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CDU student paramedics tested in a simulated explosion

Charles Darwin University (CDU) student paramedics put through their paces after “explosion”.
Charles Darwin University (CDU) student paramedics put through their paces after “explosion”.

Charles Darwin University (CDU) paramedic students were put through their paces in a real-life scenario that included the sights and sounds they would expect while responding to emergencies.

The students were required to treat patients in a variety of conditions, while all around them, there were chaotic scenes of destruction, noise, emergency lights and distractions.

The planned immersive scenario was devised by CDU Lecturer in Paramedic Science Paul Reeves, who planned an explosive event with multiple causalities and victims with various injuries.

“What they (the paramedic students) are facing is an explosive event at a public gathering with multiple victims,” Mr Reeves said.

"Students will need to identify the extent of injuries and decide an order of treatment amongst the multiple injuries."

Mr Reeves said the second-year students would be required to evaluate the seriousness of the injuries and then treat patients with limited resources to get the best outcome for all.

Jack Soames is a second-year paramedicine student who took part in the exercise. 

“Hopefully, we won’t have to face anything like that in our careers, but it’s good to get exposed to it,” Mr Soames said.

“To be honest, the noise, lights and people grabbing me didn’t distract me too much because I was focused on what I was doing. I think if I was overwhelmed by anything, it was the volume of work to be done.”

Mr Soames said he previously worked in construction and was used to a busy and noisy workplace.

Mr Reeves said students relied on their quick decision-making, planning, critical thinking, and communication.

“We had a distracting scene with dismemberment. We had critical patients, and this prompted the students to use their paramedic skills,” he said.

“This goes beyond that ability of just treating individual conditions.”

He said the scenario training gets them to practice their skills on the move and under duress like an actual event, with the purpose of building confidence as well as learning about how they perform under pressure.

The approach harnesses the quote from Greek philosopher Archilochus, in that we don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.

Mr Reeves has had the experience in emergency paramedicine to set up a realistic scene after spending years as an intensive care flight paramedic and medical rescue specialist.

Earlier this month, he and a small team from the CDU paramedicine course headed to the Finke Desert Race in Alice Springs to provide medical support.

Find out more about CDU paramedicine courses.

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