By Michael Rigert and Audrey Fraizer
Attendees can’t get enough of Euro NAVIGATOR 2014
From the Welcome Reception to the Closing Dinner, it was 99.9 percent about getting down to business at the seventh annual Euro NAVIGATOR, hosted Sept. 10–12 in Wiesbaden, Germany, at the Pentahotel Wiesbaden.
Though plenty of beer glass toasts were made and laughs exchanged during networking opportunities in between sessions, Priority Dispatch Corp. (PDC) President Alan Fletcher said attendees possessed a laser-like focus when it came to absorbing as much of the presentations and protocol education as possible. It didn’t matter if it was Scott Freitag, President of the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED), or Brian Dale, Chair of the IAED’s newly created ED-Q™ Council of Standards, speaking in English or native Austrian and German presenters and experts instructing attendees in German, the attention of conference-goers was equally engrossed.
“The attendees love to socialize and network, but when it became time for a session to begin, they were all there,” Fletcher said. “It was serious business for them.”
Officially, 133 public safety professionals attended the conference representing 40 individual agencies in Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, and Switzerland, said Claire Ulibarri, IAED’s Conference Coordinator. Attendees also toured the Wiesbaden Fire Department’s comm. center (a Fire Protocol user) on the first day of Euro NAVIGATOR.
Jerry Overton, newly appointed Chair of the IAED’s Board of Accreditation, was dually impressed with attendees.
“We’re seeing more of a trend in scientific presentation and data, and the Academy views that as being very valuable,” Overton said. “It’s encouraging to see the interest in police and fire also, and to see that the protocols can cross all of the public safety spectrum.”
He was alluding to the news that the first-ever implementation of the Police Priority Dispatch System (PPDS) on continental Europe is currently underway with the Oldenburg Police Department in the northwestern German state of Lower Saxony.
Oldenburg Police Chief Heiko von Deetzen, Police Officer Alexander Militello, and Chris Knight, IAED’s Director of International Police Systems and Standards, presented the police leadership course at Euro NAVIGATOR, according to Pam Stewart, IAED Executive Manager and Chair of the Academy’s Board of Certification.
“It was great to see the police leadership course so well attended,” she said. “We are very excited for the Oldenburg Police Department to become our first EPD Accredited Center of Excellence in continental Europe.”
Perhaps the most highly anticipated news of the conference was the announcement during the awards ceremony that the Academy had selected Manfred Müllner, an EMD with 144 Notruf Niederösterreich in Austria, for Euro NAVIGATOR 2014’s Dispatcher of the Year accolades. Müllner employed the new Fast Track hands-only CPR compressions tool during a call with a patient who was suffering cardiac arrest.
“Manfred knows how to use these perfectly and efficiently,” said Heinz Novosad, Education and Quality Management Director with 144 Notruf Niederösterreich.
In 2015, Euro NAVIGATOR will take place Sept. 16–18 in Leiden, Netherlands, with tracks offered in Dutch, German, and Italian. It is the first time that the Netherlands has been chosen as the venue for the conference. Leiden, which has a population of about 120,000, is a regional shopping and trade center and home of the famed University of Leiden.
“Euro NAVIGATOR is increasingly becoming about helping comm. centers gain accreditation and continuing to build upon that,” Overton said. “Hopefully, next year in the Netherlands we will be awarding some for their accreditations.”
Suspense was the ticket at UK NAVIGATOR 2014
UK NAVIGATOR scored a 37-percent increase in attendance, with more than 100 dispatchers and their managers gathered for the three-day conference held Sept. 16–18 in Bristol, England.
International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED) Conference Coordinator Claire Ulibarri attributed the impressive jump in numbers to a new twist in the Dispatcher of the Year (DOY) Award presentation and the groundwork of Myki Agasee, the conference’s co-coordinator, to rally the dispatch centers.
Agasee is the Customer Service and Processing Administrator for the Priority Dispatch Corp. (PDC) offices in the U.K.
“Myki did a terrific job from the U.K. office,” Ulibarri said. “She did the chasing, and to her credit, we had a big increase in the number of award nominees.”
Suspense was the order of the DOY award, said IAED Accreditation Officer Beverley Logan.
