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Principles of physics implicit in emergency medical rescue education and operational practice: a case study of motor vehicle related rescue
Bosman, Justice Selvyn
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Introduction: Road traffic injuries are the ninth leading cause of death globally. Projections indicate that without new and sustained commitment globally to preventing such injuries, the situation will only worsen. Motor vehicle rescue does not lend itself to the prevention of road traffic incidents but through ensuring that all incidents are managed using sound evidence could contribute in positive outcomes for victims. It is unknown what contribution rescue education makes to the body of medical rescue knowledge in South Africa. Aims: The aim of this research was to investigate the relevance and scope of the principles of physics within medical rescue specifically in the context of motor vehicle rescue. It appears that current traditional methods of presenting rescue training, which is mainly procedural and technical, may contribute to 'segmented' learning. Research Methodology: Using an interpretive research design, multiple qualitative methodologies were employed. This methodological triangulation was intended to improve construct validity and trustworthiness of findings. A modified Delphi process through which questionnaires was repeatedly distributed to rescue experts was employed. Process tracing was used to evaluate the developed typical motor vehicle rescue case scenario narrative for underpinnings of the principles of physics. The Bachelor Emergency Medical Care Physics and Extrication subject guides was evaluated for its educational alignment during the document analysis. Legitimation Code theory as a theoretical framework was utilised to appraise the knowledge gap. Results & Discussion: Motor vehicle rescue incident may not always present in a similar manner due to various factors and influences. Development of the typical motor vehicle case narrative from which its physics principles could be identified was imperative. Most motor vehicle rescue related training occur with the vehicle in the upright orientation on all four wheels. This manner of frequent training may restrict rescue practitioners from moving beyond their 'typical' training knowledge when the situation presents a typical. The thematic document analysis of the BEMC Physics and Extrication subject guides lacked the necessary coherence which is required for a professional degree. It was deemed void of certain threshold concepts and structure which would allow the student to move between the theoretical and contextual knowledge. Motor vehicle rescue subject guides and most textbooks on the topic leaned towards a procedural and very technically detailed pedagogy, to the extent that it could contribute to segmented learning. Conclusion: Developing curricula that is underpinned by a theoretically sound evidence base would promote credibility of a qualification. Curricula by design inform the teaching, learning and the competencies which would ultimately be assessed. Professional degrees are intended to develop practitioners who would graduate with the knowledge and competencies to adapt to situations. In addition, graduate attributes of lifelong learning, reflective practice and the ability to contribute to the development of new knowledge is secondary to the goal of qualification attainment.