EMT Reference cards can be a great tool for remembering specific information in stressful situations, and the Best EMS Reference Cards are highly sought after since we consider them one of the best pieces of EMT & paramedic Equipment to carry with you on shift. The downside? There’s so many out there that it can be difficult to choose the right ones for you – that’s why we published this list of the 5 Best EMS Reference Cards, so whether you need the best EMT Reference Cards or the best Paramedic reference cards, be assured you can find them all right here!
While some people in EMS say things like “Only rookies need reference cards” or “If you’re a good medic, you don’t need them” we know from experience that attitudes like this get in the way of delivering medical care. Yes, we receive a lot of training and should remember most of that information, however sometimes we forget things that we don’t frequently use, or are exposed to immense stress – that’s where EMT reference cards come in useful.
Consider that commercial pilots arguably go through more hours of training than EMTs, and even some Paramedics, yet when something goes wrong or unexpectedly, they always refer to a comprehensive checklist. Doctors also regularly refer to books or the internet while treating patients – if it’s good enough for them, then why is it looked down upon in EMS? Plus, the best EMS Reference Cards prove their worth when it hits the fan!
1. Complete EMS Vertical Badge Card Set – 13 Cards (Best EMS Reference Cards)
After careful consideration and review, we have named the Complete EMS Vertical Badge Card Set – 13 Cards as The Best EMS Reference cards currently available. These cards are made of a durable plastic, and are waterproof, meaning they can wiped clean in between calls, and stand up to the harsh conditions we face in EMS. They aren’t as thick as a standard ID card either, making them slightly more lightweight, and pliable, which ensures they are less likely to crack or snap in half due to their ability to bend. Despite their thinness, they are still the same size as a regular ID card or credit card, making them perfect for adding to your EMS lanyard.
These cards also include the popular Wong-Baker FACES scale, and honestly that’s one of the most popular cards that I use, especially with younger patients.
2. Mini EMT/First Responder Vertical Badge Card Set – 6 Cards (Best EMT Reference Cards)
These Mini EMT reference cards are ideal for EMTs and first responders operating under a BLS scope of practice. The 6 cards included are double sided, and contain a range of information applicable to basic life support, and trauma assessments without information such as medications or ECGs. Made of the same durable plastic as above, this set is an absolute bargain!
3. Comprehensive Vertical Badge Reference Cards – 30 Cards (The Best Paramedic Reference Cards)
These Comprehensive Paramedic Reference cards are ideal for ALS Paramedics and those with higher scopes of practice such as critical care medics and flight medics. With 30 cards included in the set, there are guidelines and diagrams for a range of calculations and formulars, ECG interpretation guides and other handy reminders.
The only downside with this set is that there are simply way too many cards – it’s likely that you will not need all of them and that you may get a fair few irrelevant cards included.
4. Nurse Nation 30 Pack Reference Cards
The 30 pack Nurse Nation reference cards are primarily designed for nurses, however you can take out the cards most relevant to you to use, and store the rest for future use in case you decide to study nursing, or even gift them to your local (un)friendly triage nurse. Again, 30 cards is simply overkill, but there are some great Paramedic reference cards in this set, in particular information on the APGAR test is useful for those of us who struggle to remember mnemonics and acronyms that we rarely use.
5. EMT Dual Pocket Guide by Vital-Recall
These EMT Dual Pocket guides by Vital-Recall are an incredible resource for EMTs, the only drawback (and reason they are not first on this list) is their size! They are a larger product compared to a standard ID badge, and are designed to go in your pocket instead. Coming in at 3.9″ x 5.4″, they are also made of a durable plastic and are described as being “all-weather”.
The information on them is simple, but sometimes simple is what you want. These would be particularly useful for a part-time or volunteer EMT who may need the occasional reminder.
Why use EMS Reference Cards at all?
EMT Reference cards help you find crucial information, and remember key facts during stressful or time critical situations. In addition, they’re incredibly useful when it comes to remembering normal vital sign parameters for different age brackets, especially if you don’t often work with children or babies and find it difficult to remember the normal parameters when assessing them.
Are Paramedic Reference Cards better than EMT Reference Cards?
In short, Paramedic reference cards usually contain information such as medication dosage calculations and formulas, as well as other ALS-specific information. EMT Reference cards, however, contain more BLS-specific information, however they are still useful for anyone in EMS regardless of their level, remember that basics always come first.