Building off of our last post withHarrison Reed talking about communication, we are moving to a very similar and related topic this time talking about cognitive stop points with paramedic Tyler Christifulli. He also has his own blog and podcast called FOAMfrat and one we have actually featured on our website. Our next post will also have Tyler back discussing acronyms and how they tie in with these cognitive stop points so make sure to check that, as well.
When things are going awry, we need to slow down or even stop. Cognitive stop points are performed when we need to pause and think before we act further. These can be brief and do not always require complete cessation of activity. However, they are vital and potentially life saving. When a situation is going downhill or no longer going the anticipated route, it is important to stop and consider what is going on. Four simple steps will help get you back in the right direction.
1. Say out loud that you do not know what is going on or you need help. This is to encourage discussion and brain storming in an open and non-judgmental manner.
2. Mobilize your resources early. If there is someone or something else that can help you (specialist, advance equipment, etc.) call them to at least get them on the way. You may not always need them, but chances are if you wait to long they will not come in time.
3. Start over and remove assumptions. The assumptions may not be correct. Work only off of facts and use only what you can validate.
4. Troubleshoot in a methodical manner. Like an engineer who goes through a step-wise approach to a problem, we need to do the same. Look through the different elements and work to localize then fix that problem.
The overall key truly is to slow down and be methodical. Allow yourself the chance to slow down and think through your decisions. Use methods like tactical breathing if need be to get to a state where you can do this clearly. Encourage feedback, get help, work off of facts, and troubleshoot the issue.
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