A Seat at the Table
For many years, the paramedic program could only offer its students an Associate of Science degree. After a lot of thought and collaboration, we developed a Bachelor of Science degree. Students who choose the BS degree can opt to focus their studies in one of three areas: Administration, FSE Clinical, or Science. The administration track is designed for students who intend to work in as a Paramedic, a supervisor/administrator or an educator. The FSE clinical track is designed for students who intend to work as a Paramedic for a Fire-based EMS system. The Science track is designed for students who intend to apply to medical school or physician assistant school.
All students graduating from the EMC program must maintain a minimum grade point average and receive a final approval from the program to be allowed to attempt the National Registry exam. Students applying to medical of PA school also request a letter of recommendation from EKU to be sent to the medical school to which they are applying. This process requires the student to submit their grades and a short essay to the pre-health advisory committee. At some point, the student will be interviewed by the committee. Based upon grades and the interview, the committee will choose whether to write that letter of recommendation. I tried for many years to get a seat for the EMC program on the pre-health advisory committee, in its earlier iterations, but I was summarily unsuccessful. However, after a lot of lobbying and with a recognition by influential people in the University’s administration that our students are going to be applying to the committee, the EMC program was given a place on the committee last year. Having a place at the table, figuratively and literally, gave us a better understanding of the process of the medical school application that in turn better informs our students. Our seat was a shared position and would have to be vacated after a rotation of about 3 years. This past year, there was a reorganization of the Colleges at EKU that required the pre-health advisory committee to itself be reorganized. That gave us the opportunity to lobby for a permanent seat on the committee (just as Chemistry and Biology have permanent seats). Fortunately, the committee expressed confidence in our program and voted unanimously to offer the EMC program a permanent seat on the committee. This is an important gain for our program and our students. I hope that each science major will see this as a recognition of the worth of our profession as we move forward.
About the Author:
Dr. Sandy Hunter is a Nationally Registered Paramedic and Professor; he has been with the Paramedicine program for nearly 20 years. Dr. Hunter earned an undergraduate degree in emergency medical care from Western Carolina University, a Master’s degree in health education from EKU and a Ph.D. in educational psychology from University of Kentucky. He has 35 years of experience in EMS, including working as a Paramedic and educator in Saudi Arabia. His publications can be found in JEMS, EMS Magazine, Occupational Health and Safety Magazine, and (the) Domain. He has co-authored a national curriculum for the National Association of EMS Educators and been a curriculum taskforce member for the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services
Published on October 12, 2016