5 ways to get the most bang for your buck when buying EMS education products

An educational product is only as good as the hands you put it in, so carefully consider your teaching methods

Updated June 4, 2014 

From low-tech to high-tech, low-cost to high-cost, every product has the opportunity to improve knowledge, skills and ability it is really up to the educator to use the product.

Carefully think through how the product will be implemented, which includes initial in-service training and ongoing training, as well as storage and maintenance. When purchasing new products for EMS education and training, consider these five points.

Sweet Extrication System.
Sweet Extrication System. (Image S&S Medical Products)

1. When to buy. Within the constraints of your budgeting cycle, purchase new equipment so it arrives when faculty and training staff have time to learn how to use the product. During the learning phase, have staff plan for when they might use the product during upcoming courses.

2. Different learning styles. The more complex the tool, the more time needed to learn to use the product. When I was shown the ALSi simulator from iSumulate, my first instinct was start tapping and exploring. Other instructors might prefer a more structured demo.

3. Training and instructions. I learned about the kits and Medical Moulage textbook from Moulage Concepts. When creating Moulage, some instructors want step-by-step instructions; others just need to visualize the end product and make it up as they go.

4. Changing teaching methods. The Rapid Capnography Resource, from WorldPoint, is a low-tech and low-cost tool for teaching end-tidal CO2 capnography waves. If you start using this instruction tool you might need to stop using a different instructional method. Be thoughtful about which tools you use, rather than just throwing the kitchen sink at your students.

5. Practice makes perfect. It will take practice to properly sequence a new product into training. Be able to use the product well, and learn the students’ questions that will emerge from the training aid.

Select products that you can use often in training. An expensive product that you can only use once a year or semester might not be the best use of limited resources.

To fully understand the potential of a training product, turn it over to your students. Challenge them to incorporate the product into their learning and practice.

I would provide little specific instruction on vehicle extrication to EMT students if I had the Sweet Extrication System. Instead I would challenge students to work together, apply principles for spinal motion restriction, and be creative to extricate a classmate 10 or more different ways. They will learn what works and what doesn’t through experience better than they will by listening to me lecture or demo for them.

How do you incorporate a new tool or method into your training program? Share your tips, ideas, and resources in the comments for making the most of new EMS education and training products.

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