After showcasing their skills on the world stage, members of STARS’ air medical crew ultimately won the prestigious Association of Air Medical Services’ (AAMS) 2018 Sim Cup on Tuesday.
Flight nurse Jenny Thorpe and flight paramedic Matt Hogan represented STARS at the annual critical care skills contest, held during the Air Medical Transport Conference (AMTC) in Phoenix, Arizona this week.
This intense competition utilizes the latest in patient simulation and features 12 teams from across North America competing head-to-head to showcase their real time, real situation skills in front of a panel of judges and a live AMTC audience.
“This year’s scenarios were incredibly complex and required superior clinical skills and situational awareness,” said Rick Sherlock, president and CEO, AAMS. “We are proud to announce that STARS has won this year’s 2018 Sim Cup and demonstrated all the best parts of our industry.”
Winning the international championship was the culmination of several months of practice and multiple rounds of competition. The duo credits the support of their colleagues for the victory.
“It was an honour just to make it to this event and to represent STARS and our home base of Saskatoon,” said Thorpe. “Our win is a direct result of the support and preparation of our family at STARS.”
Like the nature of their everyday work, Thorpe and Hogan did not know what type of emergency medical cases they would encounter in Phoenix. What awaited them were three challenging and task saturating scenarios, including a grueling championship round with the four best teams.
“The final case consisted of five casualties involved in a climbing accident in a remote area of the Arizona desert, complete with aggressive coyotes and venomous snakes,” said Hogan. “Our communication, patient triage and care prioritization were tested to their maximum, but we made it through with a lot of sweat and fantastic team work!”
Watching and cheering on the team in Phoenix was Dr. John Froh, medical director for STARS’ Saskatoon base, and one of the many who helped prepare Thorpe and Hogan for the competition. He was impressed by the difficult simulations and proud of how STARS’ representatives handled them.
“To succeed, teams required excellent communication, situational awareness and a range of clinical skills including critical care interventions like surgical airway management and chest decompression,” said Froh. “Matt and Jenny’s performance in all scenarios was exemplary. We are very proud of their achievement.”
Dr. Froh said it was great to see Canadian helicopter emergency services so well represented. The only two Canadian teams at the event — STARS and Ontario-based Ornge — finished first and second, respectively.
STARS has historically done very well at the international championship, placing in the top three in the past sixteen years. This is the first time a Saskatoon-based team has represented STARS at the competition.