Prehospital Care



An understanding of and appreciation for prehospital care is essential to Emergency Medicine training. Vanderbilt offers a multitude of opportunities to participate directly in prehospital care, including: ride-alongs with EMS units, flying with LifeFlight, and providing online medical control.




Nashville Fire Department (NFD) is a fire-based EMS system and responds to over 66,000 incidents per year!! During July of your first year, you will have multiple opportunities to ride-along with Nashville’s busiest medic units!! During your EMS month (PGY-2) you will not only ride-along on the medic units but will respond to calls with the NFD assistant medical director. Skill sets such as initial resuscitation and airway management in hostile environments are stressed.



LifeFlight is the critical care air medical transport service of Vanderbilt University Medical Center. They operate 4 full time helicopters, 2 fixed wing aircraft, and one neonatal critical care ambulance. Residents are able to fly on the helicopter as a crew member every Friday! You will shadow our most experienced extended skill nursing providers and respond to critically ill medical patients and severely injured trauma patients.

The Event Medicine division of LifeFlight was founded in 2008 and is responsible for the medical coverage of more than 500 events per year. Events include coverage at Bridgestone Arena, CMA fest, Steeplechase, the downtown Nashville New Year’s Eve bash and multiple Vanderbilt athletic events, including NCAA Division 1 football. Event Medicine operates four ambulances and employs more than 40 people, including EMT’s, paramedics and nurses. You will have the opportunity to participate in an array of these mass gathering events during your three years.



While working in the Emergency Department, you will be able to provide online medical control to Nashville Fire Department’s Medic Units and to LifeFlight. This is a great opportunity to learn about providing medical direction and the development of prehospital protocols.


During your second year, you will have an entire month dedicated to learning about EMS. This will consist of ride-alongs with NFD medic units, the NFD assistant medical director, and LifeFlight. In addition, you will be an active participant in the NFD quality improvement/quality assurance meetings in which run tickets are evaluated and paramedic mentoring occurs. Nationally-renowned speaker and educator  Dr. Corey Slovis , the NFD medical director, will also educate the resident on building and maintaining a successful fire-based prehospital healthcare system. You will have the opportunity to film an inservice  video  for paramedic education, formally speak to prehospital providers at “EMS Night Out” conferences, and attend an extrication course given by the Nashville Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team.