Adrenaline-fueled and crisis-tested
Paramedic Sciences program at Ivy Tech turning out next generation of lifesavers
It’s dark. It’s raining. Bullets are flying. Just keep the victim alive for the next 10 minutes. Long enough to get to the hospital. Insert the chest tube. Get the person breathing. Check the vitals. Hand them over to the ER staff, and get ready for the next call.
This is the type of thing that gets a paramedic’s adrenaline pumping. It is what draws them into the field and keeps them there. And when a life is saved, the feeling is indescribable. According to Mark Fair, Program Chair of Ivy Tech Community College’s Paramedic Sciences program in Kokomo, he has experienced all of this and more in his 39 years as a paramedic.
“There are lots of dangers in this job, but that’s part of what we like about it,” said Fair. “It’s that adrenaline rush we like. We love those types of runs.”
He hopes to find the next generation of lifesavers and train them to handle nights like those and many more. Unfortunately, there simply aren’t enough people going into the field to meet demand. Ivy Tech Kokomo produces 15-20 new paramedics each year, but the demand is much larger than that.
“We could double or triple our numbers and still not meet the need,” said Fair.
Fair, and the college, hope that their state-of-the-art training program will attract new students and give them a taste of what being a paramedic is truly like. The program has an ambulance simulator, known as a mini-mod, which can replicate the sensations of a typical ambulance run. There is also the specialized mannequin which can simulate just about every symptom a victim can exhibit during a health crisis.
The program even has a small mock bathroom which can be used for simulations, because a great many emergency medical calls involve paramedics extracting victims from bathrooms. It all is aimed at providing training and education that is authentic and effective.
It’s all a far cry from where the program was when Fair arrived in 2014.