Creating the paramedics you want responding to your 911 call

Submitted by courtney.morris on Wed, 10/07/2020 - 11:07 AM


EMS program faculty celebrated a huge success recently. Of more than 50 applicants interviewing for Harris County Emergency Services District 5 in Crosby, three of the four hired all trained at San Jacinto College.

They recently earned their Associate of Applied Science in EMS and are pursuing their first professional paramedic job. Most other candidates already had four to 20 years of experience.

Hospital Day training
EMS students practice field scenarios during Hospital Day.

Impressed with San Jac applicants, the district chief reached out to the EMS faculty to learn what made San Jac trainees stand out head and shoulders above the rest. Kristine Kern, paramedic lead faculty, attributes their success to a multifaceted approach, especially faculty’s dedication to go beyond standard curriculum.

In September 2018, the EMS program partnered with Equilibria in Healthcare to create 60-plus hours of intensive experiential education for students beyond their standard San Jac curriculum.

Students completed the Equilibria in Healthcare Leadership Academy, with three sessions focused on building a strong team:

  1. Team and Self Awareness: Understanding their own and each other’s strengths and potential limiters
  2. Shared Vision and Values: Working on the class vision and values
  3. Clarity of Roles and Responsibilities: Preparing students to enter simulation training

According to Kern, the training built trust among students and faculty, which was critical when COVID-19 moved learning online.

“Even when we didn’t know what would happen with clinical attendance, we were able to tell the students we didn't know, but we will be completing,” she said. “And they trusted us. We had built that solid foundation.”

Knowing the current rate of hospital medical errors, EMS faculty also worked with Equilibria and Fisher Improvement Technologies to understand the science of human behavior and reduce medical errors in student simulations by 92 percent.

“This is a priority in all of our classes,” Kern said. “Currently, there is no formal curriculum required, but we didn’t find that acceptable.”

In addition, students trained in diversity and inclusion.

“The greatest realization for the students and faculty from this session was learning more than 90 percent of our responses are from unconscious bias,” Kern said. “The discussions are real and raw. I have witnessed maturity well beyond the years of our students.”

Faculty members go beyond in many ways -- from tutoring students to ensure they grasp the material to providing personal protective equipment so they can attend their internship sites.

“Developing a paramedic is a team effort, and we are blessed to have a remarkable team,” Kern said.

Other EMS faculty members include...

  • Sylvia Gallegos, program director
  • Dana Holst, faculty
  • Jarrett Carroll, adjunct faculty
  • Kevin Frieze, adjunct faculty
  • Tamera Frieze, adjunct faculty
  • Daniel Milligan, adjunct faculty
  • Taylor Soltau, adjunct faculty

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