Since beginning classes in August, students at the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine have been trained as emergency medical technicians and have been working shifts on North Shore-LIJ ambulances responding to 911 calls. The training is a core element of the first 100 weeks of the school’s ground-breaking academic course and gives the students their first immersion into clinical practice of medicine.
The first course, in which the EMT curriculum is embedded, called “From the Person to the Professional: Challenges, Privileges and Responsibilities”, or “CPR”, has been described by faculty as “an EMT course on steroids.” The course uses the standard New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) curriculum and includes more advanced scientific and clinical concepts.
“Nothing could prepare a medical student better for the realities of the practice of medicine than this innovative course. It includes important skills that every doctor should know regardless of specialty” said Dr. Lawrence Smith, Dean of the School of Medicine.
During the nine week course students are required to complete at least six tours on an ambulance. During their ambulance tours, students will observe patients in their homes and evaluate and treat them, together with certified EMTs and paramedics. Students will also participate in 911 transports, intra-facility transports and dispatch, as well as follow patients right into the emergency rooms.
“The ambulance tours are the best part of the week,” said first-year medical student Matthew Katz. “It’s hands-on experience that gives you the opportunity to go out and see people in their home environment.”
“Talking to patients can be very intimidating if you have not had a lot of previous experience,” said Cristina Costales, “but this program helps us become comfortable interacting with real people.”The highlight of the training is a Multiple Casualty Incident (MCI) that will be conducted at the FDNY Training Center at Randall’s Island during on September 23. Students will be expected to provide emergency care during the exercise and it will be followed by a full debriefing exercise.
Traditional medical schools are usually lecture-based throughout the first two years of school, but Hofstra North Shore-LIJ’s educational model is an integrated curriculum that exposes students to clinical experiences almost immediately. By training as an EMT and practicing emergency care from the beginning of their studies, students will be exposed as members of an emergency-response team to patients in crisis situations.