Ten individuals were recognized Nov. 7 for completing the Emergency Medical Service–Paramedicine training program. The open enrollment program was the first of its kind at WKU, allowing registered EMTs to pursue their certification as a paramedic through a credit coursework or training certification pathway.
The paramedic program offers skills and knowledge to render advanced lifesaving techniques in an emergency situation. Successful completion of the program enables the student to sit for the National Registry of EMTs Paramedic licensing exam. Paramedic licensing is required for all advanced life support ambulance service.
Lee Brown, program coordinator and director of the Kentucky Emergency Medical Services Academy (KEMSA), developed the for-credit aspect to meet the demand for paramedic professionals within the WKU service area. Prior to this cohort offering, paramedic education was only available through sponsoring organizations. KEMSA partnered with the Division of Extended Learning & Outreach (DELO) which provided administrative support to launch the program, including building awareness and providing enrollment and registration services.
“We are committed to preparing high quality individuals to be effective and compassionate paramedics,” Brown said.
Graduates of the program were: Rob Hicks of Bowling Green; Bryan McElroy of Franklin, Tenn.; Adam Miller of Spring Hill, Tenn.; Lacey Morris of Morgantown; Jonathan Muse of Tompkinsville; Katherine Rogers of Clarksville, Tenn.; Adam Short of Tompkinsville; Stephanie Smith of Russellville; Heather Wacker of Oak Grove; and Christina Wright of Radcliff.
The program requires five semesters or roughly 20 months of classroom based instructor combined with clinical experience and skills mastery. The credit bearing pathway students enroll in 40 credit hours during that timeframe.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment of EMTs and paramedics is expected to grow by 33 percent from 2010 to 2020, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.
According to Dr. Lynn Austin, Allied Health department head, paramedics play an important role in the community they serve. “One in every seven people will receive services of a paramedic during their lifetime . . . often at life’s most critical moments,“ she told the graduates.