Simulation in EMS Education

 

A couple of weeks back, Stephanie and Dan attended the NAEMSE Symposium in D.C. in conjunction with CAE Healthcare. Limmer Creative developed an app to accompany CAE’s new ALS and ACLS training manikin, ARES. Watching the manikin in action was impressive and spurred some thoughts about how to better use simulations in the EMT classroom.

Many of the educators at NAEMSE verified that simulation is used routinely in paramedic classes, but only sporadically in EMT classes. Manikin use is a dessert as opposed to the main course. But it can, and should, do more.

The other conversation that came up was whether simulation had a role in NREMT preparation. Most believe simulation positively affects practice but not exam preparation. Anyone familiar with Limmer knows that we don’t buy the story that exam preparation and field preparation are different. You can read more about our thoughts on that here.

So, how can a manikin be both effective in the EMT classroom practice AND exam prep?

Picture an EMT class lab session. Your students are practicing airway skills. One station is using a BVM while others are practicing OPA/NPA insertion and assembling oxygen tanks.

There is one other station. These EMT students are gathered around a simulation manikin like ARES. The instructor is programming the manikin for a variety of respiratory rates and tidal volumes asking students to determine whether they would ventilate the patient or not. Each student has a worksheet (downloadable here) where they are asked to write down their observations on each of the simulated patients they see and are asked to predict what kind of patient they might see that respiratory pattern in (asthma attack, opioid overdose, shock, etc.)

This exercise has many benefits including actually making decisions on ventilation based on chest rise and other realistic factors (as opposed to simply practicing ventilation) while the worksheet helps students identify key descriptive words for both documentation and success on the NREMT. How many of our students fail to recognize the words “shallow” or “gasping” on the NREMT and fail to ventilate? How many fail to understand or adequately “picture” what the patient would look like in the field?

The benefits of simulation in an EMT class are wide-ranging and surprisingly easy to do. Not every simulation experience has to be a start-to-finish scenario. Check out our additional ideas for classroom simulation integration here.

How do you use simulation in your EMT courses? I’d love to hear about it.