The Department of Emergency Medical Services has a new set of wheels.
Since 2011, the EMS department has been borrowing an ambulance for training from Joplin’s Metro Emergency Transport System (METS) — but when Jason Smith from METS offered to give them an ambulance of their own, Brett Peine, head of the department, gratefully took the opportunity.
“We have been very lucky,” said Peine. “He asked if we needed an ambulance because he had one that he could give to us. He just donated it to us.”
Although the students have been using a borrowed ambulance for many years, Peine said that having an on-campus ambulance will allow the department to test the students in new ways.
A group of students will have to take turns checking the ambulance’s fuel and functionality throughout the day — a vital action that is enforced in hospitals to ensure efficiency.
While students are in class, they can be alerted of simulated emergency situations where they figure out how to function inside the confined space of an ambulance — something they can’t learn in a simulation lab.
“Most of these students will work in ambulances, or in a ditch, or on the floor,” said Peine. “Taking blood pressure or starting an IV in the back of a vehicle is totally different than in a lab. All the noises you hear while trying to stand up as you go around a corner — these things need to be practiced and students need to be prepared.”
Since the students won’t need to spend extra time learning how to adjust to an ambulance once they’re hired, having hands-on experience in an ambulance gives them a head-start to their careers.
“This mentally prepares them to adjust to real-world situations,” said Peine.
Peine plans to have the ambulance outfitted in MSSU’s logo and hopes to even have it parked at the home football games. Having an ambulance specifically for MSSU is something unique that he and the rest of the department are glad to bring to the university.