86 MDG EMTs receive revamped refresher course

Story and photos by Senior Airman Devin Boyer
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Emergency medical technicians join hands before a training simulation at the 86 MDG Simulation Center June 29 on Ramstein. As part of the EMT refresher course, the students had to work together to accomplish the training.

The 86th Medical Group’s simulation staff conducted refresher training for five emergency medical technicians in a revamped course at the simulation center, June 29.
Medical technicians must take the refresher course every two years as part of their certification requirements. This spring, the Air Force changed the course significantly.
“The traditional EMT course had long PowerPoint lessons and seven skills stations they were evaluated on,” said Master Sgt. Kimberly Taylor, 86 MDG EMT refresher course site coordinator. “For the skills stations, you would memorize the checklists, and perform the skills. It was found that people can memorize the skills, but sometimes when it came to putting to practice in real-world situations, some had difficulty.”
Students are now given a scenario in which they must assess a patient and determine which skills to use to successfully assist the individual.
“The new EMT course that the Air Force just recently switched over to has shorter lectures and more hands-on based training,” she added. “They now only get tested on two skills stations, which are medical and trauma patient assessment.”
Each student used to complete their evaluation solo, but the new program allows students to work in teams.
“So far we’re happy with it,” said Taylor. “The coordinators like the direction on how the course has gone especially working more as a team. You’re taking care of a patient with a partner and you’re managing the care of that patient together like you would in real world.”
Just like the scenarios, the mannequins they trained on were also life-like.
“This is my first time doing the EMT course with (simulated mannequins), a patient that can interact with you,” said Staff Sgt. Tyrone Shannon, EMT refresher course student. “Usually we do it with a regular mannequin that can’t talk or move, or a real person who you can’t do anything to. So now we can actually stick IVs, get responses and listen to respirations.”
During the scenario, one of the patients suffered a loss of limb and was bleeding out. The mannequin spewed simulated blood from the leg and continued doing so until a proper tourniquet was applied to it correctly.
“This EMT refresher course is so much better than any other one I’ve ever been to,” said Shannon.
The coordinators plan to update the training for future classes by getting feedback from the students on how to improve upon it.