International examination and synthesis of the primary and secondary surveys in paramedicine

Marc A Colbeck, Sonja Maria, Georgette Eaton, Craig B Campbell, Alan M Batt, Matthew R. Caffey

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Background: To guide their care paramedics routinely rely upon two assessment and treatment algorithms, known as the primary survey and the secondary survey. No clear consensus of the concepts (assessments and interventions) that are, or should be, included in these algorithms exist internationally.

Methods: This paper evaluated Australasian paramedic clinical practice guidelines (CPGs), as well as six other international paramedic CPGs (USA, Ireland, UK, South Africa, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates) in order to identify which concepts are currently described in best-practice recommendations for paramedics. The authors also contributed concepts that they felt were important additions based on their experience as veteran paramedics and paramedic educators.

Results: The resulting amalgamation of concepts identified in each term was then formed into two mnemonics which, together sequentially list approximately 100 specific clinical concepts that paramedics routinely consider in their care of patients. We describe these as the “International Paramedic Primary and Secondary Surveys”.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalIrish Journal of Paramedicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 03 Sept 2018


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