Closed Loop Communications

Arguably the most important skill an EMT can learn is how to observe and improve their own communication skills. Communication affects every other aspect of patient care and effective teamwork. There are many techniques to explore in this skill. One technique used commonly by medical professionals and pilots is called closed-loop communication. To start building the skill, let’s start with documenting when we observe ourselves or others demonstrate closed loop communication in class. Key aspects of closed-loop communication include:

Team lean meaningfully identifies receiver and states requests clearly, Team member recites request, asks clarifying questions, and states timeline; Team member executes task; team member obtains attention of team lead, states task completion with pertinent details, and acknowledges task completion.
Image created by lab manual author Chris Hamper, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.

Example Closed Loop Communication in Bleeding Control:

Team lead: *touches shoulder of teammate* please control the bleeding with a tourniquet

Team member: “controlling bleeding with a tourniquet now”

Team member: “Team lead” *waits for team leader attention* “bleeding controlled with a tourniquet, time noted”

Team lead: “thank you team member, standby for the next task”

Closed Loop Communication Skills Verification Table

Closed Loop Communication










10 (instructor)


*Self-evaluation, candidate initials accepted

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Oregon EMS Psychomotor Skills Lab Manual Copyright © 2023 by Chris Hamper, BS, NRP; Carmen Curtz, Paramedic, BS; Holly A. Edwins, Paramedic, B.S.; and Jamie Kennel, PhD, MAS, NRP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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