. Is cards your weak subject, and hence more stressful then the others? Did you feel more stressful going into it since it was the last test of a long day?
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#3 Ridryder 911

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Posted 30 July 2007 - 06:35 AM

The static portion is there for a reason. Like in real life, one may have to make hasty decisions of an ECG in a hurry, even from poor readings of monitor such as poor printing, artifact, electrical interference, etc.

Stating you passed AHA ACLS and PALS is not credit as well, We all know the credibility of such is not worthy and really hardly no-one fails those courses anymore.

What I do suggest is to make flash card style of ECG's, even those with poor tracing. Better if you can convince someone else to do it., so you will not be "memorizing" strips. There are plenty of strips on the Internet, one can paste and copy.

Get plenty and only allow small amount of time for interpretation, using the usual and proper measure of interpretation. Usually < 30 seconds. Study hard and practice.

Good luck,
R/ r911
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#4 NJMedic35

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Posted 23 August 2007 - 04:08 PM

My suggestion is make sure you READ the scenario. Don't skim over it quickly, don't stare at the strip in front of you, do what you'd do on a real call with a real patient. You look at your patient as you are walking in. What's your first impression? That's what the scenario will provide you with. If you see the 80 y/o female weak, dizzy, with a SpO2 of 88%, B/p of 90/60 who is pale, cool, and diaphoretic, then you look at the strip and see a slow rhythm you can immediately discount almost half of the rhythms you know, and focus on identifying the rhythm and providing the treatment.
By reading it thoroughly you will also catch anything buried in the middle of the scenario...such as 33 y/o male found stabbed in a bar, he's warm, dry, pulseless, apneic, oh yeah...PEA :)
Lastly...take a few deep breaths...if you're hypoxic, you're patient will be too!
Good Luck and study hard
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#5 AnthonyM83


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Posted 23 August 2007 - 08:15 PM

If you have the cash, go see a psychologist that does hypnotherapy. They can anchor it so that when you go into that testing environment you will get calmer, clear mind, etc.

You can also just practice yourself. Practice relaxing the hell out of yourself (look up techniques online), then go through the test in your mind again with vivid detail, repeat a a few dozen times. It's basically classic desensitization.
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