EMS holds patients' fates in the palm of its hand. One misplaced needle, inappropriately administered drug, incorrect treatment sequence or failed airway control can harm or even kill a patient. Simulation allows us to train on all aspects of emergency care and perfect our skills in a controlled, safe environment—and will also keep us out of court.
But simulation does more than just train future EMS providers. It also provides a means for instructors to evaluate students before they’re confronted with the challenges of street medicine. Through a simulated exercise, we can escalate or de-escalate incidents, make patients better—or worse—and intensify the demands on students in a manner that’s educationally sound and more humane.
Simulation has become an indispensable part of the education, evaluation and operational components of EMS. It also fits well with the popular blended learning model, which allows instructors to combine the e-learning aspects of simulation with classroom exercises and live e-learning that facilitates student interaction, online feedback and application exercises. Blended learning allows instructors to maximize effectiveness by matching the best medium for each course segment.
This supplement to JEMS addresses how to begin the journey into simulation; what steps to follow to implement a successful program; which processes should be followed when evaluating, coaching and retraining personnel; and ways to adapt simulation to the many needs of your EMS organization.
“Making It Real” presents you with real examples of what does and doesn’t work, as well as methods you can try that can improve the quality of service you offer and enable your personnel to make mistakes and learn along the way.
If your agency is not yet involved in the use of simulation devices and scenarios, it soon will be. So it’s important for you to learn as much as you can about simulation and embrace the many opportunities it has to offer your organization.
Most importantly, this supplement will show you how to utilize EMS simulation to make improvements in your training and operations in a time- and budget-sensitive world.
This article originally appeared in an editorial supplement to the September 2010 issue of JEMS as “The Future of EMS Is Here.”