Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

MS in Physician Assistant Studies (PA)


Physician Assistant Studies


Background: Much of the general population has a lack of first aid knowledge, despite engaging in activities that might end in needing some level of medical care. Even when first aid education is gained, sometimes it is subpar or less relevant to wilderness excursions. In order to create a high quality wilderness first aid course, it should be interactive and take place in a wilderness setting. Having basic first aid skills increases confidence and reduces anxiety of participants, possibly reducing the rate of injury.

Purpose: This needs assessment sets out to determine the first aid needs and concerns held by outdoor education participants in order to better construct a curriculum to serve their safety needs.

Methods: This needs assessment was conducted during participation in the Augsburg University Boundary Waters Teacher Institute. This was an outdoor education course including 16 participants that took place in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. This course took place from July 9th 2023 until July 15th 2023, and consisted of three nights camping at Sawbill Campground and 3 nights in the remote backcountry. This study involved observation by the researcher of the public behavior by the participants of this trip.

Conclusions: Based on observations from a remote outdoor education program, this research found important topics to cover being diarrheal illness, Lyme Disease, muscle sprain, muscle strain, bone fracture, dislocation, laceration, burns, and head injury. Skills that are good candidates for an experiential component are tick removal, splinting, tourniquet tying, wound dressing, and burn care.


SC 11.PAS.2023.Niemiec.M