Mobile Lab Bridges EMT Training Gap

Volunteers train in new Simulation in Motion trucks equipped to keep victims alive during a 45-minute ambulance ride


January 3, 2018

University of Nebraska Medical Center

One of the mixed blessings of living in a rural community is the medical response.

Frequently, the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) responding to a call is a volunteer who has committed at least 150 hours in training in addition to the required yearly training. The EMTs volunteer because they care and because they are drawn to that line of work, emergency medicine.

However, quality training is a challenge in rural areas. Depending on the level of training needed, the classroom and hands-on experience is hours away from the home town.

Some of that conflict has changed for the better with the Simulation In Motion program.

"It is amazing," said Polly Olson, co-coordinator of the Chappell Ambulance Service.

Olson is also an EMS instructor through Western Nebraska Community College.

According to Olson, the Simulation In Motion is a program that uses interactive mannequins to teach life-saving skills.

"By our actions, they (class administrators) can change the reactions of the mannequin," she said.

The mannequins are far advanced from the days of "resusci-Anne" when CPR students were taught life-saving techniques with a torso and head. The mannequins have almost life-like responses, from expressions of pain to changes in blood pressure or heart rhythm. Olson said a van - a 44-foot truck with two simulation spaces - is fitted with an ambulance and an emergency room scenario.

Each simulation lab is staffed with licensed, experienced healthcare professionals and educators to provide a realistic, safe and relaxed learning environment, according to the University of Nebraska Medical Center's website. Olson said Simulation In Motion is scheduled to return to Chappell in March. The theme will be obstetrics with a mannequin delivering a baby.

In 2016, the Associated Press announced a $5.5 million grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Trust to provide four mobile classrooms to train emergency responders in rural Nebraska for three years.

The program is supported by a grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Trust.


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