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Rural healthcare professionals from the Three Hills area recently received a unique opportunity to hone their emergency room skills together as a team.
Members of the Rural Coordination Centre of British Columbia (RCCbc ) came to Three Hills Health Centre on November 15-16, 2014 to conduct the Comprehensive Approach to Rural Emergencies (CARE) Course. The course was sponsored by the Alberta Rural Physician Action Plan (RPAP) and marked the first time it has been offered in a rural Alberta community.
Over two-dozen physicians, nurses and paramedics, mostly from Three Hills and Trochu, rotated through 32 skills stations during the weekend course. Course participants received instruction in select emergency procedures, including airway management, trauma care, cardiac care, emergency obstetrics, paediatrics and neo-natal care.
The CARE Course was developed in British Columbia by a team including physicians Rebecca Lindley and Jel Coward, who accompanied a group of rural generalists from B.C. and southwestern Alberta to Three Hills to instruct the two-day course.
“It’s two days of high volume, high intensity scenarios and skills stations, all focused around the rural emergency care is it happens in the real world, in rural Canada,” explained Dr. Lindley, who serves as course co-Director, along with Dr. Coward.
According to Dr. Lindley, the course involves a higher number of scenarios than other educational opportunities, which is important for professionals in rural centres who don’t get to experience the same volume of emergency situations as their urban counterparts.
“For them to have the chance in this two-day course to do high volume scenarios and [to]practise is good learning, and it also helps them get away from performance anxiety.”
Dr. Coward says that building up the experience of the rural emergency team has a beneficial effect on the quality of healthcare in rural communities.
“In rural areas, it’s tricky for [practitioners] with low resources, so when the paramedics bring people in, it’s really nice if they stay in the emergency department and they work with the nurses and physicians, and if we can build those teams in rural areas, the notion is that the rural care will improve. “
Trochu physician, Dr. Adina McBain, worked with RCCbc and RPAP to bring the CARE Course to the community after first learning of the course from her Three Hills colleague, Dr. Luke Savage.
Dr. McBain believes the course’s impact extends beyond skills training. She says that CARE coordinators really work to make it a fun involvement, creating a safe environment to share and work together.
“I think everyone, the EMS, nursing and physicians who are participating have really found that it’s less about the content and it’s more about the communications and team-building. We’ve had a lot of laughter this weekend, and really just a lot of fun.”
Dr. Savage agrees, adding that working together with local professionals in their home environment creates familiarity amongst the team with their facility and the tools at their disposal.
“It’s good to learn how to work together in a little bit less stressful environment,” says Dr. Savage. “It just really builds that camaraderie and that team work, and now we kind of know a little bit better how we work together as a team.”
For more info on the CARE Course, visit www.theCAREcourse.ca.
RPAP | Health Workforce for Alberta is the Alberta Rural Physician Action Plan, a provincially-focused comprehensive, integrated, and sustained program for the education, recruitment, and retention of physicians for rural medical practice.
Photo: Instructors from RCCbc led physicians, nurses and paramedics from the Three Hills area through a series of scenarios and skills stations during the RPAP-sponsored CARE (Comprehensive Approach to Rural Emergencies) Course on October 15-16, 2014 (RPAP / Jonathan Koch)