School of Medicine begins 'ALSO' training in Nevada

7/8/2008 - By: Anne McMillin

The University of Nevada School of Medicine recently completed its first course in Advanced Life Support for Obstetrics training for the state. The program, dubbed ALSO, provided a two-day certified training program for healthcare practitioners across the state to help prevent and manage medical emergencies in obstetrical care and delivery.

Forty healthcare providers including registered nurses, obstetricians, family medicine physicians, nurse midwives and labor and delivery nurses from Reno, Las Vegas, Owyhee, Lovelock, Fallon, Ely and Quincy, Calif. attended the course which was held this spring in Las Vegas.

“Our goal is to train as many Nevada healthcare providers as possible right here in our state and have them all trained the same way,” said Elissa Palmer, M.D., chair of the School of Medicine’s Department of Family and Community Medicine in Las Vegas, who coordinated, directed and taught in the program. “This course is designed for maternal care providers or those who might have to deliver a baby in an emergency.”

The program was conducted by the School of Medicine’s Department of Family and Community Medicine with funding from a two-year grant of more than $200,000 by the Nevada State Health Division through the Trust Fund for Public Health.

“We believe that by instituting this program we will be able to substantially contribute to the number of physicians and medical personnel willing to continue to deliver babies within the state, especially in rural and frontier areas,” said Palmer.

Palmer cites many critical factors that contribute to the decline in maternity care services. Among those factors are the high costs of malpractice insurance, shortages of physicians in rural areas, discomfort of providers with obstetrical emergencies, distances rural women must travel for maternity care and increasing minority populations who are often unable to seek timely obstetric care.

Standardized training in the management of emergency obstetrical situations can significantly increase patient’s access to safe, quality care, particularly in Nevada’s rural and frontier communities. ALSO training for maternal care providers including family medicine physicians, obstetricians and nurse midwives can improve their ability to respond to emergencies in obstetrical care. The training can also better prepare rural emergency medicine physicians to deal with unexpected problems and stabilize patients until physicians with obstetrical experience arrive.

The University of Nevada School of Medicine family medicine department in conjunction with the obstetrics and gynecology department in Las Vegas and family medicine department in Reno will continue to organize and recruit obstetrical and emergency care providers throughout Nevada to receive training and become ALSO certified providers. The next provider course will be scheduled for this fall in Las Vegas with another to follow next spring in Reno.

Course graduates who have been identified as excelling in teaching are recommended to be trained as ALSO instructors to grow the program with the vision of creating a network of Nevada instructors to conduct future courses across the state.


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