I love Nashville, so one of theÂ highlights from myÂ trip to EMS World Expo was eating at Jack’s BBQ on Broadway, but there was also plenty more to be excited about at the actual show held inÂ the Music City Center this week. While I missed the Preconference sessions and World Trauma Symposium, I arrived on Tuesday for the opening ceremonies. The keynote presentation was by Dr. Alexander Eastman on the subject of “Improving Survivability During Mass Shootings”. EMS1 did a quick article on the talk covering hisÂ two main points: first, that EMS must train more closely with other services such as law enforcement, and the second that we must take better advantage of hemorrhage control technology and become true “experts” at controlling blood loss. After all, the mass-shooting scene resembles the battlefield and people die there from the same wounds that soldiers do in war.
Choosing which classes to attend is always a difficult task; however, it is the key to getting the most value from a major EMS conference like this one. Sessions varied from the High Performance EMS Master Class on the “10 Top Tips for Improving Your Operations” with Rob Lawrence to “The Psychology of Pediatric Resuscitation in the Field” with Dr. Peter Antevy. They can both be frightening in their own way, but facing your fears for the benefit of others is what we do. So choose the topic where what you learn can be directly applied in your service. Learn everything you can and go home determined to make a difference with your new found knowledge. In some cases, that knowledge may be applied at a more personal level, as David Page reminded us in a session about our own mental health. He asked us to “Repeat after me: We diagnose and we are OK with that.”
It is also good toÂ check out some of the lessÂ traditional learning opportunities such as watching (or even participating in) live podcast recordings, labs, and topical panel discussions. Several thought-provoking ideas came out during the EMS Education panel yesterday where instructors shared openly whileÂ earning CE credit. For instance, “you know there’s a problem with our standards when our EMTs can’t give Narcan, but our LEOs can.” Â And ideas that challenge current thinking such as how to move out of the classroom in order toÂ provide more realistic field experience or simulating that experience by integrating smartphoneÂ apps that can do everything a book can do, and even cost less while still being more mobile.
The simulation lab in the exhibit hall was an excellent opportunity to play with some of the latest in patient simulation technology. I specifically sought out an infant CPR simulator from Laerdal Medical that not only helped me feel the right depth and rhythm of compressions, but it provided feedback on respiration quality withÂ various infant ages/sizes too. This is experience I seldom get in the field or have the experience to feel comfortable doing well. Many other exhibitors also provided simulation manikins and an equal number provided moulage aids to make up real volunteers as trauma victims. EMS World recognizes the top innovators in the exhibit hall each year with an award and links articles toÂ their products on its website. You can check out the latest award recipients here.
For those who could not make it to the show in person, you were certainly not alone. My friend Greg Friese, who normally posts Everyday EMS Tips,Â was also not able to attend this year butÂ described how heÂ followed what was happening by using social networking and posted his observations here. No matter how you get your news, just be sure to get the news and stay current in the exciting and changing field that is your profession.