Monday, November 4, 2013

Study Time

I had an inside weekend.  My Wilderness First Responder recertification thing is next Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  I had my nose in my textbook and workbook for most all of the weekend.

The three days will be spent learning new stuff, "rescuing"/treating "patients," and taking a written and practical exam.  This will go down at Olympic College in Bremerton, WA.

My review included Wilderness Medicine vs. Urban Medicine, Patient Assessment & Basic Life Support, Traumatic Injuries, Environmental Stuff, Medical Topics, and Common Wilderness Medical Problems.

The limits of a WooFeR (Wilderness First Responder) are things like I can't sew anyone up.  If someone needs stitches (sutures using the medical lingo) I'd clean the wound and then pack it wet to dry.  An evacuation would follow.

Also, I can't recommend or suggest taking anything stronger than over-the-counter drugs.  I can help patients if they're already prescribed, but that's it.

A WooFeR's task it to keep someone alive until they can be handed off to someone of higher medical training such as an EMT, nurse, or doctor.  Along with that is some fairly standard paperwork called a SOAP note.  A SOAP note is a precise way to communicate what's up with the patient.  It contains Subjective, Objective, Assessment, and Plan information.

I have a SOAP note pre-made and I take one with me every time I go into the backcountry.  It has fill-in-the-blank spots such that I don't forget anything, it's easier to read, and can be filled out quickly and with minimal distraction from the primary task of tending to a patient.

WooFeR classes are held year 'round and all over the country.  If you're thinking you'd like to do one here's the scoop; they are 80 hours long and there's an extensive written and practical exam at the end.  Recertification classes are a three day event and also all over the place.

I decided to do this kind of out of guilt.  I like to do things in fairly remote places and some of those things can be a bit dangerous.  And, I always invite people along.  That's the guilt part.  I'd feel quite terrible if someone were to get hurt badly way out somewhere with no cell reception and limited means to help.  The chances of me needing to Woof someone are quite low.  However, if needed, I want to be prepared.

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