Since fall of 2009, the Department of Health and Human Performance has been offering Emergency Medical Technician courses for students interested in the fast-paced world of emergency medicine. This year, the State of Kansas has modified the levels of EMT personnel in order to better equip its staff, causing a shift in the EMT classes offered at Fort Hays State University.
Instead of the normal, basic and intermediate levels that EMT students have been taught in the past, Kansas has modified the levels to EMT, advanced EMT and paramedic, with each level receiving new skills and training they are allowed to take part in.
The course has also been approved as an approved course in the HHP department, making it easier for students to access.
David Fitzhugh, instructor in the department of Health and Human Performance and coordinator of the course, said the experience on campus has been a positive one so far.
“It’s kind of unique because most of the time these classes are taught at community colleges and what we found … was a need in this community and the communities surrounding us for regularly scheduled EMT-type classes, and so we decided to venture into that,” Fitzhugh said.
Fitzhugh said so far, there have been several students who have gone on to pass their certification exams. Once students pass an EMT class, they must take tests in order to receive their certification and go on to work in Kansas EMS.
“What we are trying to do now is serve Northwest Kansas, including Ellis County in providing EMTs. Since we’ve started, I think we have six EMTs that work for Ellis County EMS, so we are definitely feeling their need to have EMTs,” Fitzhugh said.
“We’ve have quite a few students who have taken it so far, and they’ve all passed their certification exams and are now Kansas-certified emergency technicians … It’s also the foundation class for the paramedic certification.”
Fort Hays does not offer a paramedic certification course. Students looking to venture into the paramedic field would need to travel to some junior colleges around the state, such as Barton County Community College, to receive their certification.
Fitzhugh said its unfortunate that Fort Hays doesn’t have such a course but hopes that it can be available on campus in the future.
“That’s an accredited program, and in this state you have to have an associate’s degree. Could we do it? Yes, but we just don’t have the teaching faculty or the ability to support a program like that right now,” Fitzhugh said.
“It would be nice if one day we were getting enough students in the classes that we do offer so that we could look into that, but there are no plans right now.”
Scott Reese, a paramedic with Ellis County EMS, has been teaching the course since the beginning, even helping Fitzhugh regain his Intermediate EMT certification after moving to Kansas.
“Mr. Reese was highly recommended … He’s been doing EMT classes for a while now. Between him and I, he has been just as intricate in building this course as I have.”
Students learn several aspects of EMT training, including participating in a weekend workshop where Reese brings an ambulance to campus and two salvage cars to help students practice removing injured persons from car wrecks while stabilizing their heads and spines.
Reese also brings an innovative aspect to typical CPR training by bringing another ambulance to campus and going over the coding, strapping students to gurneys, taking them out into the ambulance and driving around the parking lot while students perform and practice their CPR, bringing hands-on teaching to another level.
Both EMT and AEMT courses take about a semester to complete and are seven credit hours per Fort Hays requirements. The class meets Tuesday and Thursday from 6-10 p.m., with no requirements to take the course. The course is also open to any major on campus, regardless of medical education background.
For more information on the EMT classes, please contact the HHP department at 785-628-4376, or visit their homepage at fhsu.edu/hhp.