Is there evidence based practice that supports paramedic intuition?
Paramedics often employ intuition, developed over years of experience in the job, to identify when a job is going to go bad. This includes when a patient is going to suddenly deteriorate or when a patient or friend (or scene for that matter) is about to become violent or dangerous to the paramedics.
Evidence based practice acknowledges that although some skills, thought process or methods have intrinsic values, ultimately, the benefit of any theory must be capable of providing some form of evidence that vallidates such a basis of practice.
So how does paramedic intuition meet this criteria?
Although limited research has been conducted into the validity of paramedic intuition, any paramedic who has worked with a good, competent, and often very experienced paramedic, will immediately recognise the benefit of this paramedic intuition. Based on anecdotal evidence, you will see that many times (but not always) a good paramedic will identify a nagging intuition that a patient is going to deteriorate, while there a no obvious clinical indications for this.
One theory for this is that paramedics develop a form of intuition, based on a subconscious categorization of every patient/ case they have been involved in. As the years of experience gather, paramedics subconsciously connect all these experiences, so that while a patient’s vital signs may appear normal, they get a “gut” feeling that things are going to change and react accordingly, by doing things such as cannulating early and drawing up drugs proactively.
What are some triggers for paramedic intuition? Check my paramedic intuition page…