The Press-Republican, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
ELIZABETHTOWN — Twenty-five students just started the new paramedic class sponsored by University of Vermont Health Network — Elizabethtown Community Hospital.
All are currently EMTs working with local ambulance squads and the 15-month paramedic training will give them the highest level of pre-hospital care certification.
This the third class of ECH’s Paramedic Education Program, which began in 2018.
“It’s clear these students are responding to the call to serve,” said Elizabethtown Community Hospital Paramedic Education Program Director Bruce Barry in a news release. “As EMTs, they are already on the front lines of the pandemic and they are not shying away from taking the next challenging step to advance their skills.”
Barry said the incoming paramedic education class includes students from seven counties across Northern New York, many of whom work full- or part-time in emergency healthcare.
The classes were held at the Essex County Public Safety Building in Lewis before the pandemic, but have switched to a mix of online and in-person education.
The course was designed to be accessible and affordable and instructors now host classes online and in classroom locations in Potsdam and Queensbury, in addition to the Lewis site.
Through their studies and more than 1,000 hours of hands-on training, students develop the skills necessary to perform life-saving procedures such as administering medications orally or intravenously; performing airway management; and resuscitating and supporting patients with heart attacks and traumatic injuries, Barry said.
The program, developed to address a shortage of local paramedic education opportunities, is the region’s first New York State Department of Health accredited program.
Laura Sells-Doyle, president of the Elizabethtown Community Hospital Auxiliary, said supporting paramedic students has been a priority since the program began in 2018.
“We are so fortunate to have this level of training available in our rural region, and to have students dedicated to serving their communities,” said Sells-Doyle in the release. “In an emergency, these folks answer the call, day or night, and never know what they will encounter. We depend on their courage and skill, and are grateful for their commitment.”
Elizabethtown Community Hospital Auxiliary also awarded a total of $5,000 in scholarships toward the cost of tuition to four recipients:
Matt Levenson of Wilmington, who has served for 25 years in pre-hospital emergency care as an EMT, ski patroller, AEMT, and as part of the Wilmington Fire and Rescue backcountry and swift water rescue teams.
John Cook of Granville, who has been involved with the Granville Rescue Squad for 10 years. He was awarded the Preservation of Life Award and the Medal of Valor from the Vermont State Department of Corrections for saving a civilian woman involved in a car accident.
Sierra Frye of Malone, a full-time EMT at the UVM Health Network — Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital and Bangor Fire Department volunteer.
Brian Glasser of Pleasant Valley, who works for Empire Ambulance and has volunteered for six years with Bolton EMS.
“Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, there was clearly a need for more paramedics in the North Country,” said Barry. “Thanks to the support of Elizabethtown Community Hospital, the hospital auxiliary, and the emergency services organizations across the region who support hands-on training, we are working to meet that need.”
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