LifeFlight of Maine is taking a new approach to orienting new crew members.

Facing the need to develop a more effective and cost efficient means of bringing new staff concurrent with ever higher skills for undifferentiated age and disease ranging from neonates to ECMO, LifeFlight of Maine (LOM) upended the traditional system of orienting new staff in favor of an Academy approach. Lead clinical staff and medical directors developed a structured curriculum with constant measurement to prepare new providers to be a proficient member of the critical care team.

The pilot program is consistent with the new ACCT Critical Care Transport standards with next steps of transitioning the program to onboard hospital critical care staff for LOM’s associated and parent tertiary centers. The course consists of a mixture of didactic, clinical exposure and high fidelity simulation to propel students through the first 2 phases of transport orientation.

The program encompasses all aspects of emergency and critical care medicine as it pertains to the transport environment. Aviation, Just Culture, CRM, survival skills, advanced airway and procedure lab and altitude physiology are all included during this trial 8-10 week period. The Academy is designed around the instruction of experienced providers with at least 3 years of critical care experience and looks to build on their current knowledge with the goal of having them become proficient in best practice protocols and critical thinking decisions.

Each week consists of 2 days of didactic followed by clinical exposure and simulation related to the previous didactic content. The following weeks build off all of the previous week content and several sessions of simulation to evaluate the progress of students.

The 3 phases of orientation are:
• Orientation to the transport environment / Critical Care Medicine
• Patient assessment phase with preceptor
• Primary with back up preceptor phase

The first phase is completed within the first 3-4 weeks of the Academy, during which several simulation sessions will determine if the student is able to “test out“ into the next phase. The second phase starts to incorporate equipment and flow of the transport environment while letting the student perform actual assessments during transports. The third phase brings the whole process together integrating assessment, equipment proficiency and working in the cabin of the transport vehicle while supervised under a third crew member.

Version 2.0 of the project is designed to bring on an entire new base team in a joined model of onboarding hospital critical care staff. An associated project is developing a pathway to credential LOM providers in the hospitals.

The ACCT spring meeting in March is designed in a roundtable format for member programs to share innovations with a number of programs presenting.

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