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Expedition & Wilderness Medicine Courses 

What is Expedition and Wilderness medicine?

Expedition and wilderness medicine is a branch of medicine that involves providing healthcare in remote and challenging environments where there is minimal access to conventional medical facilities.

It involves managing medical emergencies, illnesses, and injuries during outdoor expeditions, remote adventures, and journeys in wilderness settings. This can be challenging, not just because of the lack of facilities, but because these types of injuries and emergencies can be difficult to manage. Much of the time, you will be the only medical officer on an expedition, and you will have to attend to them alone.

Is it a Good Choice For Me?

Certainly not everyone is made for expedition and wilderness medicine. To see whether it is a good choice for you, just go through the following list and see whether you can relate.

  • You like the outdoors and activities like camping, hiking, trekking, etc.
  • You are calm and confident in emergencies and a good decision-maker.
  • You have training in emergency management.
  • You are confident working alone.
  • You are good at improvising and making use of available resources.
  • You understand how different environmental conditions can affect injuries and the recovery process.

If you can agree to most of these questions, then you may consider the option of doing expedition and wilderness medicine. If not, then it is best that you stay back in the wards.

Even if you can tick all these boxes, prior training is a must. Expedition and wilderness medicine is so different from conventional medicine that following a training program is always recommended.

Expedition Medicine Courses

Expedition medicine is specifically related to providing medical care during planned expeditions, excursions, or journeys.

There is a preset itinerary or goal and the team will be working accordingly. The doctor’s job would be to take care of any injuries, illnesses, or complications that arise during the course of the journey.

Expedition medicine courses and training programs may cover the following competencies.

  • Preparation for expeditions
  • Basic life support
  • Wound and fracture management
  • Transportation of injured members
  • Working in different environmental conditions
  • Leadership and team management

Wilderness Medicine Course

Wilderness medicine as opposed to expedition medicine covers a broader area. Again, it involves working in remote settings, but not during planned journeys. Instead, there is more emphasis on the general skills and knowledge required to manage medical emergencies and illnesses in any wilderness setting.

The best wilderness medicine courses from several course providers can be found at MedCourse. Some of the course content may be similar, but you may notice some subtle differences.

  • Preparation of wilderness medicine kits
  • First aid
  • Basic life support
  • Wound and fracture management
  • Working in different environmental conditions
  • Emergency response and communication

Wilderness & Expedition First Aid Courses

Injuries are extremely common in wilderness and expedition medicine. With no hospitals in the vicinity, first aid should be given until the injured can be safely transported to a medical institution.

Unlike other courses, even non-medical personnel may be accepted for first aid courses. Especially hikers, campers, and outdoor enthusiasts will find first aid courses invaluable to safely engage in recreational activities.

Emergency first aid is needed in conditions such as:

  • Wounds
  • Fractures
  • Burns
  • Hyper/ hypothermia
  • Drowning
  • Exacerbation of pre-existing medical conditions

A wilderness/expedition first aid course may teach you how to manage such conditions in outdoor settings.

Expedition leadership courses

How are expedition medicine and leadership interrelated?

Just think about it. Imagine you are the doctor of a team going on an expedition. One member is severely injured and he needs your help. But can you help him/ her alone?

Obviously not! You will have to recruit other non-medical team members to join your cause and get their help in saving their injured friend, and you will need good leadership skills to do it.

In an expedition leadership course, you may be exposed to principles of,

  • Expedition planning
  • Risk management and safety
  • Team management
  • Communication