NOLS Blog

Browse by Category

Shock: What Causes It and What To Do

By Ben Lerman on 5/31/18 8:41 AM


Photo by Mike Trewartha.

What is shock? It’s a term that gets used frequently in casual conversation to describe emotional reactions. It’s also a serious medical condition that can be difficult to recognize, and even harder to treat, in the wilderness context.

Read More

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

Case Study: Falling Through the Ice

By Tod Schimelpfenig on 1/24/18 9:08 AM

Editor’s Note: This case study is based on a real-life incident from the early 1980’s.

The Setting

You and three friends are on an early winter ski trip. To shorten the route, the group decides to cut across a lake, despite previously agreeing to avoid the lakes due to thin ice.

Read More

Topics: wilderness medicine, case study, winter, NOLS Wilderness Medicine, hypothermia

Quiz: Allergic Reactions and Anaphylaxis

By Ben Lerman on 1/17/18 8:31 AM

 

 
Read More

Topics: wilderness medicine, NOLS Wilderness Medicine, quiz

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