Ambulance Simulators enable Emergency Medical Service (EMS) professionals to realistically train for the unique challenges of patient care within a confined and mobile space. Ranging from simple environmental wallpaper coverings for static sim lab rooms to fully immersive simulated ambulances on moving hydraulic presses with realistic lights and sirens, ambulance simulation has quickly become a key component in educating and training EMS providers.
Providing EMS students and professionals with realistic training is crucial to their success in the field. By providing EMS learners with the opportunity to train in the most realistic way possible, clinical educators can reduce costs associated with medical errors while improving provider performance (See: Simulation Training Proven to Reduce Infection Rate & Hospital Costs).
Starting an IV or performing CPR while a patient is stationery is one level of mastery for new EMS providers. But as any EMS professional will surely attest, performing these skills while in the back of an Ambulance that is racing through to the hospital is a completely different experience. By providing medical simulation learning experiences that closely resemble the realities of professional care in a consistent and qualitative manner, EMS educators can best prepare learners for the real world.
To further increase realism in the Ambulance Simulator, institutions, organizations and government-funded entities can invest in high-fidelity ambulance trainers. In late 2020, Harnett County EMS unveiled its new, state-of-the-art ambulance simulator, the Simbulance (SIM-1) at the Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine. The unit is a joint partnership between Dunn Emergency Services, Harnett County Emergency Services, and Campbell University. The ambulance simulator is designed to allow paramedics to have a mobile ambulance utilized as a dedicated training environment.
The U.S. military also takes healthcare simulation seriously with the use of medical simulators like the WAVE, wherein combat medics engage in patient assessment, movement, and care within simulated battlefield conditions. “Practice as you play”, as they say. And yet, a 2014 National “SUPER” Survey by the National Association of EMS Educators (NAEMSE) found that more than 30% of United States healthcare schools with simulation technology cannot utilize the millions of dollars of gifted equipment because they “do not have the training required to operate these devices”. But with very little technical hurdles to overcome with the use of Ambulance Simulators, it is a wonder why more programs don’t encourage this type of realistic simulated learning.
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Simple wall paper coverings to create more realistic ambulance environments can be found from vendors like those from Kwickscreen. Increased realism can be achieved in makeshift ambulance and EMS simulation scenarios with video wall projections like the systems found from Immersive Interactive, which create the visual and auditory experience of being ‘on scene’. The highest fidelity Ambulance Simulators sit on hydraulic presses to mimic vehicle movement, and have working lights, sirens combined with audiovisual recording and debriefing systems. Here are examples of Ambulance Simulators:
The Vassar Simbulance was developed at Vassar College as part of the school’s on-campus EMT training program. The goal was that, through use of the Simbulance, learners would find mastering the necessary skills to handle emergencies out in the field easier. The healthcare simulation solution also allowed them to begin building these necessary skills earlier in their training.
The Simbulance project came about from the desire to provide a more realistic simulated experience—one that includes lifting and moving a patient to an ambulance, performing skills in the back of an ambulance, calling in reports to the hospital and taking the patient out of the ambulance and bringing them to the next point of care in the ED. Omri Bereket, EMT, a Vassar student and set builder with Vassar’s Drama Department, designed the Simbulance and served as the clinical simulator’s lead builder.
DiaMedical, a medical device company, distributes a SimRig that provides EMS learners and educators with the ability to practice scenarios in an environment that represents the reality of the ambulance workspace. With the SimRigs Standard Diamond Plate Package, learners will have the realism and feel of an actual ambulance.
SimRig’s compact design allows learners to experience the hardships of working within the confined space of a real ambulance before their first day in the field. The entire class can be involved in simulation training, either through participation or observation. Learners can observe how their classmates conduct a simulation and learn from each other’s mistakes and successes.
Ambulance Simulators by Rescue Simulation Products allow learners to perform EMS tasks and protocols in a realistic environment. Rescue Simulation Products’ mission is to provide frontline innovative simulation products for creating reproducible life-like scenarios while enhancing the training experience of novice and professionals alike.
The company’s The RSP Rescue Ambulance Classroom Simulator represents a value packed scenario and simulation adjunct that provides EMS learners and educators the ability to practice and perfect tasks, procedures, and policies in an environment that represents the reality of the ambulance workspace. The RSP Rescue Ambulance Mobile Simulator is a version of this simulation that provides many of the same features, but that is not stationary.
Simulator Solutions is an ambulance simulator company designed to help learners save lives. The company partners with educators to help their learners experience training scenarios that are as close to real life as possible.
Simulator Solutions’ Bronze Model has the doors removed and features a cutout behind the bench seat to facilitate an external view. This allows learners and educators outside the simulator to easily view and participate as the scenarios play out.
The Silver Model is enclosed and allows learners to shut the doors and feel as though they are in a real ambulance, while allowing external viewing through an audio / video feed. The educator is able to hear, speak to and view the learner as they perform their scenarios. A classroom monitor enables the learners to watch the scenarios as they play out.
The company’s Gold Model is open concept and moves on pneumatics simulating road conditions. This model allows learners to be trained with the distractions that will be prevalent in their job environment. Lastly, the Platinum Model is enclosed and moves on pneumatics simulating road conditions. This model provides the most realistic training experience as it mirrors very closely what learners will encounter in the field.
Using these Ambulance Simulators, educators can record learning experience for debriefing purposes allows learners to re-examine their performance from a 3rd person perspective, providing for self-reflexive learning not possible in any other way. By annotating the live recording of the simulation experience, educators can quickly highlight key moments for group and self-directed learning in the debriefing phase. Vendors who provide audiovisual recording systems include Level 3 Healthcare (SIMStation), EMS SimulationIQ, B-Line Medical, KBPort, and more.