Yesterday, I made it to my classroom with time to spare, so I grabbed my book and started studying Chapter 3 (documentation). Because documentation is a subject that requires little breaks every now and then, I looked up more than occasionally. I realized as the other students started arriving that I recognized a lot of them already, and when the lady who sat next to me the first night pulled up and waved, I was happy to see her.

Once we all got settled (yes, we took the same seats we had taken the first day. Human nature, you know?), the instructor told us we were going to be talking about his favorite subject: the legalities of providing prehospital care to the masses. It's actually one of my favorite subjects too. You can ask any of our former editors, and they'll probably all agree that most the ideas I bring into our news meetings are legal in nature. In fact, at one point in my life, I wanted to be an attorney.

Back to my current educational endeavor, it was helpful to already know many terms. I bet some of my classmates' heads are spinning! I think one of the things I might have as an advantage is that I've already learned alphabet soup for JEMS.

But knowing the terms and knowing it's YOU who is liable for care is a whole different ball of wax. It was definitely scary discussing all the scenarios (I can get sued for that!?) with having a background of reporting on some of those suits. Of course, we had all kinds of hypotheticals to trip the instructor up. But at the end of the day, I know that if I just do my best and provide the standard of care to every patient I encounter until I can transfer them to another, equal or higher level of care (that's textbook speak for ya), I shouldn't be SUCCESSFULLY sued. Fingers crossed I can learn all these protocols!

If proper documentation and the legalities of providing care is your favorite subject, too, please send some tips my way (like always noting if someone's drunk or how men should never ride solo in the back of an ambulance with a teenage girl). I'm going to need them for my ridealong!

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Comment by Jennifer Berry on January 31, 2013 at 6:39pm

Good tip, Mike. Being an Indiana native, "nice" is natural for me but it's always a good reminder.

Comment by Mike Ward on January 31, 2013 at 2:18pm

Always be caring and "nice" ... reduces the desire to sue.

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