Iowa city fire, EMS personnel train using state-of-the-art simulations
The "Simulation In Motion-Iowa" program uses a mobile simulation lab that is meant to take on the look and feel of an ambulance
By Andrea Grubaugh
Muscatine Journal, Iowa
MUSCATINE, Iowa — Last week, the Muscatine Fire Department had the opportunity to take a three-day training course called "Simulation In Motion-Iowa", offered by University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics.
Designed using state-of-the-art equipment and skilled instructors as well as a mobile simulation lab that is meant to take on the look and feel of an ambulance, the "Simulation In Motion-Iowa" program is a tool to help give EMS personnel a chance for more training while also making them feel like they're getting experience in the field.
According to Lt. Andrew McSorely, who serves as the Critical Care Paramedic at the Muscatine Fire Department, this is the first time the department has used this specific training program, which is offered cost-free by the University of Iowa to any EMS service that requests it, allowing participants to train for skills that rarely get to be practiced, learn new skills and hone teamwork abilities.
"We've known about the program for a little while," McSorely said. "One of our EMS shifts — Red Shift — contacted them, and they were able to get it set up. With unique training like this, we try to set it up where it's available for all three shifts to do."
During the training session, participants went into one of the two available simulation ambulances and met a different training scenario — one an adult patient who had been stabbed in the leg with a tree branch after falling 18 feet, and the other a juvenile patient with an unknown sickness.
What truly makes this type of simulation unique from others is the inclusion of the highly realistic training mannequins that are controlled by the simulation's instructors in another room. With state-of-the-art tech, these dummies are not only able to bleed fake blood or have a fake pulse, but they can also talk, blink, vomit, sweat and breathe, allowing the participants in the situation to truly feel as if they are working on a real patient.
"The mannequin patients react to your treatment, and you get to practice a lot of skills that usually you don't do a lot of — like needle decompressions, which some EMS workers never get to do in their career, intubations and tourniquets — and it was fun to do that," McSorely explained.
After each scenario, the teams were assessed on how they did and how well they performed their protocols. They also had the opportunity to discuss what they had learned and were given constructive feedback on how they can improve, giving them the means to be even more prepared the next time they come across a similar scenario in the field.
"As a department, we can look back at these results and see where we need to pick up training a little bit more and hit on that for the next couple years," McSorely said. "I can't speak about Blue and Red Shift because I'm on Green, but everyone on my shift talked very highly of the experience. Our shift, I feel, did really well. It was fun seeing everyone there actually getting to perform skills and doing the assessments. I definitely think (this training program) is something we will utilize more in the future."
McSorely then took a moment to thank the University of Iowa for the opportunity, adding that he hopes to bring in this type of training again once or twice a year.
"Doing training like this shows where our department's headed and how aggressive we are as a department on the EMS side of things, keeping up with the times and making sure everyone is up on their skills and fine-tuning everything so we can be at our best for the community," he said.
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