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!