Newly certified Medical First Responders integral to far north communities
- EFN Staff | March 01, 2019
While looking to the future of health care in Northern Saskatchewan, a need for qualified medical responders and paramedics was quickly identified.
In response to this need, Athabasca Basin Medical teamed up with the Prince Albert Grand Council – Dene to provide training at the Medical First Responder 2 level for eight local students. The ultimate goal being to provide students with a basic understanding of emergency medicine while encouraging them to further their knowledge by entering the field of paramedicine.
“This group of students should be very proud of their strong work ethic and dedication to the program,” said course instructor Kathy Christmann. “Their commitment to study was shown in the 100% attendance rate, 86% overall class average, and the fact that 100% of the participants received their Medical First Responder Level 2 certification.”
Throughout the fourteen-day program, four students from Black Lake, three from Stony Rapids and one from Wollaston Lake started their intensive training with Standard First Aid and CPR C for Health Care Professionals, then quickly progressed to learning anatomy and physiology, oxygen therapy, monitoring blood glucose, taking vital signs including blood pressures, pulses, respiratory rates and lung sounds.
Each day, the group would spend the first half hour practicing their clinical skills they had learned in previous sessions, then spend the next eight hours expanding and building on their knowledge of emergency medicine. Although they attended class from 8:30 AM until 6 PM, the participants soon discovered that the key to success would also mean hours of home study in the evening. For many, this meant hitting the books in the evening, often until midnight to prepare for the next days challenges. Students were assessed on their academic knowledge through a series of four written Medical First Responder exams in oxygen therapy, anatomy and physiology, a mid-term and a final. To pass and move on the students had to achieve a mark of 80% or higher in each of these exams.
Additionally, students were also marked on their hands-on skills through a series of scenarios that the instructor provided each day. Although students were continuously assessed by their instructor, the final challenge came on Day 12 when Derek Keller, the Director of Primary Care for the Athabasca Health Region, was invited to help assess the overall student performance in scenarios as a second evaluator.
This was very beneficial, as Keller would like to bring these new graduates under his wing as Medical First Responders in the community to provide immediate care in emergency situations while awaiting the arrival of the ambulance.
To respond as a Medical First Responder through a community responder program, trained responders must be licensed under their health region in accordance with Saskatchewan Health.
Athabasca Basin Medical, a division of Athabasca Basin Security, has been working with PAGC, AHA and other groups to deliver several training courses in the Athabasca Region.
“We have been honoured to work with AHA to deliver several SFA/CPR C training courses to their front-line staff, and Team Drilling to provide SFA/CPR C/WHMIS and TDG training for their Driller’s Helper course, and the communities of Stony Rapids and Fond Du Lac,”said Christmann. “I’m excited to have had these opportunities to provide training to the people of the North, and I look forward to future opportunities.”
Plans are currently in the works to offer another Medical First Responder Course this month.