“Think back to the roots of your EMS education. No matter when it was, there were probably manikins. From a simple CPR trainer to today’s high-fidelity manikins, the face of EMS education is evolving to include a focus on simulation because it provides consistency and creates clinical opportunities to assess and treat patients who students may not see during their clinical rotations.
Despite this great potential, it’s important to characterize the current use of simulation in EMS education before our profession can move forward in studying and developing best practices for the use of simulation. Researchers from the National Association of EMS Educators (NAEMSE) have filled this void through an effort to help the stakeholders of EMS education target educational initiatives and resources.
Background: Study authors, including Research Review contributor Elliot Carhart, sent surveys to 638 paramedic programs that were accredited or in the process of becoming accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education. The survey consisted of 56 items, primarily multiple-choice questions along with a limited number of open-ended responses for clarification purposes. The questions asked respondents if they had–or had access to–and if they used various types of manikins and other simulation equipment. The survey also captured information about other methods of simulation, such as standardized patients, computer-based scenarios and games, and virtual reality simulation. They also asked about training and the program’s personnel resources. Additional questions focused on how each program used simulation (e.g., teaching, testing, etc.), with other questions designed to capture the respondents’ perspective on the use of simulation in EMS education.
Thoughts: The results of this study suggest that a large portion of the EMS education community is experiencing similar problems with the use of simulation as a training modality. The findings regarding inadequate personnel resources aren’t surprising, as EMS educators must often wear many hats when incorporating simulation into their practical scenarios (e.g., operating equipment while facilitating a simulation). Trying to do too much with too little is likely to lead to frustrated educators, idle equipment and missed opportunities for learning.”