Practising for emergencies in a genuine ambulance
DRK donates emergency vehicle to the Medical Faculty

Ulm University

With a fresh coat of paint, the new simulation ambulance waits in front of the “emergency room” of the “To Train U” (TTU) training hospital on the Ulm University campus, where medical students will be able to train for emergencies under realistic conditions in the future. Just in time for the start of the winter semester, representatives from the German Red Cross/Heidenheim (Deutsches Rotes Kreuz, DRK) handed over a decommissioned emergency vehicle with original furnishings and equipment to the Ulm University Medical Faculty this week. Thus an important interface between pre-clinical and clinical emergency care is being added to the training programme, upholding the philosophy that teaching should be as hands-on as possible.

When patients are brought to the hospital in an ambulance, every second counts and there’s no room for mistakes anywhere in the process -  from the handling in the cramped vehicle and repositioning and transfer to the handing over of the patient to the emergency doctor and the medical team in the trauma room. All this must be practised intensively so that emergency medical workers are able to make the right decisions under time pressure for people who are often severely injured. “This is a kind of stress that you simply have to be prepared for”, explained Professor Thomas Wirth, dean of the Medical Faculty, at the official handover of the vehicle. Emergency medicine is one of the main focal points of medical training at Ulm University. Professor Wirth expressed his gratitude to the DRK for the now stationary vehicle, which had already been envisioned as a training room during the planning phase of the training hospital and now stands in front of the covered ambulance driveway. “This is the final building block for the training hospital, and it will be integrated directly into our teaching”, said Prof Wirth.

Preparing students for emergencies in the best possible way

The medical director of the Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, Professor Bettina Jungwirth, emphasised the importance of collaboration between paramedics and doctors at this interface. In emergency medicine, we cannot stand still: “We have a special responsibility to go one step further”, related Professor Jungwirth. This project was initiated by Professor Claus-Martin Muth, section head of Emergency Medicine at Ulm University Medical Centre. The ambulance is to be used in his courses first. Professor Muth hopes, on the one hand, to awaken student interest in emergency medicine, but also to “prepare them for emergencies in the best way possible”, whether that be in the emergency room or in their own practice. DRK Managing Director David Richter also emphasised the necessity of practising situations such as these: “Simulating the handover is absolutely essential these days”. The simulation ambulance will go into operation in the current winter semester.

About To Train U
In the modern rooms of the Medical Faculty’s To Train U training hospital, students learn practical treatment techniques and empathetic patient care alongside their theoretical studies. The building’s simulation facilities are equipped with control, observation and meeting rooms. Students at To Train U practice either on high-quality simulation dummies or with so-called simulated patients, a team of actors and actresses especially trained for this purpose. The flexibility of the rooms makes it possible to train for various scenarios, ranging from the general practitioner’s office to a specialised out-patient clinic or the emergency room. The facility also includes an emergency operating theatre as well as a shock room with emergency doctor access and the simulation ambulance.

Further information:
Ursula Russo, Marketing and Communication Medical Faculty, email: ursula.russo(at), tel: (0731) 50 33605.

Text and mediacontact: Christine Liebhardt

Translation: Kate Gaugler

Excited about the new and important role of the former ambulance (from left): Prof Dr Tobias M Böckers, Astrid Horneffer, Mike Müller, Tobias Zoller, David Richter, Prof Dr Thomas Wirth, Prof Dr Bettina Jungwirth, Prof Dr Claus-Martin Muth, Dr Claudia Grab-Kroll and Guido Stuch (Photo: Elvira Eberhardt / Uni Ulm)