Hollywood-style makeup wounds help paramedic training, study finds

Source ABC News:
By Eliza Laschon

Paramedic students treating patients with Hollywood-style fake wounds and blood have been found to get the job done faster, research has found.

However, the study by Edith Cowan University (ECU) lecturer Dr Brennen Mills also found the students were more prone to mistakes.

Dr Mills used Hollywood-style makeup to create a more realistic world environment in the simulated study with second-year West Australian paramedicine students.

Half the students attended to a patient's stab wound with the makeup, known as moulage, and half attended to the patient's wound relying on their imagination of the injury.

Dr Mills found the fake blood and gore helped the students kick into action to assist the patient faster, but they made more mistakes compared to the other group.

"That's an important part of training and simulation," Dr Mills said.

"We want them to make their mistakes in training rather than in the real world.

"If this was the first time that they were actually exposed to a scenario like this out in the real world ... our data would suggest that their performance would be suboptimal which is concerning."

Positive response to fake wounds

The researcher said while the use of moulage in training was not uncommon, there was little evidence about the impact on student learning.

"We know intuitively that having moulage and really realistic environments is a good thing but it is costly, it is resource-intensive, so we sought to undertake this study to try [to] demonstrate the extent of the benefit health educators might get out of the inclusion of this sort of stuff," Dr Mills said.

A student paramedic treats a woman seated on the floor with a bloody leg wound.

He said there had been an overwhelmingly positive response from the students that attended to the patient with the moulage.

Second-year paramedicine student Jessica Buck said she took the situation much more seriously.

"I try a lot harder when I can physically see what is going on," Ms Buck said.

"In this situation, I saw it, I got in there and I did what I needed to do and I think that applies to the real world."

Ms Buck said she would like the simulation to be a more regular part of her training.

Dr Mills hopes continued research will help encourage more of the Hollywood techniques in the classroom.

"I would argue that throwing these guys in the deep end early and exposing them to as much of this sort of stuff as we can - yes, it could be potentially daunting for them - but it's going to have the greatest benefit for their learning," he said.

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