First Arriving Network
First Arriving Network

EMS Education Evolution

Teaching Critical Thinking

At last week's EMS Expo in New Orleans I got a chance to see how other educators are implementing the 2009 Educational Standards.

Elimination of Linear Checklists

EMT textbook author Dan Limmer points out that the emphasis on student understanding of pathophysiology and physiology is eliminating rote memorization of a linear checklist. 

But this will be a challenge.

In an earlier version of the EMT textbook, a graphic was used to provide a big picture of patient assessment. The graphic was eliminated when it was learned that the students were using it as a step-by-step linear checklist.

Limmer is promoting complaint-based patient assessment. When he teaches EMT he presents a patient situation and asks the students:

"What three questions will you ask the patient?"

Wearing his other hat, Limmer released two free smart phone applications at the Expo:

101 Last Minute Study Tips (paramedic and emt versions)  Click HERE

Problem Based Learning

Art Hsieh, Paramedic Program director at Santa Rosa Junior College and textbook author, demonstrated the technique of using problem based learning to teach complex ems topics.

Working in small groups, students use the textbook, internet, smart phone and experiences to evaluate a patient, provide a differential diagnosis and develop a treatment plan.

The faculty member functions as facilitator. Each case study takes about an hour.

Hsieh says that he used five patient case studies to cover all of the medical conditions in the paramedic educational standards –  outside of cardiac and respiratory. Students exposed to problem based learning tend to do better on exams than those that memorized a check list.













Both educators are blazing paths that we need to follow to better serve the ems student.  Just as New Orleans EMS utilize this narrow transport unit when working large events, like Halloween in the French Quarter.

Mike "FossilMedic" Ward

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