Ga. high school students undergo EMT training

In the course of their training, students will learn basic airway management, bleeding control and basic trauma and some fundamental skills


By Tom Corwin
The Augusta Chronicle

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Bridaija Jones, 18, sees herself as an anesthesiologist one day. Saeed Amaya, 17, has a goal of becoming a cardiologist. Both might begin their medical careers in the back of an ambulance, and a unique high school course could result in them getting licensed as emergency medical technicians after graduation.

The seniors at A.R. Johnson Health Science and Engineering Magnet High School are among about a dozen in an EMT course being taught in conjunction with emergency medicine experts at Augusta University. Jeff Garver, the section chief for pre-hospital medicine in AU’s Department of Emergency Medicine, said he believes it is the only course of its kind in a high school in Georgia.

If successful, it could provide a model for others in the state to replicate, said Denise Kornegay, the executive director of the Georgia Statewide Area Health Education Centers Network. The students got training Thursday with simulators and simulated patients at the AU Interdisciplinary Simulation Center.

In the course of their training, they will learn basic airway management, bleeding control and basic trauma and some fundamental skills, such as how to secure a patient for transport, said Thomas Edwards, the EMS education coordinator for the emergency medicine department and lead instructor of the class.

“When they come out of this course, they will be fully certified EMTs, able to go get a job and able to perform at that basic EMT level,” he said.

That will give them an immediate leg up on getting a job, Garver said.

“If you were applying to some of these fire services out in the CSRA and they see that you already have an EMT certification, that definitely bumps you up on the qualification list,” he said.

Being able to work in the field also will help later on when they are looking to advance to other health professions, Edwards said.

“Those programs want you to have experience,” he said. “This gives them that real-world experience that they will need to get into those programs, beyond the general shadowing that everybody else has. It will make them more competitive in the long run.”

The course requires them to go out into the field and get those experiences, Edwards said.

“They have to do extensive clinical (rotations), both in the ER and on an ambulance where they will be expected to perform at the level that they are being trained,” he said. “This is real, hands on. They will have the opportunity here, as students in this program, to actually go out and save someone’s life.”

Students were craving that kind of hands-on experience, and it is one reason Principal John Tudor said he worked with Garver on getting the course established. But it was also one of the reasons the school wanted students and parents to be prepared for it, Tudor said.

“We’ve had very deep conversations with these students and their parents, especially as they prepare for their clinical opportunities with our emergency responders here in the local community, that this is real,” he said. “And they will be potentially exposed to life-changing events out there where the skills of our emergency responders are needed to save lives.”

It is something Amaya is actually looking forward to doing.

“You get to be the person,” he said. “You can give somebody their life back.”

Jones said she is ready for it to get real.

“I like the blood and guts kind of thing,” she said.

Copyright 2017 The Augusta Chronicle

McClatchy-Tribune News Service
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