Taking Training to the Lab

13 Nov Taking Training to the Lab

In spring of this year, as part of our annual Continuing Medical Education, Guelph-Wellington Paramedic Service partnered with the University of Guelph to provide a unique training opportunity.

When it comes to learning and maintaining skills as a paramedic, students and working medics alike are no stranger to the world of simulation. Most scenarios include verbally explaining a skill instead of actually using equipment on live mock patients, as there are not many volunteers willing to have an interosseous (IO) device drilled into their bones. Manikins are another good source of simulation. Most are very tech savvy; they have pulses, blood pressure, can evaluate CPR or provide injection sites, etc., and while they are a close substitute, they cannot truly depict the real thing.

To give our paramedics relevant, accurate, hands-on training, we partnered with the Human Anatomy Program and their cadaver laboratory at the University of Guelph.

Upper year students, guided by faculty in human anatomy, facilitated the educational sessions. Paramedics were able to practice airway management, intubation, tracheal suctioning, pelvic binding, chest needles and IO injections on cadaveric subjects. They were able to capture the real anatomy and were shown healthy versus unhealthy organs to see how the disease process works. This low risk environment created a high educational impact. It promoted mentorship between Advanced and Primary Care paramedics, and provided training that will improve the familiarity and comfort with skills on the job.

After the sessions, the 156 Guelph-Wellington paramedics were asked to provide feedback on the usefulness and overall perception of the training. “Greater than 95% of the respondents agreed or strongly agreed that practicing their techniques on cadaveric specimens improved their understanding of techniques used in the field. And, more than 99% agreed or strongly agreed that the Human Anatomy Program’s Paramedic Educational Session was a valuable addition to the annual Continuing Medical Education curriculum.[i]

Many of the university students are completing Master and PhD programs in clinical based research for the field of Paramedicine and could one day shape the skills and protocols used on the road. Having the knowledge exchange is an invaluable opportunity and mutually beneficial for both the students and paramedics.

We cannot be more thankful to the Human Anatomy Program and its donors who allowed our paramedics to better their knowledge and skills. With such an overwhelming positive response to the sessions, Guelph-Wellington Paramedic Service looks forward to continuing our relationship and the instrumental learning opportunities with the University of Guelph.


[i] Human Anatomy Program Guelph-Wellington Paramedics Educational Sessions, Survey Results Report (2018) College of Biological Science, University of Guelph