Hands on practice makes perfect for EMS students

Emergency Medical and Paramedic students at Black Hawk College participated in a drill on April 27th to simulate real-life drama that they will soon face after graduating this May.

Marci Miner, one of the adjunct professors for EMS, said that this drill is designed to help the students be ready for real-life when they graduate. “They have to be able to save a life,” Miner remarked. “Hands on learning is important in this profession, and much more effective with live people than with mannequins.”

The drill took place out by the baseball field next to the parking lot near Building 2. In place was the new ambulance recently purchased for Black Hawk’s medical students. Paramedics from Genesis were on site to assist and ensure students were performing procedures correctly.
Medic students were faced with the scenario where a drunk driver plowed into a group of students who were attending an outdoor event.

College staff members played the part of injured participants as some lay on the ground, some across the hood of the car, and some inside the car with the drunken driver. While each actor was given a role to play, they were allowed to adlib the part to make it seem more real.

Students were not told ahead of time what scenario they would face to be true to a real-life emergency. Paramedics generally arrive on an emergency scene and have to very quickly assess what happened, who the victims are, and what care the victims immediately need. In addition, injuries were not assigned to specific students, but rather, students pulled numbers out of a hat that would correspond with an injured party outside.

Carl Spoljoric currently works as an EMT and is at Black Hawk to receive his EMS-Paramedic certificate. His mock-patient had a lacerated chin and a bruised chest with possible pneumothorax (collapsed lung). Spoljoric’s EMT experience combined with class and clinical time had effectively prepared him to deal with the scenario he faced.

He felt this experience was an effective tool to ensure that he is prepared for graduation and beyond.

Spoljoric stated, “students would benefit best if a drill like this could be integrated into the college curriculum as a whole, such as including nursing students to take care after a simulated transport, such as with a tent set up to be a mock emergency department.”
He added, “the significance of such an undertaking isn’t lost on me but the gains from such an addition to the curriculum would be monumental.”