Technical colleges help area paramedics meet regulations

January 15, 2013

From “Technical colleges help area paramedics meet  regulations” — A cooperative program between two area technical colleges is keeping emergency medical response workers up to date on what they need to know to transport critically ill patients.

A critical care transport class offered by Chippewa Valley Technical College – in cooperation with Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College in Rice Lake – was created with the help of a government grant to respond to the needs of ambulance services in rural areas.

A patient in transport needing a unit of blood might expect that EMTs or paramedics on board the ambulance could simply take care of that procedure. However, it is not that simple.

The medical procedures emergency medical services personnel are able to do, and what they are prohibited from doing, are tightly regulated. Delivering a unit of blood, for example, requires training in critical care transport because of new regulations.

Some ambulance services, particularly those that serve rural areas, were in danger of losing their certification to transport patients with particular needs. To address that need, CVTC offered a class and partnered with WITC to offer the class in its neighboring district, where there was great demand.

“We identified a need for critical care transport in the St Croix County area, which represents the west side of both (CVTC and WITC) districts,” says Terry Gonderzik, advanced life support program director at CVTC.

“And Sen. Sheila Harsdorf’s office had numerous requests for such training. We wrote a grant and were given the funding for four classes in this area.”

“Without this training we would not have been able to do the inter-facility transfers to the level we had been,” said Jeff Rixmann, director of the River Falls Ambulance Service who was one of 11 members of the River Falls Ambulance Service to receive the training.

Many different medical emergencies or concerns can arise during transport, Rixmann said. For example, some patients may require multiple medications, a ventilator, have arterial lines in place or need special monitoring. With the higher level of training, emergency medical personnel can better evaluate patient status and provide more treatments if necessary.

“It gives us the capability of doing inter-facility transfers with a lot more advanced equipment,” said Matt Simpson, a paramedic with the Ellsworth Area Ambulance Service who received the training.

To receive the training, students must have advanced life support education and be graduates from a paramedic program or be a licensed health care provider, such as a registered nurse or respiratory therapist, said Greg Carlson, WITC emergency medical services instructor. They also must have experience in their respective fields.

The course involved attending class two evenings a week, online learning and 12 hours of clinical education. Successful course completion enables Wisconsin paramedics to add the critical care endorsement certification and meets Wisconsin’s EMT-Paramedic to Paramedic transition requirements.

Classes already have been held in Eau Claire, River Falls and New Richmond.


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