The field of emergency medical services is one of the most closely regulated industries in the world. In order to remain compliant with state and federal mandates while also ensuring that EMS personnel can provide adequate levels of care, EMS agencies must develop robust training programs.
While the exact topics covered in a program will vary depending on the scope of care provided and other factors, every EMS agency should address the following topics when creating training initiatives.
1. Emergency Vehicle Operation
Before EMS teams can save a life, they must be able to arrive safely on the scene. In light of this fact, EMS organizations should incorporate comprehensive emergency vehicle operation training into their educational programs.
Operating an ambulance or another emergency response vehicle in high-stress scenarios requires vigilance, skill, and a thorough understanding of the vehicle itself.
When administering emergency vehicle operations training, EMS agencies should cover topics such as:
- Defensive driving
- Dangers of fatigued or distracted driving
- Hazards of navigating active intersections
- Safe backing procedures
- Factors that may contribute to accidents (weather, low light)
By including emergency vehicle operations in their training programs, EMS agencies can protect their staff members, reduce civil liability, and enhance their ability to serve patients.
2. Caring for Patients with an Altered Mental Status
Mental health crises have become a mainstream topic in recent years. In response, law enforcement agencies across the nation are actively training their officers in de-escalation techniques and other strategies that they can deploy when they encounter individuals in crisis.
While officers will often be the first individuals that respond to volatile scenes, EMS staff will be tasked with stabilizing and transporting patients. Therefore, EMS agencies must provide their personnel with proper training on how to care for patients with an altered mental status.
When they are creating this training block, EMS agencies should address topics such as:
- Identifying psychiatric emergencies
- Intentional de-escalation techniques
- Effects of synthetic drugs
- How to properly protect themselves from violent patients
In addition, it is important to note that interacting with patients suffering from a self-induced altered mental status regularly can be a major source of EMS burnout.
EMS agencies can combat burnout by providing their staff members with access to mental health resources, education on healthy coping strategies, and healthy workplace culture.
3. Trauma Response
Annual training courses should also include refreshers on trauma response. EMS agencies should use these training opportunities to review common topics such as:
- Mechanisms of injury
- Treating shock
- Pain management principles
- Restricting spinal motion
- Bleeding control
When providing trauma response training, EMS agencies can also introduce staff members to new techniques or teach them how to use innovative equipment.
Trauma response is an essential skill when responding to incidents involving gunshot wounds, stab wounds, machine-induced injuries, and motor vehicle accidents.
By exhibiting proficiency in trauma response techniques, EMS personnel may be able to stabilize patients long enough to transport them to the nearest emergency care facility.
4. Self-Care and Scene Safety
Also known as “provider safety,” self-care or scene safety is an often overlooked training topic. However, it is perhaps one of the most important subjects to include in EMS training programs. This broad topic should address everything from how to respond to workplace injuries to the importance of situational awareness.
EMS agencies can incorporate additional topics into this training block depending on the needs of their organization. For instance, if an agency has issued its staff body armor, then the scene safety block of instruction should review how to properly deploy that piece of equipment.
The self-care block of training is also a great time to discuss workplace culture, stress management, and staff mental health. EMS agencies should reiterate that personnel cannot properly care for patients if they do not first care for themselves.
5. Airway Management
Airway management is one of the most basic principles of patient care. However, deploying effective airway management techniques in a time-efficient manner requires regular practice.
During airway management training, EMS staff should review relevant topics like:
- Assessing lung sounds
- Protecting the airway
- Selecting appropriate airway devices
- Bag valve mask techniques
Airway management has a significant impact on both short-term and long-term patient outcomes. As such, airway management should be a staple of any EMS training program.
Seamless Training Solutions from NinthBrain
While every EMS professional understands the importance of training, administering essential educational resources to all staff members can be incredibly costly — at least it used to be.
NinthBrain’s leading-edge Learning Management System allows your organization to reduce travel and training costs without diminishing the quality of your training program.
You can upload custom training programs in virtually any major format, create online exams, and track course completion status across your entire organization. You can also access over 300 accredited online courses from the NBS Educational Library.
Book your demo today to learn more.