This is a guest post by Doug Gadomski. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.
Sessions on the Riverwalk
I attended the first ever National Association of EMS Educators (NAEMSE) Mini-Symposium on January 22nd & 23rd 2010 in San Antonio, Texas. The concept, offering expanded versions of the top-rated sessions from the most recent Symposium (Orlando, FL in this case), is something new for the organization and speaks of a willingness to explore new ideas. I was glad to see it offered for a number of reasons. In all but one case, I had attended other offerings in Orlando and was happy to have the opportunity to get a second chance to see a number of fine presentations. It was also a chance to escape the throws of winter and enjoy a warm weekend (72 º -75ºF) along San Antonio’s Riverwalk with friends and colleagues.
Small Group Sharing
Right from the beginning I got the sense that this Mini-Symposium was different from others I’ve attended. There were roughly 75 people there with a large contingent coming from the host state of Texas. All the sessions were in the same conference room and offered an intimacy that immediately set everyone at ease. The venue also allowed for more conversation-like sessions and made it easy to participate and get more out of each of presentation.
Heather Davis reprised two of her presentations, “Changing the World 30 Students at a Time” and “Coaching & Counseling for EMS.” Both offered excellent thoughts and practical tips on ways to improve your teaching (along with student outcomes) and approaching difficult student-educator interactions. Deb Cason talked about our new “National EMS Education standards – a year later.” The take-home message: Stop Training and Start Educating!
David Foster talked about “Building Successful Teams”. I was blown away with the statistic that only 3% of groups gel into a team! He gave many examples of the differences between groups and teams and what makes a truly effective team. This really helped me understand where I can work at team building with my students.
Baxter Larmon spoke about his favorite subject – Research, but specifically regarding “Putting Research Into the Classroom.” Many say “EMS needs to do more research…” but Baxter puts that into action. Think of it something like science class in your paramedic classroom. Something as simple as having your students actually measure the time it takes to administer a liter of fluid through various sizes of catheters and tubing and plotting the results on a chart. Yes the answer is in the textbooks, but it really sticks when they do the experiment themselves! It also teaches them that research doesn’t have to be overly complex. Bottom line: we often fail to educate our students about research.
David Page repeated his presentation about “Excellence in Clinical Education.” He did an outstanding job of getting us thinking about how we prep students for field and hospital clinicals. Remember that the new educational standards mention clinicals for EMT & AEMT levels too. The audience shared a large number of best practices that help make their own programs successful and David shared his recipe for success.
Ron Willis (Green Porch Swing Productions) was the Mini-Symposium guest/keynote speaker. His inspiring talk, “If You Find Yourself On Top Of The Mountain Just Remember You Didn’t Fall There: The Importance of Partnership,” was a terrific reminder that we all need to be thankful to all those that are part of our lives and that in the business of helping other people we should work hard to take care of ourselves and each other.
I enjoyed the first NAEMSE Mini-Symposium. The presentations and the venue were top-notch. I hope NAEMSE will continue to offer this choice to us in the future. A two-day offering is more affordable for many educators and no doubt easier to fit into a busy schedule. Visit the NAEMSE website for details about the 2010 International Symposium in September (Schaumburg, IL) and other terrific offerings!
Doug Gadomski is an EMS educator, paramedic, distance learning and simulation specialist, and long-time member of the National Association of EMS Educators