Mass. EMT Students Test Skills in MCI Drill
MetroWest Daily News, Framingham, Mass.
July 15—Blood-stained and missing a sock, a man lies face down. Farther away, a woman was tangled in electrical wires.
They and 16 other "victims" were actually mannequins for first responders arriving on the scene. MassBay Community College held a mass casualty incident disaster drill Thursday morning, training students enrolled in a 10-week emergency medical technician (EMT) class. In the scenario, an electrician crossed some wires causing an explosion and leaving 18 people needing immediate care. Students worked quickly around the gym, checking mannequins for vitals to determine the priority of their treatments based on the severity of their conditions.
"They're really beneficial," said student Julia Durning, 19. "You can check their blood pressure, pulse, so many different vitals."
Currently, the college only has two working mannequins to train its nursing, EMT, and paramedicine students. Bought a few years ago, the older mannequins are beginning to fail and offer students limited teaching opportunities. As soon as September, the college will buy eight high-tech mannequins, purchased with a workforce development grant from the state, the Massachusetts Skills Capital Grant.
The new mannequins can blink, bleed, pass urine, vomit and speak. Students can check cartoid pulses, brachial pulses and femoral pulses. One will be used to train students especially for emergency field care, featuring bleeding, pressure-sensitive wounds, spontaneous chest rise and other capabilities, said Lise Johnson Kinahan, the college's coordinator of Skills and Simulation Laboratories.
Another, named Tory, is a newborn simulator with an all-day battery life, active movement and true ventilator support. Tory, at 8 pounds and 21 inches, can cry, seize and simulate abnormal heart or lung sounds.
"It's so hard to simulate these things" for students, said Kinahan. "Now they'll have to manage just like they would in the field."
Elizabeth Cooper, MassBay's assistant director of communications, said the new tools will help MassBay keep up with the skyrocketing demand for paramedics. The employment of emergency medical technicians and paramedics is expected to grow 15 percent from 2016 to 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It's a higher rate than most occupations, where the average is 7 percent.
"It's a growing field," said Cooper. "It's really going to help train and give skills to future health care professionals."
Of the eight mannequins, one is a child and will help shepherd in Pediatric Emergency Assessment, Recognition, and Stabilization (PEARS), new curriculum training students in how to medically treat a child. The certification course is designed specially for medical professionals who see critically ill children infrequently.
"It's good for students to enroll because it's not something we see a lot of in the industry," said George Kinahan, a learning specialist EMS lab assistant. "Pediatrics are so emotional, children can be hard to approach and don't know how to communicate."
After the drill, Durning was exhausted. She said the mannequins made the emergency scenario seem lifelike.
"It makes it feel so much more realistic, a whole other level," said Durning.