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April 1, 2021

Virtual training helps emergency responders improve patient care

Michigan State University is offering paramedics and emergency medical technicians across the state a first-of-its-kind professional development program that uses virtual instructional technology designed to improve patient care and outcomes.

Medical personnel are usually first responders at the scene of an emergency and provide care to patients before they arrive at the hospital. MSU’s Learning and Assessment Center created a one-stop-shop for prehospital training using virtual professional development programs. The training provides opportunities for first responders to obtain and maintain certifications on multiple skills and even specialized training.

“What makes this program unique is the delivery of multiple cases or stations that the learners rotate through virtually,” said Mary Kay Smith, director of MSU’s LAC in the College of Osteopathic Medicine.” This format allows us to improve accessibility of professional development for prehospital personnel.”

Centralized training saves time and gets first responders back on the job faster. Currently, they often have to travel across the state to access difficult-to-find courses. It can take paramedics and EMTs multiple days to complete all of the required training. 

The training module topics range from the expected such as a heart attack to the unexpected such as an accidental pediatric overdose. Another part of the training is to help responders notice signs of abuse or human trafficking that a patient might not disclose. There are also specialized training modules for infant and child issues or treating a woman who is pregnant. 

“One of the cases is a ‘house of horrors’ where responders are immersed in a home environment. They have to identify safety issues while trying to care for the patients, Smith said. We also incorporate multiple topic areas necessary for maintenance of their state licensure, some of which are difficult for them to find.” 

The training is open to any licensed paramedic or EMT. This includes new, veteran and everyone in between. The virtual training is currently offered through Zoom and in person using virtual reality training options available at the LAC.

“The goal is to help responders learn new skills to be able to provide a better standard of care and improve patient outcomes throughout the state,” Smith said.

By: Emilie Lorditch

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