Aeromedical Academy: what is it all about?
Top trained medical staff with international experience and team spirit is a must on all ambulance flights. Patient safety always comes first. But how do you keep the entire team up to date? What kind of trainings are in place and what is practiced there? We asked Stella Schneider, Chief Flight Nurse at Air Alliance Germany.
Tell us something about yourself.
I am trained as a pediatric nurse with a specialist exam in anesthesia and intensive care medicine. I have been working in my profession for almost 30 years. I have been dealing with the topic of aeromedical intensive care transport for 15 years. A decisive factor in my enthusiasm was the introduction of an ECMO transport program at the former German children's heart center in Sankt Augustin where I was responsible for the nursing management. I flew a lot on the helicopter. So I got the idea to further qualify in this direction. I first completed part-time training as a paramedic and a HEMS TC course before I earned additionally the US qualification “Certified Flight Paramedic”.
What ist the Aeromedical Academy all about, why do you need it?
Accredited advanced training with CME points is mandatory for doctors. CME points for nursing staff in Germany have only existed since 2003 and so far only on a voluntary basis. In a cycle of five years, a doctor must collect 250 CME points. There are 13 points for our accredited aeromedical training. For example, with only one participation a year, a doctor has already acquired 25% of his CME points for one year. The members of our ambulance flight teams come from different clinics and work there in intensive care units, in anesthesia or in the emergency room. It is therefore even more important to bring them together regularly. Each team consists of a specialist/ consultant and a nurse, all from the areas of anesthesia and intensive care. They are all highly qualified and experienced in their field. In addition, they need targeted training that prepares them for the special challenges of air ambulance flights. The focus is on maintaining specialist expertise and establishing uniform quality standards in the aviation medical field.
What is the content of a training day?
We focus on critical issues related to aeromedical patient transportation. It starts with lectures on changes in the flight physiology of the patient, especially for certain clinical conditions. The handling of medical devices is trained. Training on safety on board is carried out by our training pilots and last but not least, patient safety during critical maneuvers like aircraft evacuation is a major issue. Loading and unloading the patient is often more complex than one might think. Medical emergencies are also trained on board. In addition to the purely technical problem solving, great importance is attached to communication basics according to the Resource Management team. The teams have to operate in a very small space and, unlike in the clinic, cannot call on additional colleagues for support. Every grip has to be there and the equipment has to be mastered safely.
Resuscitation training (Advanced Life Support / ALS), emergency training and hygiene training are among the mandatory in-house training courses in the hospitals. As all team members are obliged to continue their hospital work, we ensure that everyone is up-to-date with regard to guidelines and therapy recommendations and that skills are kept.
What kind of trainings do you do and how often?
We do the training days once a quarter in our home base, which has the highest practical relevance. Each team member should attend a training day at least once a year. We also offer online training for our teams. You should attend a webinar at least twice a year. In addition to active flight operations, the training is an important component for our crew scoring, upon which the duty roster is based.
This crew scoring from level 1 = junior to level 4 = senior expert consists of a competence check and a risk assessment. We would for example never allow a team to fly together that consists of two junior members. In this way, new colleagues benefit from ambulance flights if they fly with a higher-rated colleague. Newcomers feel a lot safer if they know that the team partner has been to Nigeria 10 times and is familiar with the local conditions. The scoring is dynamic, with more experience and regular training, the colleagues achieve a higher status.
Who can participate?
We currently only offer our training courses for our own teams. However, for some time now we have also had many inquiries from external participants and customers. Here we still have to work out an overall concept in order to make it a "well-rounded thing". As an international company with an additional location in the UK, we want to offer bilingual training in the future.
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