EMT Program Persists, Sees Success Despite Coronavirus Challenge

Although the coronavirus spread has placed physical restrictions on the EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) program, it is innovatively persisting through the challenge. The semester-long program is currently retaining every student that enrolled.

EMT Program Persists, Sees Success Despite Coronavirus Challenge

Press Release from Coahoma Community College Public Relations; (662) 621-4057 - Melody Dixon

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Fri Apr 17, 2020

Although the coronavirus spread has placed physical restrictions on the EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) program, it is innovatively persisting through the challenge. The semester-long program is currently retaining every student that enrolled. 

Students are barred from demonstrating their skill in person. While they are restricted to electronic means, program director Rhett Nelson has found a way around the luxury of an ambulance and hospital, which are commonly used for clinicals. 

“I am never one to let an austere situation go to waste, so I thrive in coming up with ways to help my instructors keep our students engaged and excited in the learning process, no matter the distance,” said Nelson. “I tell students all the time that our program's mission is their success!” 

Nelson believes his department’s most significant achievement has been the success in keeping its students engaged throughout the transition to an online format. As a result of the department’s ability to adapt to changes, the camera feature on smartphones, desktops, and laptops is now an essential for students studying to become EMTs. 

Along with the online software coordinating with their textbook, students are recording themselves as they perform life-saving techniques on a family member or other isolated ‘patient’ at home. The filming serves as practice for their national credentialing exam facilitated by a proctor. The terminal demonstration, usually done just before graduation, will prove competency.

Because the coronavirus limits this year’s testing to virtual resources, the EMT department is exploring Canvas as an alternative that would allow the test takers to exhibit their knowledge live from home. 

“We have been very fortunate to have as our partner Greenville High School and some of their seniors who are part of the high school's medical pipeline program and who are dually enrolled in our EMT program,” said Nelson.

“As such, we have a total of 20 EMT students from both the high school initiative and public applications.” 

Nelson’s philosophy during the coronavirus crisis is, ‘Where there is an obstacle, there is an opportunity!’ Contributing to the EMT department’s retention success is its supportive team that fully prepares the aspirants for their roles as health professionals. 

“The Coahoma Community College EMT program is committed to supplying our area with top-quality EMTs and paramedics, crisis or not,” Nelson said of the short-term program. “The diversified faculty, guest lecturers, our medical director and the institution of cadaver labs, creating consistent relationships with our ambulance partners, and finally, using the EMT program as a "feeder" for the paramedic program, I believe, will keep our EMT program succeeding for years to come!”

“I could never do what we are able to do without the dedication and support of our instructors Heidi Wilder and Lan Hughes as well as our administrative assistant Ms. Tiffany Wilder and Dean Overton.”

If you are interested learning more about enrolling in the Emergency Medical Technician program, contact director Rhett Nelson at (662)588-0727 or by email at rnelson@coahomacc.edu.