Published on 30 August 2016
A series of ‘real life’ accident scenarios on Fraser Island has tested the skills and the resourcefulness of Paramedic Science students from the University of the Sunshine Coast.
The recent training event, called ‘Trauma Island’, included a simulated vehicle rollover with multiple injuries, a scuba diving mishap and a patient with burns from falling into a fire pit.
USC staff and paramedics from the Queensland Ambulance Service assisted in providing almost 20 third-year USC student paramedics with the opportunity to practice assessing and caring for people injured in remote environments.
Bachelor of Paramedic Science student Emma Austen said the event, organised by the USC Paramedic Association, provided a “big learning curve” for those involved.
“Trauma Island took us outside the classroom into a supervised remote setting, allowing us to use medical equipment and act as qualified paramedics on a real job,” she said.
Associate Professor of Paramedic Science Bill Lord said Fraser Island was an ideal training ground, while the injury scenarios were the types that paramedics there would expect to treat.
“Fraser Island is a very challenging work environment. You are trying to retrieve people from areas where there is only four-wheel-drive access, and move and treat patients on sand,” he said.
“As the students experienced, this increases the complexity of providing care, especially compared to an urban setting.
“On Fraser Island immediate back-up isn’t available, so paramedics have to be resourceful and may have to provide prolonged care until they can arrange to ferry or airlift patients off the island.”
An appreciation by students of the need for good clinical decisions while working in remote locations was a key outcome of the training exercise, Associate Professor Lord said.
Students and staff were based at USC’s Fraser Island Research and Training Centre at Dilli Village during the event.
— Clare McKay