COOKEVILLE – Volunteer State Community College is rolling out a new program in Cookeville aimed at addressing a regional health care shortage.
For the first time in the Upper Cumberland, college credit Emergency Medical Services (EMS) courses and degrees are available, allowing EMTs to obtain an associate of applied science degree. A college degree is considered an important piece of the promotion process, Vol State officials said, and can lead to further education.
Vol State has been upgrading equipment at the Cookeville Higher Education Center (CHEC), including an $80,000 SimMan (patient simulation mannequin). Other new gear includes IntuBrite intubation simulators, and a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine.
“(SimMan) gives students the most realistic training opportunity available,” EMS director Erik Jesse said. “It responds just like a real patient. Students can practice skills and get immediate feedback from our instructors.
“There’s a real shortage of trained EMTs in the Upper Cumberland,” Jesse added. “There’s a lot of job opportunity.”
Student Taylor Hargis of Livingston works at Overton County EMS, but wanted to learn more,” she said. Many students already work as EMTs, according to Vol State officials, and are continuing their education. “You can advance more as a paramedic.”
There is an April 15 application deadline to participate in the next paramedic program.