Stevens Point Conference Updates Medical Workers on Skills, Technology

By: Liz Hayes Email
By: Liz Hayes Email

In an effort to update knowledge and skills while caring for injured patients and their families, medical workers are putting their heads together for the 13th annual Spirit Medical Transportation Services conference in Stevens Point.

The theme of this year's conference is Trauma Care: Extreme of Ages because medical trauma affects everyone and does not discriminate.

"Things are changing so fast in health care and trying to keep up with that knowledge you need something constantly reinforced," said Linda Johnson, a nurse at St. Joseph's Hospital in Marshfield.

With a weekend line-up of nationally renowned speakers and demonstrations, organizers hope participants will learn to optimize their care.

Speakers are focusing on everything from aviation incidents and car crashes to seizures and children.

"We have a lot of emphasis on pediatric trauma, which is always a difficult area for people to deal with," said Johnson.

The transport nurse says everybody is affected by trauma. In fact, during the first four decades of life, trauma is the leading cause of death.

Some technological advances may help to prevent that.

"They get to see scenarios here that they may see out on the road and if you can learn to control the scenarios here in a controlled environment, rather than out on the street, it's much safer."

Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College's driver training simulator gives emergency workers, police officers, bus drivers and even truckers the feeling they're actually behind the wheel of the vehicle they're being trained on.

And the simulator doesn't make it easy. With all the weather elements, trains, other cars and people running around during the demonstration, drivers are put in life like situations.

"It gives us the opportunity to put drivers in positions that they would maybe encounter on the road in a controlled environment, where nobody's gonna get hurt," said George Johnson of Indianhead Tech.

Johnson says each driver spends about an hour honing their skills behind the wheel, in addition to a few hours in the classroom.

Different companies and city agencies can pay to use the specialized equipment.

He says that some insurance agencies are actually mandating that certain drivers take the simulated training course.

For the past 12 years the conference has been in Marshfield, but this year organizers wanted a more centralized location.

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