Programming Student Waiting Time

In late August, I attended the National Association of EMS Educators Symposium at Walt Disney World. As I waited to board different rides at Epcot Center, I noticed 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 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 Center, I have been thinking about how I could be more focused in programming the time while students wait for their next scenario, skill station, or simulator. These are a few of my ideas:

1. Read a CE article relevant to the scenario.

2. Write the narrative for previous patient assessment scenario.

3. Review a series of drug cards before starting the scenario.

4. Answer 10 multiple choice questions.

5. Write 10 multiple choice questions.

6. Listen to a podcast segment.

7. Measure their partner's vital signs.

8. Create 10 review flash cards.

9. Find a medical reference website.

10. Prepare two questions for review session.

How do you intentionally program your student’s downtime?

About the author

Greg Friese 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

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