Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Oral Station

I imagine that some people, when they read the title of this post,  will maybe have unsavory thoughts cross their mind.  If you do, shame on you. But I will admit that the title can be somewhat misleading.

The past two Sundays I've worked as an ALS skills evaluator at different testing sites. Both are always well-run, and the group of cadre that work as evaluators are a dedicated bunch of people. Not to mention interesting and always somewhat dysfunctional. This exam is skills - based as opposed to written; there is one of those as well, and as exams go it is among the most challenging exam I had ever taken. All things being equal, however, the skills exam is just as daunting. Twelve stations total for Paramedics: a trauma assessment, two cardiology stations, two IV and a pharmacology station, a random skills station, a spinal immobilization station (yes - even though many states are getting away from long board immobilization the National Registry still requires proficiency, at least for now), and two oral board stations.

My station of choice is the oral board, hence the title of this post. I do it for a couple of reasons. The main reason is because it gives me a good idea how people think and whether or not they indeed think critically. It is disappointing how many don't. The other reason is somewhat selfish on my part; it is much easier to set up and break down.

There are usually two evaluators, one to handle "A" and the other to handle "B". I was on both sides of this in each place I worked at. Plus when there were retests I got to do this in different stations. This is pretty normal; doing the retesting can either be good or bad, depending on the state of mind of the individual  candidates.

I try to keep in mind that there is stress no matter what. All of us who do this have been there ourselves, and most of us do our best to not add stress to the load. But it is stressful, even for people who have experience but need National certification.

So when they come up again I'll likely be there.

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