PRESQUE ISLE — In an attempt to fill a gap in the emergency medical services workforce in Washington County and beyond, two community colleges have formed a partnership as a means to provide the required coursework and field experiences.
Through a grant from the Maine Community College System’s Bring College to ME funds, Northern Maine Community College will be offering emergency medical service-paramedic courses to 15 students from Washington County over the next two years.
Delivery of the program will be provided on site at Washington County Community College, either by an assigned instructor or via a cloud-based video conferencing system. This system allows for two-way visual and vocal communication between the schools. Students at the Washington County site will also participate in lab, field and clinical activities, coordinated with local emergency service providers and healthcare facilities.
Lead instructor for this program will be Andrew Gagnon, Department Chair for EMS programs at Northern Maine Community College. Gagnon has several credentials, including being a nationally registered paramedic (NRP), certified critical care transport paramedic (CCEMT-P), critical care registered nurse (CCRN) and he holds a master’s degree in nursing, with a focus in leadership.
Gagnon will be assisted by other professionals in the field of EMS from both Aroostook and Washington counties.
“Access to healthcare is becoming increasingly challenging for many individuals in rural Maine. EMS personnel are usually the first on-site providers for medical treatment, whether at home or the scene of an accident. It is imperative to have trained professionals who can readily respond and provide the medical attention that can stabilize an individual for transport to a medical facility,” said Gagnon.
According to Wendy Bradstreet, Northern Maine Community College director of Admissions and Outreach, the Washington County students enrolled in this program are currently employed by either a fire department, police department or an emergency service provider.
“The employers are pleased to have the opportunity to support their employees in receiving advanced education in this field. The service providers cover such a broad geographical area and emergency needs are varied, so having more employees with advanced training is imperative to serving the needs of the citizens of Washington County,” said Bradstreet.
The Emergency Medical Services associate degree program at Northern Maine Community College is nationally accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Program (CAAHEP). Students who complete program and specific course requirements will be eligible to take the national certification exams for EMT, Advanced EMT and Paramedic, as well as earn an associate degree in emergency medical services.
If you would like to learn more about the EMS program at Northern Maine Community College or any of its 30 plus programs, contact the Admissions Office at 207-768-2785 or visit nmcc.edu.