April 14th, 2020
Paramedic students on the front lines as GC's program is paused
Garrett College's paramedic students found themselves in a unique position when the College was forced to suspend face-to-face instruction due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"This cohort was within 6 weeks of completing the paramedic program when we were force to halt class" said Doug Beitzel, GC's program coordinator for allied health programs. "While the students had a few assignments that could be completed online, the majority of the course is hands-on skills. The students are waiting to return and complete the course" said Beitzel.
The initial impact to the program came in the form of clinical sites, including Garrett Regional Medical Center, UPMC Western Maryland and Ruby Memorial Hospital, suspending clinical hours for students as Maryland began to see COVID-19 cases. Soon after, the College was also forced to cancel face-to-face instruction and the paramedic program came to a standstill.
"Garrett College is one of the last colleges in Maryland to offer the Cardiac Rescue Techinicians (CRT) program for our students" explained Jim Koon, GC's program director. "The CRT program is being phased out and many colleges have switched to a paramedic only program. Twenty of our twenty-three students took advantage of this option and became certified", said Koon.
At the CRT level, students are able to staff ambulances and provide patient care at the Advanced Life Support (ALS) level. The CRT's are currently working in Garrett and Allegany county.
"Although their education is paused, we are grateful they are providing care on the front lines" commented Dr. Janelle Martin, Garrett College's program medical director. "These 20 students are active as front-line ALS providers when the public calls for help. We are now preparing the rest of the course, with some alterations to meet national testing deadlines, when they return. "
Applications are now open for EMTs who wish to apply for admission to the new paramedic program cohort, which will begin this fall.
Applications are due by May 29th, and can be obtained by contacting Beitzel at firstname.lastname@example.org. "These are times that define our EMS profession, and we remain committed to adjusting to these extraordinary circumstances while preparing those who serve" said Beitzel.
Pictured are three of the 20 paramedic students at Garrett College working on the front lines during the COVID-19 crisis. Cardiac Rescue Technicians Eli Crowe and Isaac Cessna are employed by the City of Cumberland Fire Department. Cardiac Rescue Technician Josh Bosley is employed by the Allegany County Department of Emergency Services and is serving at the Corriganville station.