PHOTO & VIDEO CREDIT: WCVB-TV 5 / ABC NEWS
In Framingham, Massachusetts, a group of 25 EMS students from MassBay Community College are participating in a summertime emergency care training program where they will respond to incidents involving firework burns, heatstroke, and accidental drowning. These are all potential life-threating events that EMS professionals can expect to face regularly during the summer.
As WCVB-TV 5 reporter Doug Meehan discusses in the broadcast, these students are using simulation to help them practice the essential skills needed to provide effective care during these high-stress events. Since these events tend to require immediate treatment to avoid serious harm or the patient’s death, EMS professionals need to have the confidence and knowledge to make correct split-second decisions.
By practicing on simulated patients, the students can apply the knowledge they have learned and develop clinical skills in a safe environment. This way, EMS professionals can enter the field with the confidence and skills to make those split-second decisions when treating real patients.
MassBay’s EMS program is designed to provide a highly realistic training environment for the students. As such, training takes place outside the classroom, and educators provide students with opportunities for hands-on, in situ simulation exercises whenever possible.
Gaumard’s high-fidelity patient simulator, Trauma HAL, serves as one of the simulated patients the students will care for. Thanks to Hal’s durable design and ability to operate wirelessly, the MassBay simulation managers have the opportunity to run a variety of scenarios that would sacrifice realism if they were done inside a sterile simulation lab.
“It’s as real as we can make it,” says Kim Altavesta the EMS Program Director at MassBay. Realism is key because it gets students used to the high-stress environment they will work in. Simulation allows students to get used to these environments so they will be focused and confident when delivering rapid, effective care.
The emergency care training program also helps ensure the students hone the specific skills they will need to treat commonly seen cases. For example, according to Doug Meehan’s reporting, from mid-June to mid-July, nearly 300 people a day will seek medical treatment for firework-related injuries.
Since the simulated patients can be equipped with moulage and other simulated injuries, the program allows the students to practice skills that are relevant to them. Repeatedly treating these injuries means they become second nature to the students, reducing response times and mistakes made.