Lab Skills Refresher By Rachael Rosen

July 24, 2014

Our July 23 webinar focused on how to implement Lab Skills in your program's Fisdap account.

Lab Skills (or Lab Practice) is a section of the Skills Tracker that enables you to set goals and track students’ progress toward skill acquisition when they’re in the formative stages of the program.

Lab skills are tracked differently from lab and clinical skills. Lab skills are tracked in a separate interface and do not necessarily include the full patient assessment or narrative that students document for their field and clinical internships.

Lab Skills are also completely customizable. In this webinar, we show you how to set up and configure the following:

  1. Lab practice report vs. Grad Requirements

  2. Quick Eval vs. Skill Sheet

  3. Semester 1 vs. Semester 2

How to Train Your PreceptorBy Rachael Rosen

July 2, 2014

How to Train Your PreceptorIn order to meet the Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Emergency Medical Services Professions (CoAEMSP) standard III.B.1., paramedic programs must train their preceptors. Since this requirement is part of a long list of things paramedic program directors must do, I thought I’d help you out by pointing you toward some excellent resources available on the web.

1.  For starters, here’s the actual language from the CoAEMSP Interpretations document that breaks down and explains the preceptor training requirement.

CoAEMSP Interpretations of the CAAHEP Standards and Guidelines For the Accreditation of Educational Programs in the EMS Professions

1) As part of the administration, organization, and supervision of the program, the Program Director must ensure that there is preceptor orientation/training.

The training/orientation must include the following topics:
• Purposes of the student rotation (minimum competencies, skills, and behaviors)
• Evaluation tools used by the program
• Criteria of evaluation for grading students
• Contact information for the program

The training media may take many forms: written documents, formal course, power point presentation, video, on-line, or there could be designated trainers on-site that the program relies on. The program should tailor the method of delivery to the type of rotation (e.g. hospital, physician office, field).

Update from ECCU 2014: Road to the 2015 Resuscitation GuidelinesBy Mike Bowen

June 24, 2014

AHA Update 2015In early June I was fortunate enough to attend the ECCU 2014: Road to the 2015 Resuscitation Guidelines. The conference was exceedingly informational and presented by the people behind the research, mostly physicians. The intention of the conference was to present the new and emerging science that is the driving force behind the expected changes in 2015 resuscitation guidelines.  Although this was not an official release from the American Heart Association (AHA), it was a good insight into the ongoing research and outlines the of projected changes.

Throughout the three days several topics were reiterated. High-quality chest compressions are still essential. The researchers stated that they’ve found a “sweet spot” for chest compression rates: 100-120 per minute at depth of two inches or 50 mm. Anything slower and the myocardium (heart muscle) is not being perfused well; anything faster, and chest compressions become less effective. If chest compressions are performed too fast the provider may be in poor form and make errors such as leaning off the breast bone, inhibiting chest recoil, or shallow compression depth.

The researchers did not endorse any specific automated chest compression device but did reflect on how beneficial these products may be if applied with minimal interruption to CPR and at the appropriate time. The benefits of an automated device are consistent high-quality chest compressions and slightly negative upstroke with each compression that increases preload and decreases the duration of interruptions. They also discussed the importance of intrathoracic pressure and the increase of survival rates with the application of an impedance threshold device (ITD). This was a reversal of their initial recommendations because they did not originally look at compression depth.

Lab Skills Survey ResultsBy Mike Mayne

June 17, 2014

Fisdap Lab Skills for Scenarios and Patient Care Documentation

Fisdap Lab Skills Practice


In our spring newsletter, we asked educators to respond to a survey, which is a new initiative we've begun to directly solicit feedback. For our first survey, we asked about Lab Skills: who's using it, which evals are you using, etc. While we didn't get enough responses to represent the entire Fisdap community, we did want to address the obvious issue that many of you appear to be unfamiliar with Lab Skills.

We're doing two things to help: 1. we've written answers to the Lab Skills FAQ below and 2. we're planning a training webinar that will help you better understand Lab Skills.

Thanks for your feedback and please be on the lookout for more information about the upcoming webinar and future surveys. 


What is Fisdap?By Rachael Rosen

June 13, 2014

If you’ve been around EMS for a while, you might have heard the word “Fisdap”  before and wondered what it is. Here’s the short version: Fisdap is a software development company that builds online tools for EMS and healthcare education. Our goal has always been to bring the EMS community together to create innovative solutions for teaching and learning prehospital care.

A Little History Lesson

Fisdap logo from 1998The idea for Fisdap was born at the first annual NAEMSE Symposium in 1996. During the conference, a group of educators began discussing how they were going to comply with the 1998 National Standard Curriculum, which called for a change from hours-based requirements to skills- and competencies-based requirements. This new curriculum also included a list of skills goals students had to complete before they could graduate.

