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9 students in inaugural paramedic class

March 12, 2007|by JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Paramedics-in-training are working in the field through the curriculum of a new Waynesboro school that has been called "intense" by at least one student.

"It's got to be a total commitment. You've got to want this," student Jeff Grove said.

The Pennsylvania Institute of Applied Health Sciences expected to start the 2006-07 school year with 13 students, but a couple didn't start and two others dropped out, according to dean Dr. Bruce Foster.

The nine studied anatomy, physiology, biochemistry and a variety of basic sciences in the fall, Foster said.

The classroom work provided "a solid framework on which to hang the clinical knowledge you develop," Foster said.

"The second semester is more clinical, hands-on, and really, I think, becomes a lot more fun," he said.

Grove said the Pennsylvania Institute of Applied Health Sciences is on a "completely different level" from the emergency medical technician training in which he's already certified. Grove, of South Mountain, Pa., gives credit to the working professionals who teach classes.

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"The nurses and paramedics are wonderful," he said.

Graduation for the first class will be in June, at which time students are expected to take the National Registry examination. Upon passing that, graduates can apply for jobs, interview with the director of advanced life support units and obtain medical command.

"I think all of them are hoping to become affiliated with a local ALS squad in the Tri-State region. Ultimately that's what it's about - saving lives," Foster said.

Through agreements between ALS providers and the school, students have already been working with Waynesboro's Medic 2 and Gettysburg Advanced Life Support.

"They'll run along with an ALS provider on calls," Foster said. "They also rotate through the ED (emergency department) at Waynesboro. They rotate through the ICU."

Students are tested on skills like IV insertion before being permitted to do them in the field, Foster said. Paramedics who have worked with the students are providing very positive feedback, he said.

School officials are looking to extend the academic year for 2007-08 and start classes this July. The maximum size for a class is 28.

For more information about the Pennsylvania Institute of Applied Health Sciences, visit www.piahs.org.

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