Technology helps prepare TSTC paramedic students for almost any situation

Ben Barkley / TSTC
TSTC Paramedic student Anthony Monaco opens an airway on a “patient” while using the REALITi
simulator during a lab session.

Students in Texas State Technical College’s Emergency Medical Services program are trained to be prepared for almost anything they might encounter in the field.

By using the iSimulate REALITi simulator in lab sessions, instructor Tim Scalley can program various situations for students to address.

The simulator also can mimic the cardiac monitors of area EMS services for future paramedics to train on systems they will use at work. “There is a lot going on and a lot to remember,” said paramedic student Anthony Monaco, who works for the Stephenville Fire Department as a firefighter and an emergency medical technician.

“The simulator allows me to get the kinks out while I am in class. I am able to work on what I need to do on the equipment we have available.”

Scalley remembered when students used decommissioned equipment, but technology has advanced to train paramedics with REALITi.

“In the past, we would train with decommissioned equipment. A lot of them did the same thing, but the companies’ equipment is not always the same,” he said. “It is nice to have the technology available for people to learn their system.”

Scalley said many students complete the program and begin working for Lifeguard Ambulance Service in Brownwood. He uses the simulator to program a patient’s situation and walks students through treatment from start to finish.

“Sometimes he will throw a curveball at us, and that is what happens in the field,” Monaco said. “I like to practice in the lab. I know that practice makes perfect.”

Scalley will relay vital signs that he has programmed to students to make adjustments on the patient.

“The life of a patient can change on the fly,” he said.

But not everything in the EMS lab is done on a manikin-style patient.

During a recent session, paramedic students were able to talk to young children and their parents about simulated symptoms. The scenario included all coronavirus safety protocols, and Scalley said it was similar to a doctor’s visit.

“We have to complete visual assessments with children, and we are able to do that with local families,” he said. “All of the training will pay off for the students.”

Scalley also has a stress reliever for the class. He likes to pull out the CPR dummies attached to a computer program for a competition to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

“It provides the students with good, accurate information on how they are performing CPR while also involved in a friendly competition,” Scalley said.

For more information, visit tstc.edu