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Practical CE vs. Competency Verification of Practical Capabilities

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  • 04 Aug 2017 3:44 PM
    Reply # 5012650 on 4777537

    Practical CEs are necessary and relevant.  People that do not have a chance to practice their skills in the field not only refresh but improve their hands on techniques.  It is also a way to introduce new methods and correct bad habits.

    Pushing this out to MCAs (we have 45 agencies) may not have the positive effect you are looking for either.  Although some PMDs are or have been more involved then others, it still remains a proven fact that practical examination is a stressful environment that requires the opportunity to practice prior to testing.  

    The lack of interest in EMS education with fewer ICs can make it harder to supply those practicals but it is well worth the effort once done.

    I believe we should keep them until we can come up with a suitable alternative.

  • 22 Aug 2017 8:07 PM
    Reply # 5042648 on 4777537
    While all of you make valid points on the practical CE's, I do not believe that the unavailability of practical credits is an issue. Our biggest problem is that we have no true grapevine that allows our EMS personnel to know when these classes are available. We need one source that advertises what our IC's are doing across the state. The Fire and Ambulance Services that only teach their own employees need to reach out and allow others to be a part of their instruction, especially with practical CE's. I have held several practical credits in Big Rapids, at MI EMS Education LLC and have received very small numbers for my efforts. I've advertised on radio, in newspapers, through emails and still I am not able to fill my classroom. I could sure use help in this area.

    Now why do practical CE's matter? Remember what drew many of us to learn in the EMS classrooms was the  hands on learning experience. A majority of our EMS and Fire personnel are applicatory learners and not so great with online courses and textbooks. I'm not saying that we're dumb, but I am saying that the practical learning experience enhances the meaning of why we do or do not use certain maneuvers, drugs, equipment, or techniques when handling patients and it's the practical classroom setting that teaches us this. It also give us the opportunity to learn new equipment like the CAT Tourniquet, new ways to obtain bleeding control, or any changes in our local or state protocols. As an NREMT examiner, I often ask my peers why we do not use the "Trendelenburg Technique," anymore, which works great for getting blood immediately to the brain where it is often needed. Very few of my peers have been able to answer this question. I know that the practical research behind it has proven that the horizontal position is equal to the Trendelenburg. Many of us old time Paramedics will disagree with this part of the research (just ask anyone who's quickly awakened a patient from a syncopal episode). The problem, also through research, tells us that the lifting of the legs sends the blood from the feet towards the heart. Prior to reaching its destination; however, it pushes up against the internal organs, which in turn push up against the diaphragm, causing an artificial breathing problem and that's why we don't use the Trendelenburg Technique. Through a practical setting, we can work with our classmates and mannequins to learn IV starts, medication administration, and any other techniques that would be difficult, at best, to learn through verbal instruction. Therefore, it is my humble opinion that we need practical CE's for a better understanding of lecture education material. 

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