Improving care through simulation

by Michelle Saport  |   

Students in fall's EMT 130 — Emergency Medical Technician I burnished their clinical and decision-making skills in a trio of rapid-fire trauma simulations, thanks to a first-time partnership between the Fire and Emergency Services program and the Interprofessional Health Sciences Simulation Center.

Students worked in teams, switching between leadership and team member roles, as they rotated through all three trauma vignettes in the Allied Health Sciences Building providing care to two live actors and one mannequin with 1) head/neck injury; 2) closed fracture; and 3) bleeding. The scenarios made use of the space to better mimic what students might see in real life, taking place in the stairway, lobby and bathroom.

"One of the best parts of the simulation was being outside of the lab, not being confined to our space. I think that helps to break the barriers for some of our programs who only consider the College of Health Simulation Center as our physical space," said Marissa Beninati, simulation technology specialist.

Chris Lau, instructor for EMT 130, consulted with the Simulation Center staff on designing the scenarios to meet specific learning objectives for the course. Lau noted that the simulation was revelatory for most students, giving insight into the complexity of a real-life scenario versus practicing in a classroom. "You have to be able to adapt very quickly," said Lau. "I think that first simulation opens their eyes, and then we can work from there. Make it a little more difficult for them, put them in different situations where they're going to have to figure things out and also that they understand that they can make mistakes and work on it."

Lau and the Simulation Center staff are planning new EMS simulations for the spring semester, making slight adjustments to the previous slate and devising more complex situations for future use.

"We are eager to support faculty and programs to create authentic, realistic relevant scenarios for students that allow them to practice in a safe environment," said Gavin Gardner, director of the Simulation Center. "Our goal is to serve all of the programs in the College of Health, regardless of what their students are learning, because the practice of simulation can make education stick for every student."

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