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PracMed NZ "Stop the Bleed" workshop, review.

My wife and I recently completed the PracMed NZ Stop the Bleed workshop in Palmerston North. As someone whos done a bunch of different medical courses over the years I was really impressed by it and wanted to do a quick review. Living in a rural area far from help and using tools like chainsaws and firearms its a good idea to be proficient in some core medical procedures, stopping bleeding being one. Even if you are a true city slicker its still a good course. The fact is we are most likely to use these skills on the road, by the end of June 195 people had died on our roads just this year.

The course is run by Simon who is a very polished and experienced instructor, engaging and thorough he presents the material well. One thing a military background gives you is a lot of experience both taking and giving instruction. Simon is knowledgeable and passionate about the subject. Hes gone to a lot of effort to condense things down to the essentials to make it easier for folks to understand and retain the information for when you need it.

Paraphrased from
The PracMed NZ 4-hour workshop is designed to deliver knowledge, build confidence and ensure individual practical skills if you are faced with life threatening bleeding. The purpose of this workshop is to support and advance a Basic Life Support level of competence and understanding dealing with haemorrhage control. It is run in a logical systematic manner with plenty of hands on exercises to ensure practical confidence, it covers the following aspects of haemorrhage control:
- Identifying serious bleeding.
- Blood sweep techniques and exposing wounds.
- Indirect Pressure (IDP).
- Wound assessment and packing.
- Bandaging.
- Use of the Combat Application Tourniquet.
- Post control casualty care and shock management.

The course follows the proven format of theory followed by practical exercises, the presentation is done well with a minimum of time spent on video and power point, just enough to get the info across but not to pad the course out or fill in time (this definitely not a tick the box workshop).

The training is thorough and hands on, the medical equipment covered isn't difficult to use but there is a procedure to follow and the middle of an emergency with blood pissing everywhere isn't the time to be reading the directions on the packet or messing about with packaging.

All the equipment used on the course is provided and it is recommended to wear dark clothing, I managed to get some fake blood on me which washed out easy enough.

For me the section on Indirect Pressure is worth the price of admission alone, this is important and the best block of instruction I've had on the subject, better than the Army team medic and civi FPOS-I courses I have done, I think this is the advantage of doing a short course that focuses on one subject.

Another stand out feature, to me at least, PracMed has some great training tools. One is the wound tube, this wound simulator allows you to practice packing the wound as the instructor pumps blood out the wound. The student quickly learns if they are doing it properly or not, this is a great piece of kit and I wish we had had them in the Army.


The students were a good mix of men and women from the hunting and shooting community along with those who understand the realities of working with dangerous equipment in remote areas, a great bunch of Kiwis.

This is a great course put together by someone who definitely knows what they are talking about. A lot of effort has been put into stripping things down to the essentials, this is not a tick the box exercise but useful practical knowledge. I was shocked at the amount of skill fade I had experienced, even in areas I was "confident" in and a wake up call that medical training (like a lot of things) is an ongoing thing. I will definitely be back again for a top up. Any course is just the beginning and the skills learnt should be regularly practiced, the course is short and cheap enough that its worth doing every year or two (perhaps PracMed could offer a discount to returnees?). Its become some what fashionable nowadays to carry certain types medical kit, this is great but if your going to carry a tourniquet or whatever you really should learn how to use it first.

To learn more about PracMed and their workshops follow the link below

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