Tools

Tools, and gadgets, are great. However, they can be a distraction and cost you time and effort.

During the observation phase using tools to gain observation(s) that you would not otherwise be able to obtain is a great idea. However, using a tool to confirm what appears to be obvious is a time and effort distraction.

Here is an example: a FAST exam. If you suspect bleeding in the abdomen and the patient is not showing obvious signs then it is a good thing. If the patient is showing obvious signs of bleeding in the abdomen, then it becomes a distraction.

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Safety

Recently in the HEMS field, and the medical field as a whole, there has been an increase in awareness on the topic of safety. Safety should always be your top priority.

During the Orientation phase you should evaluate, and align, your observations keeping safety in mind. During the Decision phase you will need to directly address safety. I would suggest asking yourself “Can I do what I am thinking about doing – safely?”

There are plenty of reasons that people will give you that something may be safe (everyone else is doing it, this is what management wants, it is not that big of a risk, etc.) Your safety, and your teams safety, is not worth doing something unsafe for any reason.

If you can not safely do something – don’t do it.

Failure

In my opinion failure can be defined as: the negative difference between reality and expectations. I also believe that we can close the gap be learning from our “failures”. Thus failures can be seen as opportunities to learn and improve on.

I know I have experienced failures. I have also done my best to learn from them. How have you learned when there was a gap between reality and expectations?

Listening

Listening is important in the OODA Loop process for two reasons. The first reason is that by listening we can gain information. This type of listening is a skill that can be practiced and learned.

The second reason is more primal. One of the senses we lose during high stress (condition black) can be hearing. If during a call you notice that you are having a hard time hearing (or have loss this vital sense) you need to consider your mental condition color – you may be in condition black. It may be a good time to take a tactical breath and start back over in the observation phase.

Information sources

Getting good information is important to successfully using the OODA Loop.  Information sources should be vetted for appropriateness. Where are some sources that you use for good, solid, updated information? 

Images

Our brain tends to think in images (pictures).  When you are processing through the OODA Loop you will tend to be able to recall images more readily – especially under stress.  To reduce your reaction time, during training you should try and incorporate as many images as possible.