UVAC Members Win LifeFlight of Maine Human Patient Simulator Challenge

Three student members of the University Volunteer Ambulance Corps (UVAC) at the University of Maine recently won a competition that involved caring for a simulated pediatric patient at the annual Midcoast Atlantic Partners EMS Seminar in Rockport, Maine.

Melissa Dufault, Alana Silverman and Ryan Buckley competed against several medical response teams with years of service and experience, including seven EMS instructors and paramedics. Joseph Kellner, UVAC chief of service, served as paramedic backup for the team.

“We were up against some of the best providers in the state; all the way from EMT-basics to paramedics. Our team of two EMT-basics and myself, an unlicensed attendant, were the underdogs to say the least,” said Buckley, a marine science major from Milton, Massachusetts, who has been with UVAC for about a year.

The LifeFlight of Maine Human Patient Simulator Challenge tasks teams with the same basic emergency scenario that differs slightly depending on the license levels of team members. This year’s scenario was a pediatric male that had fallen from a skateboard and was unresponsive. The competition is designed to test skills and how well teams assess the patient by responding to the patient simulator as they would in a real emergency.

“We competed against close friends, admired mentors and current instructors,” said Dufault, a nursing student at Eastern Maine Community College who has been with UVAC since spring 2012. “It was an immense honor to stand in front of all the competitors I had looked up to for a long time.”

The contest was administered by LifeFlight of Maine and was held as a benefit fundraiser for the Maine EMS Memorial in Augusta. The team chose to donate its $200 cash prize to the memorial in the name of Matthew Jetton, a UVAC alumnus and flight paramedic who died when the helicopter he was riding in crashed while transporting a burn patient to a Portland hospital in 1993.

The team also won a response bag from Maine-ly Tactical & Uniforms and two days of free simulator training for UVAC provided by LifeFlight of Maine.

“The free simulator training is a chance to train and do patient assessments in a controlled environment where students can allow themselves to make mistakes with no risk of patient harm,” says Dufault of Turner, Maine. “The simulators can blink, talk, breathe; they also have pulses just as a normal patient.”

Dufault says the training will be especially helpful for new members who have no prior experience.

“As a person in the medical field, it is important to stay current. The knowledge of the medical profession is always expanding. This training gives our members an opportunity to train on certain scenarios that don’t occur often so we are prepared when the real thing happens,” says Silverman, a UMaine biology major with a pre-med concentration from Oakland, Maine, who has been working with UVAC for four years.

“I couldn’t be more proud of these three,” Kellner said. “It is a testament to the quality of care that UVAC providers bring to the University of Maine.”

Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.581.3747