Tenn. community college creates paramedic to nurse bridge program
Potential candidates must be currently working in the field, but the program tailors classes to fit a paramedic’s busy schedule
By EMS1 Staff
COVINGTON, Tenn. — A community college has successfully implemented a bridge program for paramedics to become registered nurses.
Covington Leader reported that Dyersburg State Community College Jimmy Naifeh Center started the program to give paramedics looking for more opportunities a chance to get the right education.
“I spent 20 years waiting on this program,” former student Shelly Hulbert said. “The opportunity showed up right after the fire department took away our retirement benefits. When that happened, I said, 'I have to go back to school.'”
Potential candidates for the program must be currently licensed and working as a paramedic, and they must also complete certain college classes before applying.
Josiah Jones, the class president for the program, is a full-time paramedic as well as a full-time student thanks to the program’s flexible schedule that fits with a paramedic’s hectic work life.
“I'm very fortunate now to be in a place, working as a paramedic, that does have good hours because it is a hospital-based environment,” Jones said. “But I have previously worked in places that were 48-72 hour shifts, where you work exactly half the days of your life plus drive time home. You stay there 72 hours at a time on the clock, so it's very demanding physically, emotionally and mentally.”
Dean of Nursing Amy Johnson said the program was created due to a desire from the community, and some students travel more than three hours to attend as it is the only program of its kind in the area.
“Everyone in our EMS world was buzzing about it, talking about it, wanting to get in,” Jones said.
“And then, of course, there are the skeptics out there that sit back and say, 'I'm going to see how this goes,'” Hulbert added.
The program’s first class saw a 100 percent pass rate on the first attempt.
“That is phenomenal,” Johnson said. “It's much easier to survive as a group, than as a loner. It's a teamwork approach. In EMS, everything is done as a team.”
For more information about the program, click here.