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Electives - Emergency Medicine

Wilderness Medicine Immersion

(Does not count towards 12-week limit of clinical EM)

Elective Number: 1307

Rotation Supervisor: Dr. Nathan Charlton

Designated signer: Heather Collier, Blue Ridge Poison Center, Towers Building (1222 JPA) 4th floor

Evaluation should be given to: Attending on service

Duration: 2 weeks

Available: Rotations 8a & 14a

Report to: Dr. Charlton

Time to Report: 9:00 am

Place to Report: Blue Ridge Poison Center, Towers Building (1222 JPA) 4th floor

Typical day: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

Attendance: Attendance at elective activities is mandatory.

  • Anyone who is ill or has a personal or family emergency must contact Student Affairs and the Attending on Service.
  • Students are allowed to take off up to 1 day per week to interview between November 1 and February 1.
    • Specific days missed must be approved by the Attending on Service.

Number of students per rotation: 13

Course Description: Wilderness Medicine focuses on the care of patients in remote environments lacking typical health care facility resources. This intensive course will introduce students to the epidemiology, pathophysiology and clinical practice of Wilderness Medicine. This course will focus on the unique diagnosis associated with Wilderness Medicine and the challenges of managing medical problems in environments with limited resources under harsh conditions. The course will be taught using traditional lectures, human simulation, course reading assignments, and multiple practical workshops. Topics to be discussed include diseases associated with ingestion of poisonous plants and mushrooms, animal envenomations, high altitude and undersea environments, heat and cold extremes (Appendix 1). Survival techniques will be reviewed and land/water navigation using compasses and stars will be reviewed by trained experts in the field. Students will have the opportunity to apply their knowledge in both the daily workshops and in the 3-day practicum at the conclusion of the rotation which will consist of a wilderness excursion to the Shenandoah National Park or George Washington National Forrest. The course is designed to be a total of 2 weeks in length with 8 days devoted to classroom and daily workshop activities and 3 days devoted to the final practicum. Student grades will be based on classroom and workshop attendance as well as both a written and practical final exam to be completed at the end of the rotation.

Appendix 1:

Drug/First Aid Kits
Outdoor clothing and gear selection
Knot tying
Basic field nutrition
Water purification
Poisonous plants
Poisonous mushrooms
Edible items found in the wilderness
Heat illness
Lightning injuries
Marine envenomations
Snake envenomations
Bites & Stings
Near drowning
Water rescue
Land navigation
Basics of search & rescue
Air evacuation topics
Common fractures
Splinting fractures
Spine immobilization
High altitude medicine
Dive medicine
Basic wound care
Travel medicine
Special populations
Sun/Insect protection