Wilderness Medicine for the Professional Practitioner

This course is designed for current EMTs, physicians, and RNs who wish to upgrade their pre-exisiting skill set to be able to provide comprehensive patient assessment and treatment when in remote or wilderness environments.

The 2-day module is pre-approved for 16 hours of Basic EMT continuing education units (CEUs) by the Continuing Education Coordinating Board for Emergency Medical Services (CECBEMS). Through joint sponsorship with the Wilderness Medical Society physicians may earn 16 hours of category 1 CME's for participation in the Wilderness Medicine for the Professional Practitioner course. This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of theAccreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education through the joint sponsorship of the WildernessMedical Society and the NOLS Wilderness Medicine Institute. The Wilderness Medical Society is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The Wilderness Medical Society designates this educational activity for a maximum 15 hours of AMA PRA Category 1 Credits ™. Each physician should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of his or her participation in the activity. The NOLS Wilderness Medicine Institute is a non-profit educational organization that is not, in any of its activities, sponsored by any proprietary entity. Active members of the Wilderness Medical Society may earn up to 16 hours of credit towards a Fellowship of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine (FAWM).

Course Length: 
2 Days

Licensed medical professional.

Primary Classification: 
Certifications Received: 
  • Certificate of Completion
Continuing Education: 
  • This course is pre-approved for 16 hours of EMT Continuing Education Hours by the State of Colorado and the Continuing Education Coordinating Board for Emergency Medical Services (CECBEMS).
  • Through joint sponsorship with the Wilderness Medical Society physicians may earn 15 hours of continuing education for participation in this course. Additional costs apply.
  • Active members of the Wilderness Medical Society may earn up to 16 hours of credit towards a Fellowship of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine (FAWM). There is an additional fee of $15 for students requesting these credits

Topics include:

  • Wilderness versus Urban Medicine
  • Patient Assessment in the Wilderness
  • Head Injuries
  • Spine Injuries
  • Shock
  • Focused Spine Assessment
  • Chest Injuries
  • Musculoskeletal Injuries
  • Spinal Immobilization
  • Medical Decision-making
  • Wilderness Wound Management
  • Water Disinfection
  • Small Group Leadership
  • Cold Injuries
  • Heat Illnesses
  • Lightning
  • Altitude Illness
  • Envenomation
  • The Medical Patient in the Wilderness
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Wilderness Medical Legal Considerations and Closure

Listed below are items that you will need to bring with you to your course. We try to be outside as much as possible regardless of the weather. Please come prepared so that you are comfortable.

  • Positive attitude ready to share and take in information
  • A Watch!!!
  • One set of clothes (shirt and pants/shorts) to completely destroy with moulage and shears
  • Rain gear tops and bottoms
  • Layers of clothing (so you can take a layer off if you are hot/put one on if you are cold, + extra items for your “patient”)
  • Hats
    • one warm (not made of cotton)
    • and one for the sun
  • Mittens or gloves if it will be cold out
  • Footwear for the environment (close toed shoes for being out doors/inside sandals are o.k.)
  • Light (flash light or headlamp)
  • Ground cloth or small tarp (6X4 sheet of plastic is fine)
  • Sleeping pad (ensolite, ridgerest, thermarest, Crazy Creek Chair)
  • Bandanas or cordage of any kind
  • You are welcome to bring your toys to improvise with (pfd’s, skis/poles, paddles, harnesses, climbing rope)
  • Water bottles (1qt or 1 liter) for drinking water
  • Food to snack on to keep your energy up (we’ll have big days)
  • Backpack or knapsack to put all this stuff in

*** A WFA course can be used to recertify a WMI WFR cert that is in date or in its grace year.

*** If you are a WFR planning to recertify with this course, you MUST bring copies of your current WFR and CPR certifications to the course for instructor review.

Managing a patient in a wilderness, remote or disaster setting requires you to adapt your existing medical knowledge into a new context. Building on your background in urban emergency care, you will develop competency in the critical wilderness medicine skills needed to take care of a patient in an extended care environment. These skills include: orthopedic injury management and improvised splinting, focused spine assessment, improvised litter construction, environmental emergency management and leadership and communication skills.

We will provide you the latest information on decision-making principles and practices guiding wilderness treatment and evacuation decisions. This 2-day intensive module takes a hands-on approach toward presenting curriculum utilizing practical scenarios, role play and case studies. Expect to spend plenty of time applying your knowledge.

Certification is based on student participation and instructor observation. Your rescue gear needs to be packed and ready to go at any moment throughout the course. Please refer to and follow the WUMP Rescue Gear Checklist closely, as you will still need to have a well-stocked rescue pack. Please be in touch if you need further clarification in order to prepare.

Bad things happen outdoors and usually in bad weather! So, be prepared...dress in layers that you can remove indoors or in the sun, and layer up when we go outside. Full rain protection is a necessity, both raintops and pants. Your comfort and ability to pay attention during this intense course will be helped if you stay well-hydrated and have snacks on hand to munch during class. The course ends near 5PM on the last day with student evaluations of the experience, and graduation. Please do not make travel plans that require an earlier departure or you will have to make alternative testing arrangements at a later course.

Additional Resources:

If you would like to read ahead, you can visit the NOLS bookstore on-line at www.nols.edu/wmi. You will find some great resources there, particularly Todd Schimelpfenig’s NOLS - Wilderness Medicine. Other resources will be provided during your course, so it is not necessary to purchase any ahead of time.


Cullowhee, North Carolina

Sat, 2018-04-14 to Sun, 2018-04-15

Course Details