Teaching about the Wild: A Survival Course as a Novel Resident Educational Experience
Emergency medicine residents.
Wilderness medicine (WM) is the practice of resource-limited medicine under austere conditions. Emergency physicians in training should gain additional exposure to wilderness medicine knowledge and outdoor skills to allow for the development of problem solving and improvisation abilities. However, there is limited data on the instruction of general survival skills to residents interested in WM.
By the end of the session the learner will be able to: 1) differentiate at least three different methods for water purification 2) describe how to erect a temporary survival shelter 3) construct a survival pack for personal use emphasizing multi-use items 4) demonstrate how to make a fire without a direct flame supply.
A small group of resident learners progressed through five survival stations designed to allow for an emphasis on select skills, wilderness medicine knowledge, and improvisation. Resident instructors led the discussion and skills demonstration.
Participants completed a six item before and after questionnaire. Each item was ranked from 0 for “strongly disagree” to 10 for “strongly agree.” Total mean scores before and after were compared.
Twelve individuals participated. The total mean score for the six-item analysis increased following the workshop (39.1 before versus 51.0 after, p = 0.0008).
General survival skills are traditionally acquired through time-intensive experiences; however, this is often unfeasible during residency training. We developed an alternative, more efficient mechanism for incorporating wilderness medicine skills into residency training that appears to improve understanding and confidence of participants, as well as to provide a teaching opportunity for new resident educators.
Wilderness medicine, survival skills, emergency medicine, graduate medical education.