Simulation-based medical education for Ambulance Jet and Helicopter Emergency Medical Services: A program description and evaluation

Nabecker, Sabine; Pfeffer, Rafaela; Lötscher, Stefan Max; Balmer, Yves; Theiler, Lorenz; Greif, Robert; Albrecht, Roland (2021). Simulation-based medical education for Ambulance Jet and Helicopter Emergency Medical Services: A program description and evaluation. MedEdPublish, 10(1) 10.15694/mep.2021.000145.1

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Introduction: In aviation, crew resource management trainings are established methods to enhance safety, a method that also gained popularity in medicine. In 2015, the Swiss Air Rescue (Rega) Helicopter Emergency Medical Services decided to start a simulation-based medical education program for its helicopter and ambulance jet crews (emergency physicians, paramedics/flight nurses and pilots). The aim of this program was to improve technical skills and the application of human factors during rescue missions. This report shows a five-year summary of the participants’ course evaluation.

Methods: A 1-day high-fidelity simulation on crisis resource management with video-assisted debriefing took place at 3 centres, two in Switzerland; one in Germany. Crew members participated once per year. Simulation covered critical situations in the helicopter or jet, during handovers at an intensive care unit or in ambulances. Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation and Intra-Aortic Balloon Pump use was simulated during helicopter transports. Additionally, four times per year flight crews rehearsed basic and advanced life support skills using low-fidelity equipment between missions. Participants answered an anonymized course evaluation survey. Answers were rated on a Numeric Rating Scale ranging from 1=no agreement to 5=total agreement.

Results: 329 participated and answered the questionnaire; 50% were emergency physicians, 40% paramedics, 9% flight nurses, and 1% pilots. Participants agreed that the course taught competencies that were useful for their clinical practice. However, confidence to apply Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation or Intra-Aortic Balloon Pump skills was significantly lower compared to other emergency competencies. Instructors were rated as experienced, engaged and motivated, as well as responsive to course participants.

Conclusions: This simulation-based medical education program, with the goal to increase patient’s safety and outcome,was launched successfully. Participants especially valued the time to reflect on clinical performance as well as on crew interaction and ways to apply human factors to improve their team performance and task management.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Intensive Care, Emergency Medicine and Anaesthesiology (DINA) > Clinic and Policlinic for Anaesthesiology and Pain Therapy

UniBE Contributor:

Nabecker, Sabine, Pfeffer, Rafaela, Lötscher, Stefan Max, Balmer, Yves, Theiler, Lorenz, Greif, Robert, Albrecht, Roland


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health






Jeannie Wurz

Date Deposited:

23 Jun 2021 11:31

Last Modified:

02 Aug 2023 19:34

Publisher DOI:





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