How to program EMS students waiting time

Updated September 7, 2016

Here are 10 ideas to program the time while students wait for their next scenario or simulation

In have made many visits to Walt Disney World. Several years ago, while attending the National Association of EMS Educators Symposium, I noticed while waiting to board different rides at Epcot Center that many of the rides had education activities and displays for guests to view as they waited.

On the Mission to Space attraction, I learned a few things about space exploration. At the Soarin' ride, large groups of people interacted with a large video display. Our group motion changed the flight of animated bird through a frozen landscape. We also collaborated to burst balloons that floated across the screen revealing different wildlife and landscape images. The activities helped pass the time, build anticipation for the ride and introduce us to what lay ahead.

As an EMS educator, I know that students frequently wait for their turn at a skill station, high fidelity patient simulator or to complete a patient assessment scenario. Many times students receive vague directions to "review your skill sheets" or "do some studying" while they wait.

After visiting Epcot, I believe educators can do more to focus students' wait time. Intentionally program the time while students wait for their next patient assessment scenario, skill station or simulator. These are a few of my ideas:

1. Read an education article relevant to the scenario.

2. Write the patient care report narrative for previous patient assessment scenario.

3. Review a series of drug with flashcards or a smartphone app before starting the scenario.

4. Answer 10 multiple choice questions.

5. Write 10 multiple choice questions.

6. Listen to a segment from the Inside EMS podcast.

7. Measure their partner's vital signs using these blood pressure assessment tips.

8. Create 10 flash cards for a clinical condition.

9. Research a specific injury or illness on a medical reference website.

10. Prepare two questions to ask the instructor during a review session.

How do you intentionally program your student’s downtime?

About the author

Greg Friese, MS, NRP, is Editor-in-Chief of He is an educator, author, paramedic, and marathon runner. Ask questions or submit tip ideas to Greg by e-mailing him at

  1. Tags
  2. EMS Education
  3. EMS Training
  4. Medical / Clinical
  5. Patient Assessment
  6. Simulation
  7. Simulation Training

Join the discussion

logo for print