Classwork & Homework

Students often describe the experience of trying to assimilate all of the information presented on a NOLS Wilderness Medicine course as being akin to trying to drink from a firehose.  The WFR is a professional certification encompassing 80 hours of instruction.  You can expect these 80 hours to be divided between classroom lectures, outdoor scenarios, low consequence quizzes, focused skills practice, and case studies.  This guided learning will be complemented by self-directed study after-hours consisting of readings, videos, case studies, practice tests, and skill practice.  See below for a comprehensive list of assignments, including a few to be completed before you arrive.

There are two Texts for this class: The Wilderness Medicine Handbook and NOLS Wilderness Medicine.  The reading assignments below all refer to NOLS Wilderness Medicine.  You’ll use your Handbook to take notes in class and as a memory aide during scenarios. (You don't need to purchase any books prior to class.  You'll receive hard copies of both Texts on the morning of Day 1.)

Prior to Day 1

  • Video: Please watch the Patient Assessment System Video on the NOLS Wilderness Medicine Youtube Channel.  It’s about ten minutes long.  

  • Reading: Once you’ve gotten some context for the PAS by watching the video, read NOLS Wilderness Medicine Chapter 1.  This chapter is about 20 pages long.  You’ll receive a hard copy of this text once you arrive in class, so we’re just providing the first chapter for now.

  • Download: On your phone, visit the App Store and download the free Zello App.  This turns your phone into a walkie-talkie.  If you don't have a smartphone, don’t worry about it.  You can still take and pass the class.

  • Looking Forward: The theme for Day 1 will be Assessment.

Night 1

  • Reading: NOLS Wilderness Medicine, Chaps 2-4.

  • Video: A Doctor’s Touch (18:32)

  • Written Homework: Create a chart with the names of 10 of your classmates and one Instructor down the left column, and TIME, LOR, HR, RR, SCTM, BP, P, SP02, LUNG SOUNDS across the top.  This sheet is due at 1 pm on Day 5.

  • Looking Forward: The theme for Day 2 will be Spinal Injuries.

Night 2

  • Reading: NOLS Wilderness Medicine, Chaps 5-6.  Consider getting a head start on tomorrow night's reading (Chaps 7-10, 23) since we have class from 6:30-10:30 tomorrow night.

  • Video: The Focused Spine Assessment (4:20)

  • Lesson planning: If you're teaching on the morning of Day 4, you'll want to prepare your lesson plan tonight, so that you can check in with an Instructor prior to 5pm tomorrow.

  • Looking Forward: The theme for Day 3 will be Musculoskeletal Injuries.

Night 3

  • Note: We have a class session on this night.

  • Reading: NOLS Wilderness Medicine, Chaps 7-10, 23.

  • Remember: The first student taught classes are tomorrow.

  • Looking Forward: The theme for Day 4 will be Soft Tissue Injuries.

Night 4

  • Case Study: With a partner, visit the NOLS Wilderness Medicine Resources Page.  Scroll down till you see the case studies.  Select one at random.  Read through, pausing to make an assessment and plan before going on to page two.  If you’re confronted with an illness we haven’t studied yet, use your spiral bound to inform your decision making!  Tomorrow morning, the instructors will select 3 teams at random to present their case studies (3 sentence summary of the case study, assessment, and plan) to the class.

  • Reading: NOLS Wilderness Medicine, Chaps 11-14, 26.

  • Remember: Your vitals sheet is due at noon tomorrow.

  • Looking Forward: The theme for Day 5 will be Environmental Problems.

Night 5  

  • Reading: NOLS Wilderness Medicine, Chaps 17, 19.  Catch up on any reading you’ve missed.

  • Practice Test: Take your first practice test (50 questions).  When you’re finished, grade your text using the answers given at the end.  We’ll review this in class tomorrow.

  • Looking Forward: The theme for Day 6 will be Medical Patients.

(On a 10 day WFR Day 6 is a Day off, so night 6 would be night 7, etc.)

Night 6

  • Reading: NOLS Wilderness Medicine, Chaps 16, 18-19.

  • Practice Test: Take your second practice test. It's 150 questions.  Hit “check answer” after each question.  Snap a picture with your phone or take a screenshot of any question you don't understand why you got wrong.  It’s important that you do this tonight.  Tomorrow is a night session, and on the final night you’ll want to be practicing for the practical test.

  • Looking Forward: The theme for Day 7 will be Team Leadership.

Night 7

  • Note: We have a night rescue tonight.

  • Reading:  NOLS Wilderness Medicine Chapters 12, 20-22, 27-29.

  • Looking Forward: The theme for Day 8 will be Tying Up Loose Ends.

Night 8

  • Test Prep: Form a study group of three.  Meet up and do 3 test style scenarios.  Debrief after each one.

  • Reading:  NOLS Wilderness Medicine Chapters 24-25.

  • Looking Forward: The theme for Day 9 will be Celebrations of Knowledge (aka “Testing”).

In Class Resources