Ga. medical students get EMT training

The training is meant to teach students to quickly assess a situation and better communicate as they pursue a career in medicine

By Tom Corwin
The Augusta Chronicle

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Even though she didn’t get to hit the siren during her first shift in the ambulance, Adedayo Oduwole said it was still OK.

“It wasn’t as intense as I thought it would be,” she said. Before she even begins her first year at Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University, this future doctor will be certified as an emergency medical technician.

The medical school started a pilot program this summer with about 20 incoming students to put them through 150 hours of EMT training and get them certified before they even begin classes, said Dr. John McManus, the director of the EMS Fellowship program at GRU.

“These (students) will actually be licensed in the state of Georgia and practice as an EMT so they can take notes and do basic treatment under their own license,” he said. “The other advantage we feel is early procedures and interactions with the community. Obviously, most doctors don’t get a lot of training in communication and interaction skills.”

Like other EMTs, the students will be put into situations they will have to quickly assess and will have to learn to think on their feet.

“I’m already pretty good at that,” said incoming student Melvin Marsh.

Jonathan Pham said he was already thinking about taking an EMT course when he applied to medical school and this program was a good early introduction to the procedures and the lingo they will need to master in school.

Catherine Pounds was interested in emergency medicine so the course is giving her “early experience with patients, and early experience in the ER,” she said.

Sharmila Sandirasegarane of Evans has already worked a shift in the ER and it is “maybe something to consider in the future” while having a good opportunity to get experience before classes start.

Training as emergency medical service providers used to be a part of many medical schools back in the ‘70s but slowly fell out of favor, McManus said. It has recently enjoyed a comeback among a few schools and his hope is that it will become a mandatory part of MCG’s curriculum in the future.

If nothing else, McManus said, the experiences will help shape student thinking as they begin to learn about medicine.

“They’re going to deal with all of the nuances of medicine and learn how to communicate, be compassionate, empathetic,” he said. “It’s hard to teach that.”


©2015 The Augusta Chronicle (Augusta, Ga.)

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