It was pins and needles until the time of the presentation.
“No one outside the selection committee knew before we said the name on stage,” Logan said.
When the envelope was opened, EMD Jenny Coventry of East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust’s Chelmsford location gasped.
Surprise would be an understatement.
“Jenny was overwhelmed by the honor, and expressed her admiration for her peers at UK NAVIGATOR,” Logan said. “She also gave her personal thanks to the East of England 9-9-9 QA/QI team for ‘keeping her on track.’”
Coventry’s high protocol compliance—and the full complement of qualifications used in the selection process—was demonstrated through a call in which she gave Pre-Arrival Instructions (PAIs) for childbirth to a couple stopped on the roadside while driving to Southend Hospital.
It was Mothering Day (March 30) 2014.
The father delivered the baby, following Coventry’s step-by-step instructions. At birth, however, the baby was not breathing, and Coventry continued to mouth-to-nose CPR instructions. The father again put action to the PAIs. Then the ambulance arrived. The baby—a girl—survived and the family visited Coventry at the communication center not long after the baby’s discharge from the hospital.
“They were so grateful for what everyone had done for their baby,” Logan said. “It was very nice of them. We don’t often hear the results of a call let alone meet the people involved.”
Coventry has been a dispatcher for 10 years.
The award for the best research poster went to Linden Horwood, EMD-Q with Yorkshire Ambulance Service, NHS Trust. Horwood’s poster, “CDE and Service Improvement,” displayed an abstract of the project to increase compliance to the Medical Priority Dispatch System (MPDS) through the use of targeted Continuing Dispatch Education (CDE) lessons.
The Academy’s research staff sponsored the premier poster contest in 2014 to encourage research into the use of the protocol systems and submitting research papers for possible publication in the Academy’s Annals of Emergency Dispatch & Response (AEDR). Judging is based on content, visual display, and the “take-home” message applicable to dispatch.
Horwood’s background is not in research, said Tracey Barron, IAED Research and Studies Officer and Chair of the Council of Research and Clinical Focus Group.
“She came up with the idea and pursued it,” Barron said. “That says a lot about her research interest in relation to the pursuit of quality performance.”
Horwood received a framed AEDR certificate, and she has the opportunity to further develop her research for an article that could be published in the AEDR.
The Bill Boehly Clinician Award for CSD Clinician of the Year was presented to Rebeccaanne Howarth, Clinical Support Desk (CSD) Auditor/Trainer with East of England Ambulance Service. She has been with the ambulance service since 2011.
The CSD provides over-the-phone clinical advice to patients, or someone who has called 9-9-9 on their behalf, regarding less serious conditions to establish the most appropriate response.
Howarth was recognized for her “patient-focused approach” to telephone triage that evolved into accepting her current position. She developed a training program followed by CSD advisers across the region, developed a record keeping system, and publishes a monthly clinical newsletter.
According to the award nomination, Howarth’s “approach to QA allows her to provide constructive, informative feedback,” and she is credited with handling duties in an “effective and diplomatic manner.”
The Bill Boehly Award is exclusive to UK NAVIGATOR and recognizes an individual making significant contributions to the clinical assessment of the patient over the telephone and/or policy development in the area of secondary triage of emergency callers.
East of England Ambulance Service covers the counties of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, and Suffolk.
Jerry Overton, Chair of IAED’s Board of Accreditation, acknowledged London Ambulance Service (LAS) NHS Trust and South Western Ambulance Service (SWAS) NHS Trust for achieving their third and fifth consecutive medical Accredited Centers of Excellence (ACE), respectively.
The ACE presentation was Overton’s first as the recently announced chair of the Board of Accreditation.
“It was an excellent experience, and I can only hope for more next year,” he said.
LAS covers the largest population of any 9-9-9 service in the U.K., with more than 5,000 staff members and 70 ambulance stations serving more than seven million people.
SWAS covers 10,000 square miles (20 percent of mainland England) and serves a population of more than 5.3 million from 97 ambulance stations.
In addition to two full days of educational sessions, the U.K. version of NAVIGATOR, which takes place annually in seven major locations across four continents, featured a Welcome Reception and Closing Dinner.