EMS programs suddenly needed a way to track the specific skills performed and patient types encountered during student internships. That year at the NAEMSE symposium, these educators hatched the idea of a web-based tracking system that would help them document and report this information.

Collaboratively, the educators applied for and received a grant from MnSCU (Minnesota State Colleges & Universities System). The name “Fisdap” originated from the acronym for this grant: the Field Internship Student Data Acquisition Project.

The database they built not only gave individual schools the documentation they needed for accreditation, but it’s also grown into a powerful resource that represents hundreds of different EMS institutions and is used for educational research.

Pictures and Memories from the 2014 EMS Memorial Bike Ride By Rachael Rosen

May 22, 2014

National EMS Memorial Bike Ride Muddy Angels jersey On May 16, Rob Gurliacci, paramedic and assistant professor at Westchester Community College, shared this photo on his Facebook page, saying, “Here we go again! Starting in Boston this year. In memory of those who went to work and didn't make it home.”

Rob was participating in the EMS Memorial Bike Ride for the fourth year on the Northeast route that starts in Boston and ends in Washington, DC.

Rob says he first got involved in the ride because it seemed like not only was the ride for a good cause (promoting EMS awareness and honoring line of duty deaths), but it would also be lots of fun.

Airway Management Updates WebinarBy Rachael Rosen

May 21, 2014

In response to the CoAEMSP’s Airway Management Recommendation document they published last fall, we've updated the way we track this information in Fisdap to help you stay in compliance for accreditation.

In this webinar, we cover:

  • how students should enter patient care and skill information to get credit for Airway Management
  • settings configurations to make sure students are able to get credit/see what they’re getting credit for
  • goals reporting - widgets and a brand new report


Research 101: A Free Course that Promotes Involvement in EMS ResearchBy Rachael Rosen

May 19, 2014

Just in time for EMS Week, we’re excited to announce the release of Research 101, which we developed in partnership with the UCLA Prehospital Care Research Forum. Research 101 is a new online video series designed to encourage EMS providers, educators and students to get involved in EMS research.

Baxter Larmon and David Page

Two of the leading voices in EMS research, Dr. Baxter Larmon and David Page lecture on the benefits of research and deliver a 12 step plan to getting started on a research project. Dr. Larmon is the Director of the Prehospital Care Research Forum at UCLA and David Page is a paramedic instructor at Inver Hills Community College and writes the research column for JEMS magazine.

Dr. Larmon and Mr. Page offer a live version of this lecture series at the annual Fisdap Research Summit and at national conferences. By recording their presentation and making it freely available, we hope to bring this information to more people.

7 Tips for Getting Hired in EMSBy Nora Vanni

April 28, 2014

7 tips for getting hired in EMS as an EMT or Paramedicvia Inver Hills Community College

You’ve completed paramedic school and passed the National Registry, so what comes next? For many people, it’s an intimidating job hunt. As a recent college grad myself, I have firsthand experience with the many emotions that come with finishing school: excitement, relief, and a major dose of apprehension.

Here are a few tips to help you in the hunt for your EMS dream job.

1. Remember that your first job may not be your dream job.

Keep your eye on your long term goals, but be humble enough to accept a position that might be a stepping stone to greater things. It's common to start in an entry-level position, even something like transferring patients from one hospital to another. This type of position will help build your reputation as an employee and teach you more about EMS as a profession  in general.

2. Special skills or certifications will help you stand out from the crowd.

Anything you can do to stand out in the stack of resumes will work in your favor. Specialized skills like Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS), or Prehospital Trauma Life Support (PHTLS) certification show that you go above and beyond in your work. Look for opportunities to participate in local EMS conferences where they often have "hot" training exercises that can teach you new skills.

5 CoAEMSP Accreditation Tips: Don’t Get Dinged!By Rachael Rosen

April 9, 2014

Paramedic accreditation CoAEMSPWe don’t want to dwell too much on the negative, but we think it’s helpful to share some of the more common CoAEMSP citations so you can work to avoid them.

1. Program Directors Must Have a Bachelor’s Degree

It’s a requirement that all program directors must, at a minimum, have a bachelor’s degree. This is non-negotiable. At one time, the CoAEMSP was granting some leniency for people who had contacted them about completing a bachelor’s well before the January 1, 2013 deadline for becoming accredited. (This is the date that the NREMT began enforcing the stipulation that paramedic candidates could only take the Registry exam if they had graduated from an accredited program.) At this point in time, though, this appears to be a firm standard.

2. Medical Director Involvement

Dr. George Hatch has a fondness for the expression “milk carton medical director.” This refers to a medical director, who, if you held up a picture of him/her to the students, they wouldn’t know who that missing person was. In other words, an absent medical director who is not involved.  

If you don’t think your students would be able to pick their medical director out of a crowd, see what steps you can take to bring the medical director into the classroom or run a scenario.

While you’re at it, be sure you can provide documentation of the medical director reviewing your exams and curriculum.

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