Airway, Respiration & Ventilation
Cardiology & Resuscitation
EMS Operations

5.02 Medical Assessment

Assessment is the foundation of emergency care. Without proper assessment and discovery, all other knowledge and skills you acquire are useless. If we can’t find the problem, we can’t solve it. If we don’t know what to look for, we’ll never have the opportunity to save a life. Whether you are a grizzled veteran, or just starting your journey in this exciting field, true, lifelong masters of emergency medicine, first become masters of Assessment. 

Learning objectives

By the end of this lesson, you should be able to…

  • Understand the importance of the EMS assessment
  • Recognize the steps in the primary assessment
  • Recognize the steps in the secondary assessment
  • Understand how to define homeostasis, perfusion, and instability 
  • Recognize signs that suggest instability in your patients

High Yield Content

  • Basic PPE for the first responder includes gloves, eye protection, and a mask 
  • The initial assessment is completed before the responder ever makes contact with the patient
  • You do not move on in the primary assessment until the current issue is dealt with 
  • You restart from the beginning of the primary assessment if the patient’s condition changes 
  • SAMPLE stands for signs and symptoms, allergies, medications, past medical history, last meal, and events leading up to the incident 
  • Signs of instability include altered mental status, chest pain, low blood pressure, major trauma, and significant mechanism of injury