NOLS Blog

Browse by Category

Case Study: How to Manage Frostbite

By Tod Schimelpfenig on 12/14/17 10:49 AM

Editor’s Note: We developed this hypothetical scenario to represent a common and plausible situation on winter backcountry trips.

Read More

Topics: wilderness medicine, case study, NOLS Wilderness Medicine, frostbite

7 Jobs You Can Get with a Wilderness Medicine Certification

By Ben Lerman on 12/6/17 8:35 AM

You’re thinking about starting a new career. Your dream job might be working in the outdoors. Or fighting fires. Or in a hospital. Or maybe you want to instruct NOLS courses.

If you're looking to get into one of these fields, getting a wilderness medicine certification can help you get started.

Read More

Topics: wfa, WFR, wilderness medicine, WEMT, NOLS Wilderness Medicine

Responding to Hurricane Harvey with Wilderness First Aid Skills

By Brad Zirkel on 10/31/17 8:32 AM

We found ourselves in our boat pulling away from the only dry land we could see. It looked as though a normal city neighborhood, with older homes lined up in rows covered by large shade trees, had been built in the middle of a shallow lake.

Read More

Topics: first aid, wilderness medicine, NOLS Wilderness Medicine

Case Study: BASE Jumping Accident

By Jake Blackwelder on 10/24/17 9:13 AM

Editor’s note: This case study is based on a real-life incident responded to by NOLS Wilderness Medicine Instructor Jake Blackwelder.

Read More

Topics: wilderness medicine, Wilderness First Aid, case study, NOLS Wilderness Medicine

9 Hygiene Tips for Your Camp Kitchen

By Ben Lerman on 9/27/17 8:12 AM

Telling your friends about the peak you climbed or the rapid you ran are the things you want to bring home from the backcountry—not a foodborne illness.

Taking turns cooking is a part of camping, and it helps when everyone has the same routines for kitchen hygiene, especially for friends who are new to cooking in the outdoors.

Read More

Topics: camping, wilderness medicine, cooking, NOLS Wilderness Medicine

5 Things to Check in Your First Aid Kit

By Tod Schimelpfenig on 6/27/17 8:53 AM

Be honest—when was the last time you looked inside your first aid kit? Was it just last week, or was it long enough ago that you couldn’t confirm whether a family of packrats had made a home in it or not?

Read More

Topics: wilderness medicine, Wilderness First Aid, First Aid Kit, NOLS Wilderness Medicine

Leveling Up: From the Operating Room to the Backcountry

By Katy Trahan on 6/21/17 12:46 PM

Editor’s Note: Surgeon Katy Trahan levels up her medical training on a Wilderness Upgrade for Medical Professionals course with NOLS.

Read More

Topics: wilderness medicine, NOLS Wilderness Medicine

Rhode Island: The Final Frontier

By Ben Tettlebaum on 6/7/17 4:27 PM

“Though she be but little, she is fierce!”
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
-William Shakespeare

For the first time in our 50-plus years, NOLS set foot in that tiniest and most elusive of states—Rhode Island.

Read More

Topics: wilderness medicine, NOLS Wilderness Medicine

A First Responder Changes the Conversation about Mental Health

By Jared Apperson on 5/25/17 1:17 PM

Editor’s note: Jared Apperson is a longtime NOLS Wilderness Medicine instructor and former flight paramedic. Here, he talks about the psychological challenges of working in emergency medicine and his mission to raise awareness of post traumatic stress for first responders.

Read More

Topics: first aid, wilderness medicine, NOLS Wilderness Medicine, psychological first aid

The 5 Components of Psychological First Aid

By Laura McGladrey on 5/22/17 8:17 AM

Editor’s note: Adapted from the Spring 2017 issue of The Leader under the title “Psychological First Aid Toolkit—What’s in Yours?”

The common image of a first responder is someone with a snappy set of gloves smoothly bandaging a spurting wound or administering an EpiPen to a patient having an anaphylactic reaction. Injuries, we imagine, are easy to see and easy to fix.

While treating physical wounds seems like the most important way a first responder can help a patient, there’s a lot that we can do to care for a patient’s mental health, especially during and right after a traumatic event.

Read More

Topics: first aid, wilderness medicine, NOLS Wilderness Medicine, psychological first aid

Rescue at Goblin Valley State Park

By Shelli Johnson on 5/10/17 6:21 AM

Editor’s note: Shelli Johnson and her family were on vacation in Utah’s Goblin Valley State Park when they found themselves first responders on the scene after a girl took a serious fall from a cliff (story here).

Here, Shelli writes about what it was like for her, her husband, and their three sons to be the first responders (Shelli took NOLS Brooks Range Backpacking - Prime and Wilderness First Responder courses).

Read More

Topics: wilderness medicine, NOLS Wilderness Medicine

Prevent Minor Trail Injuries with Advice from NOLS Staff

By Molly Herber on 4/25/17 9:30 AM

Before my first NOLS course, I got a lot of advice. For example, my brother told me to “Remember that you always have a way to get warm and dry,” and gave plenty of advice on how to be a good teammate (mainly, don’t complain).

But a lot of the little things I had to learn on my own—like, for example, the fact that your scalp can get sunburned. Ouch.

To help you prepare for the little things (which, in the end, usually aren’t so little, especially when it comes to blisters or the flu), a group of experienced NOLSies shared some of their favorite advice to help you be as prepared as possible before hitting the trail.

Read More

Topics: wilderness medicine, Wilderness First Aid, NOLS Wilderness Medicine

10 Useful Wilderness Medicine Posts To Read Before Your Next Adventure

By Molly Herber on 3/2/17 10:38 AM

Before getting ready for any trip, it’s important to review your wilderness first aid skills.

Read More

Topics: Expedition Prep, wilderness medicine, NOLS Wilderness Medicine

The Big Picture: How I Found My Grit on a Semester in Baja

By Sarah Buer on 1/25/17 8:20 AM

Tell us a little about your NOLS course.

Three years ago as part of a gap year, I took part in a semester-long, eighty day NOLS course in Baja California.

This course consisted of fifteen students and four highly-trained instructors embarking on a 100-mile hike from San Juanico to Mulegé, a 120-nautical mile sail on the Sea of Cortez from Loreto to just about south of Puerto Agua Verde, and ending with a 250-mile sea kayaking journey from Puerto Agua Verde to a town called Tecalote. (I also received sixteen college credits for my course, ranging from wilderness first aid to Leave No Trace principles!)

Read More

Topics: Semester, Baja, sea kayak, Baja Sea Kayaking, Live the Dream, NOLS semester, Gap Year, education, backcountry, NOLS Wilderness Medicine

ASL-Supported Course Fosters Inclusive Diversity and Growth

By Shari Leach on 9/6/16 8:20 AM

This course was by far the most diverse NOLS Wilderness Medicine course I've ever taught.

There was geographic diversity, with students from as far away as Slovakia, Puerto Rico and Florida, as well as those just a few miles down the road.

Read More

Topics: wfa, WFR, diversity and inclusion, Wilderness First Responder, wilderness medicine, Wilderness First Aid, education, NOLS Wilderness Medicine, Wilderness Medicine