Educating Medical Educators
West Texas is a community of communities spread over hundreds of miles of flat land that seems to create a value system of mutual obligation. Charity, humility, and selflessness are second nature to the people in this part of Texas. With every story of tragedy, there’s an equally powerful story of grace and service. Being a hospital in West Texas means that these individual values are engrained in the hospital’s culture, too—a culture built by the same generous individuals that might stop during rush-hour traffic to help a stranger change a tire. UMC EMS is defined first and foremost by its commitment to service, and they serve as a reflection of our community’s values. However, their lifesaving skills don’t begin and end in the field. EMS contributes to an educational network in West Texas that extends UMC’s healing reach, fostering the health and well-being of people in some of our smallest surrounding communities.
“How many times have you traveled to Dallas or Slaton by car?” Chad Curry, EMS Training Chief, FP-C, and Paramedic, asks, “What if we roll our vehicle? At some point, something like that is going to happen to someone I know, and they’re going to go to one of our smaller regional partner facilities. I want those facilities to be trained.” UMC has a critical role in providing exactly that type of training. On top of servicing over 63,000 calls annually, EMS provides a whole series of skills-based training to local middle schools, high schools, and rural health facilities throughout the region. Training might include anything from Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) for medical professionals to the H.B. 497-mandated “Stop the Bleed” training, meant to teach students triage in the wake of tragedies like that in Uvalde, Texas. Chad says that these training sessions are saving lives every day.
“I remember a story from a high school where a boy slipped and accidentally put his hand through a glass window, severing an artery,” Chad recalls. “His teacher, one of those educators trained by our organization, created a makeshift tourniquet out of her scarf and saved that kid’s life.” By certifying an educator to teach other educators or students, the lifesaving potential increases exponentially. A more medically-minded and medically-trained community will lead to an overall healthier community. These communities become more self-sufficient and able to stabilize even some of the most severely injured patients long enough to get them to the expert care available in our Level 1 Trauma Center at UMC. UMC EMS boasts training no less than 22,000 students in six weeks in critical lifesaving skills like “Stop the Bleed” and CPR. A team of over 100 EMS instructors travels throughout the region, establishing UMC as the region’s primary educator in courses that create better outcomes for our surrounding communities.
Another unique and valuable capability UMC has is that our EMS is hospital-based. As a result, EMS instructors can contact specialty physicians and request that they join during training sessions. Specialists can, in turn, provide unprecedented insight into high-level knowledge and skills that could make all the difference. Chad says that’s the most important point: “The goal is the best outcome for the patient. Period.” But since UMC is a leader in training, our organization leaves lasting impressions on the community. These impressions undoubtedly result in a referral pattern that brings new patients to UMC because they trust us. If we’re willing to go out of our way to prepare communities abroad, we’re prepared to give the same excellent service and dedication to any patient that walks through our door. Saving lives and caring for patients in our nearby communities is the most important part of our mission. It’s a mission our talented EMS staff takes seriously every day.