Most of us don’t think about emergency medical technicians (EMT) until we hear the loud shrill of an ambulance siren as it passes by. But Jon Stephens is constantly thinking about how the EMT programs at Craven Community College (CCC) can be responsive to the needs of students and Craven County residents. Stephens has been CCC’s Workforce Development (WFD) EMT program coordinator and instructor for the past three years, and has been instructing part-time since 2008.
Stephens knows what students must learn to be prepared as an EMT or paramedic because he was a firefighter and paramedic for the City of Havelock for eight years. Stephens continues to work as a paramedic for CarolinaEast Hospital one night a week. He also serves on two Craven County committees, the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Advisory Council and EMS Peer Review. Stephens also advises the college on its own emergency management plans.
Stephens has been working to upgrade the books, classrooms and equipment. “Our plan is to make sure students are trained using advanced lifesaving technology, such as our new MegaCode Kelly computerized mannequin,” said Stephens. Students can feel a pulse, hear the sound of a blocked airway, and practice real-life emergency techniques, such as intubation, on the mannequin. MegaCode Kelly cost the college $22,000 and will be a valuable tool for students.
In addition to strengthening training, Stephens has worked to grow the relationships between the college and county organizations to make sure training programs meet the needs of the community. Much of this work is well-timed as the demand for EMTs and paramedics is increasing due to this country’s aging population. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth rate for EMTs and paramedics is about twice the average for all occupations.
“In an effort to continue to grow and expand training, we are purchasing an ambulance that will benefit students taking WFD’s health certifications, as well as students in nursing and other health programs,” said Robin Matthews, interim dean of WFD.
Taylor Fodrie was eager to start his EMT training at the age of 17. Signing the special paperwork for an under-age student was not a problem for his father, who is a volunteer firefighter for West New Bern Fire Department. By May 2013, Fodrie graduated high school from Craven Early College, earned 46 college credits and earned his EMT and paramedic state certifications. “Our paramedic class had a 100% pass rate on the state exam which is due to the excellent instruction we received at Craven,” said Fodrie. Fodrie started work as a full-time Havelock paramedic three months ago.
Several emergency medical courses are offered through WFD with classroom, online and hybrid options. EMT Basic and EMT Intermediate courses start July 7 at the New Bern campus. For more information, contact Stephens at 252-672-4698, or visit WFD website at: www.CravenCC.edu/WFD.
Deborah Kania is the director of marketing, communications and development liaison at Craven Community College.
Article originally appeared in the New Bern Sun Journal.