Student's Frequently Asked Questions
Q: I took my original certification in the USA. I am recerting in Canada. Is this the same curriculum?
Yes. All Wilderness Medical Associates International courses use the same curriculum. There are some visual differences in the certification received. Please contact the office for clarity. However, regardless of country, the Wilderness Medical Associates curriculum and instruction is the same worldwide on all seven continents. Recerting can be done at any country in the world where a course is offered.
Q: What is wilderness medicine?
The provision of medical care complicated by the following factors:
- Time – Although sometimes translated into chronological time, in essence it is when access to definitive care is delayed by logistics, distance or hazard and as a result can increase risk to the patient and/or rescuers. Time delays may also compel properly trained practitioners to initiate hospital-level care in the field if doing so would reduce risk and improve outcome.
- Equipment – Remote locations can also have an impact on equipment and supplies needed and used. Weight, size, functionality and appropriateness for the particular environment are also important considerations. Utility in the emergency department or in an EMS vehicle does not make equipment appropriate for many environments or tasks. And, if you don’t have what you need, improvisation may be the only solution.
- Environment – Traditionally, this aspect of wilderness medicine is thought of in terms of meteorological or atmospheric extremes –hot, cold, wet, dry, altitude. Any of these can cause a problem, make a developing one worse or pre–existing one unstable. But environmental extremes are only part of the equation. Disasters, armed conflict and mass casualty incidents can also make assessments difficult, treatments complicated and evacuations problematic. These can be issues of place rather than location.
Q: Is CPR included?
CPR is included on all of our standard core curriculum courses. This is not a pre-requisite. WFR graduates earn an equivalent to healthcare provider level CPR that includes adults and children, airway management, oxygen administration, and AED use. WFA and WAFA graduates earn the equivalent of adult CPR with AED training. Although both levels receive a WMA certification good for 3 years, some jurisdictions and employers may require CPR certification on a yearly basis. All WMA CPR courses are based on the 2010 American Heart Association/ILCOR guidelines and any published updates.
Q: Who accredits and recognizes your curriculum?
As an international organization we attempt to acquire accreditation wherever possible. Oftentimes we are engaged in setting the standard of practice in various fields and geographies. The curriculum is accredited by the Canadian Federal Government and numerous provincial Canadian workplace safety organizations. In the United States, WMA is a partnering consultant to the Wilderness Medical Society. Internationally, Wilderness Medical Associates is recognized as the leader and standard in medical and first-aid certifications used for remote workplaces.
With respect to recognition, the certification is recognized internationally, across a variety of industries. Ask a potential employer if they’ll recognize your certification and what level will give you the most visibility on your resume for the work that you want to do.
Q: What the differences between an Wilderness EMT and a Wilderness First Responder?
The WFR course is designed for outdoor leaders and travelers who will be taking part in trips or expeditions far from the beaten path. Most students have little or no prior medical training or experience as caregivers. The WFR course provides graduates with a comprehensive introduction to practical medicine and a solid foundation from which to make treatment decisions about routine and complicated medical problems when sophisticated medical care is far away.
The EMT/WEMT is an EMT–Basic course plus the WEMT Upgrade (see below). As a result it is a considerably longer and more comprehensive than the WFR. The EMT/WEMT is designed for outdoor professionals who require an EMS credential for a job or who are looking to have a leadership position as an outdoor professional (e.g., park service, exploration, disasters, relief work, ski patrol, aid stations). The wilderness portion covers the same ground as the WFR but goes further. It will focus more on the appropriate selection and use of EMS technology and medications as well as complex decision making.
WMA really cares about the students. They don't just toss info at you and expect you to regurgitate it. They make sure you know it and can use it, without apprehension when you really need it.