A review of the Great North Air Ambulance Pre-Hospital Emergency Medicine Crew Course


BackgroundPrior to joining GNAAS in April 2015, I had worked as an NHS paramedic for 9 years. This included several years on the road as both a rapid response paramedic and on the hazardous area response team (HART). In addition, I gained experience as a paramedic for the British Superbike and MotoGP medical teams at a number of race tracks around the country. After successfully applying to join GNAAS, I was enrolled on the PHEMCC as part of my induction training.Before arriving on the PHEMCC, I had very little knowledge of what the crew course entailed. My preconceived ideas of the course content differed quite significantly from the actual programme. I expected that the main focus would be on providing critical care interventions and studying the evidence base behind them. Although practical training was indeed a key part of the course (particularly performing pre-hospital anaesthesia, thoracostomies, thoracotomies etc.), it was the emphasis on the non-technical aspects like crew resource management (CRM), communication skills, working in close partnership with a senior doctor and developing the interface with other emergency services that surprised me most.A doctor/paramedic team working together in pre-hospital emergency medicine (PHEM) brings a unique skill mix to a critically-injured patient at the scene. There is increasing evidence to suggest that advanced interventions including pre-hospital anaesthesia, blood component therapy and advanced procedural skills, such as thoracotomy, bring an increased survival benefit to the sickest of patients at the roadside (The Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland (AAGBI), 2009; Chesters et al, 2013).‘Before arriving on the PHEMCC, I had very little knowledge of what the crew course entailed. My preconceived ideas of the course content differed quite significantly from the actual programme’Great North Air Ambulance Fleet

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