When a patient’s life is at risk, timely training can make all the difference. Tianna Langelotz knows this first-hand, recalling the day she faced severe respiratory distress alongside a rural highway.

Vitals were stabilized, breathing improved, and when Langelotz arrived at the hospital, the intensive care doctor commented on how well she had done.

But Langelotz wasn’t the patient. She was the advanced care paramedic who had improved her intubation skills – and the patient’s odds – in a STARS mobile education program simulation exercise only 48 hours earlier.

“I laughed to myself because of how quickly I was putting the skills to use that I had just learned – and, ultimately, how effective they were. The patient is at home and doing very well,” Langelotz said. “I cannot thank STARS enough – the program is invaluable.”

Mobile education lead Matt Hogan was one of Langelotz’s instructors, and says experiences like hers are what the program is all about.

“We’re providing an opportunity for resuscitation teams in rural communities to work together on simulated challenging cases,” said Hogan. “This allows those teams to become more proficient and to integrate best practice components into their protocols, which ultimately improves patient care.”

None of this life-saving education would be possible without the support of donors
and STARS’ commitment to innovation.

“STARS leadership made an early investment in high fidelity human patient simulation to train our own teams,” said Dr. James Huffman, STARS’ associate medical director of education. “Nobody else was really using this learning technology back in 1999, when the program began.”

The organization soon realized this advanced simulation instruction was beneficial for its air medical crew as well as the patients they cared for. And, like the founding of STARS, the mobile education program was born out of need.

“We knew it would be beneficial to patient outcomes to give rural health care teams simulated exposure to the higher acuity scenarios they may not see often, if at all,” said Huffman.

Hogan says the donor-funded program – which provides this world-class training at no cost to participants – is making a difference.

“We see the effect of the education when we fly into communities we’ve trained with, in terms of the improved protocols, teamwork and communication skills that are applicable to every case. It helps us all speak the same language.”