On this most auspicious of Sundays, EMS Basics is one year old!
A year ago exactly, I threw this site into the EMS 2.0 blender <head>-first, giving me something to engage my brain between dialysis runs and hopefully teaching a few new and new-at-heart EMTs which way is up. Since then, we’ve made 81 posts on a variety of vaguely educational topics, and over 30,000 people have landed on our digital shores.
Our five most popular pages:
- What it Looks Like: Jugular Vein Distention (because the very popular EMTs/Paramedics Facebook group linked to it)
- What it Looks Like: Agonal Respirations (because of support from my friend David Hiltz at the Facebook HEARTSafe page [which I help coadministrate, but have never “self-linked!”], but also because people like good visuals; the What it Looks Like series remains this site’s most popular)
- Drug Families: Anticoagulants and Antiplatelets (because it covers many useful drugs and keywords that tend to show up in search terms)
- Cheat Sheets (because of people searching for actual, literal cheat sheets)
The top five search results leading here, not surprisingly:
- agonal breathing (or agonal respirations)
- coagulation cascade
- jugular vein distention (or jvd)
- cheat sheet
The most commented-upon post:
All in all, it’s been a great year from my side of things, and I hope you’ve have gleaned something of value as well. It’s a truism that the best way to learn is to teach, but I can personally attest that even if nobody in the world had clicked in this site, it would still have taught one person a great deal — me. The research that goes into every post, and the actual act of developing and writing it, has made me a far better provider, never mind educator.
As we round this milestone, I want to call attention to a few shadowy figures behind the curtains. This site would not exist without the work of Dave Konig (The Social Medic), who runs the entire EMS Blogs network. Dave is a hard-working, incredibly selfless enabler and supporter who is now directly or indirectly responsible for the voices of over 20 EMS bloggers reaching the public eye, including some of the very best. He does this for no real pay (ad revenue comes back to us authors), minimal recognition (he’s out there plugging our sites, not his), and presumably no reward except the desire to help further the community. But today, for once, we should drag his butt out into the spotlight. Because although he didn’t invent the EMS blog, he’s done more to promote it than anybody else.
I also want to mention Tom Bouthillet. Tom has been a driving force in bringing the art and science of ECG interpretation back into the forefront of modern emergency care, and his website is one of the best resources available for anybody who makes clinical decisions using the electrocardiogram. It’s true that he’s been well-recognized for many of these efforts, including most recently a web series at FRN.com (go check it out!). However, he’s more than just an ECG wizard. (He also makes a wicked cherries jubilee…) As I hope this site demonstrates, I’m a real believer in the power of the web to educate and elevate those of us working in medicine. The key attributes that make such distributed training possible are: it’s free; it brings world-class experts directly to your screen; and it allows interaction and discussion that pools our collective resources. EMS 12 Lead and Tom’s other projects are an absolutely shining example of how this can work, and although he would not admit it even with thumbscrews applied, he has been a true role model to me. If I can reach half as many people in half as profound a way, I would consider this site an overwhelming success, but even my meager achievements wouldn’t be possible without his example.
Finally, I’d like to point a finger at David Hiltz of the AHA and HEARTSafe. David is an example for everyone who claims to serve the public with his utterly tireless, shameless, unflagging devotion to improving survival from sudden cardiac arrest. In any cause célèbre, there are those who dip their toes in, look for the easy gains, and jump ship when things get rough; but the people who watch them come and eventually see them go are the ones who get the real work done. If there’s one thing that’s true about cardiac arrest, it’s that most of the aces have already been played, the silver bullets deployed, and everything from here forward is going to be a slog. There’s little glamour or reward in that grind, and we should acknowledge the efforts of those pushing the millstones, because twenty years from now, it’s the fruits of their labor that we’ll be enjoying. Most of all, though, David is a generous and earnest supporter of small fry like myself, and I owe him a great deal for his help and guidance.
I hope to see you all in another year. Remember that if you have any questions, requests, or suggestions, my door is always open via blog comments or email. In particular, I love to hear what type of material you like to see — although I can get a certain sense from site traffic and links, it’s not always obvious, and what seems valuable to me may not be interesting to you. So stay in touch (the Facebook page is an easy way, and we share other interesting tidbits there too), and don’t go far — more good stuff is just around the corner.