Course by UNMC offers education to PMC employees and area EMTs
Area Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and nurses from Providence Medical Center soaked up information like sponges at a recent trauma course taught by the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC).
According to PMC's Trauma Coordinator Beth Sievers, this is just one of many parts to getting trauma designated for Providence.
"We're working toward getting designated as a basic or level four, trauma hospital," Sievers said. "It's a long process that takes about a year to get through from application to designation. It means that we have the education and the ability to handle basic trauma."
Right now, the closest level four trauma designated hospital is St. Francis Memorial Hospital in West Point. Sioux City's Mercy Medical Center and Norfolk's Faith Regional Health Services are both higher level trauma centers, but as Sievers pointed out, some times the half hour-plus drive is too far.
"Doing chest compressions for that ambulance ride to Sioux City or Norfolk is very difficult," she said. "Being basic trauma designated means we can get a patient stable and ready to move to a higher level of care."
And that can make all the difference in patient outcomes, Sievers said. Timing is huge in trauma, but so is coordination between those first on the scene and those waiting at the hospital.
Which is why Sievers is pushing for more communication and teamwork between the hospital and the area fire departments and EMTs.
If a trauma occurs in rural Laurel, their fire department and EMTs are going to respond and call ahead to PMC, according to Sievers. If everyone is receiving the same information on how to handle a trauma and everyone is on the same page when the patient comes through the doors, the team of nurses and physicians at PMC are able to address issues much faster.
Having the course taught by UNMC helps to fulfill both the education requirements to be trauma designated and also Sievers' goal of teamwork amongst the area departments and PMC.
"We're very lucky that we got the UNMC program to come through here. There are a lot of facilities that want it and they were able to squeeze us in," Sievers said. "Having everyone get the same information on trauma response really benefits the patients and makes for better patient outcomes."
The course itself is geared for smaller hospitals and EMTs to become better prepared for the inevitable rural-setting traumas and also with pediatric traumas.
Sievers pointed out that while traumatic accidents do cause traumatic injuries, trauma response isn't just for the car wreck or cattle chute accident. Trauma is also breaking a leg or slipping and breaking an arm.
Every topic covered by the course, Sievers said, has a very real possibility of walking through the doors at PMC.
"I want our nurses and the EMTs to be able to go out on a scene and prioritize. The class showed how to look past a huge wound and not let it distract you because there are probably other issues."
Sievers said for nurses and EMTs, the information given at the course is the stuff they "thrive off of" and it's what pushes them to be better at their jobs.
"We're always looking for new and better ways to be more efficient and to become more knowledgeable and this was one of those ways."