Mission simulation for HEMS medics

The leap from classroom learning to real-world practice can be bridged using simulation training, as Mandy Langfield explains.


Time pressure, seriously injured patients and minimal equipment mean that medical crew members onboard air ambulance helicopters have to think fast, adapting to their given mission parameters in seconds. While much can be learnt in a classroom, simulation training is an essential part of ongoing education. Simulation allows participants to practise the non-clinical parts of their jobs in addition to taking care of a patient – so medical procedures, crew communication, situational awareness, and the need for fast decision making under stressful conditions, are all being practised at the same time.


Training courses that provide simulation scenarios are indispensable for air ambulance operators, notes Brad Matheson of US-based Priority1 Air Rescue, as it’s difficult in the commercial HEMS world to provide pilots and helicopter medical personnel with the flight-time experience they need to practise all the skills that enable them to perform as an effective aircrew member, such as crew resource management, situational awareness, confined area landings, scene location/searches, landing zone selection and co-ordination and night vision goggle operations.


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