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Taking EMS Simulation Beyond Dummies and Manikins

As Jennifer McCarthy (MAS, NRP, CHSE-A) noted in a recent post to EMS World, “Paramedicine is one of few health professions that utilizes simulation as part of its initial licensing process.” According to McCarthy, EMS simulation has clearly demonstrated that “evidence-based simulation activities [promote] identification of error-producing practices.” That, in turn, creates “a safe learning environment where error identification is welcomed [that] improves patient safety in a live care environment. This improvement in quality yields safer practices that positively impact patients and providers.”

But, McCarthy explains, “The days of having a manikin on a table, using a scenario based on a call from the shift before, and having participants talk their way through the sim all need to end.” EMS has proven the value of embracing simulation. It’s time to take it beyond CPR dummies and peer-to-peer role-play.

The new generation of EMS simulation needs to go beyond life-saving practices and delve into the range of human interactions. How you deal with a panicking spouse or approach an uncertain situation is just as much a part of the call as to how you check vitals or intubate a patient.

Modern Immersive EMS Simulation

McCarthy writes that “The science of safe simulation practice must be deliberately integrated into EMS education design and delivery. This practice is nonjudgmental and fosters acceptance, promotes safety principles, allows participants to discover error, and is crisp and purposeful in its execution, driven by sound objectives. It exudes the skills we want our students to embrace to function effectively in an uncontrolled patient care environment. This deliberate practice is driven by quality, not quantity; built from an environment free from ridicule; and safe to support learning, even from errors. Designed activities are based on student readiness and level of function, require established objectives, are trialed before being delivered, utilize assessment rubrics, promote participant self-reflection, and are debriefed by experienced facilitators.”

This is precisely the approach that FAAC has advocated for years: a consistent and controlled response to a crisis situation. As Chuck Deakins, lead subject matter specialist with FAAC’s Training Group, explains:

“We’ve developed interactive training systems specifically designed for EMT/EMS paramedic personnel. These give you the opportunity to train your students in a safe environment, but under conditions of the real-world, conditions that are constantly evolving, conditions that are stressful and sometimes even threatening. And yet, within the safety of your training center, you can impart upon them the knowledge and experience that you have as to how to handle these situations and how to work through the situations.”

FAAC’s latest generation of EMS simulation systems embrace a complete continuum of training, moving past the traditional focus on medical hard skills. Systems like their EMS Driving Simulator have proven to both increase safety and reduce response teams. Meanwhile, the immersive Response EMS simulator focuses entirely on soft-skills and situational awareness on the scene. These are systems that demonstrably increase engagement and ensure consistency across your entire training program.