When Brittany Pinder first attempted to become an emergency medical technician (EMT) as part of the government’s 52-week training program, she failed the exam and thought her dreams of being able to help others in their time of need had been dashed.
This summer, while helping out in her father’s electronics store, Pinder, 24, got the call that she was going to get another chance.
“I was happy. I was like, ‘Wow, I’m actually going to get a second chance’. I felt so blessed that they [Doctors Hospital] took a chance with me and gave me this second opportunity to follow my dreams. It made me sit back before I even got started and think about what I needed to do differently and what I needed to focus on to be successful this time.”
Pinder successfully completed the Doctors Hospital EMT program and was one of 19 persons in the graduating class on Monday, December 17 who are now certified EMTs. The program was paid for by Doctors Hospital; Pinder and her fellow graduates simply had to commit to putting in the time and effort.
She was also named salutatorian, having earned the second highest mark behind valedictorian Reshan Williams, who earned the highest marks for the initial cohort of EMTs.
Of the enrolled students, 13 had strong enough results to be invited to sit the National Registry exam. All of them passed and now have guaranteed jobs with Doctors Hospital.
The National Registry certification is recognized in over 50 countries worldwide as the premier certification for EMTs
Dr. James Iferenta, program director, was thrilled with the results, which he said far exceeded the average results for EMT training programs internationally. He noted that the program was designed to help Doctors Hospital fill the increasing demand for internationally certified EMTs.
“The support of mid-level and ancillary healthcare providers to doctors and nurses are essential to patient satisfaction and improved patient outcomes,” said Iferenta. “To strengthen our healthcare system and improve the outcomes and care of our patients we must fill the current deficit of this level of healthcare providers.”
Hospital officials say, as they continue to grow, there will be a need to supplement the present EMT team, and it is likely the program will be offered again as the need emerges.
The doctor also said the program’s leaders will continue to refine the curriculum and program to ensure any future groups are equally as successful.
Jason Petty, the youngest student to complete the program, at age 18, attributed the success rate to the effort put in by the instructors.
“It was tough, but then again, the people that you had behind you who wanted you to succeed and pushed you every day really helped out. We weren’t thrown into the ocean to learn to swim by ourselves; we had a great support team.”
The four-month course was a full-time, five-days-per-week program that included more than 300 hours of lectures and clinical exposure as well as ride time on the ambulance. The program was also tough because it was so condensed.
“We knew it was going to be Monday to Friday, but the level of intensity — the workload — that wasn’t expected. We knew it was going to take a lot of work, but we didn’t know it was going to require that much of us,” said Pinder.
For both Pinder and Petty, the ride time was the best part of the program.
“It put all of the learning and the quizzes and tests into perspective,” said Petty. “You got to see what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, and we got to actually use the skills we attained during the course.”
He said his first time out in the ambulance was nerve-wracking, but his hospital colleagues and preceptors helped him realize he had the knowledge to provide the help needed.
Petty, Pinder and Iferenta all said that the unique program, which had practitioners teaching in the classroom and in the field, was beneficial to both the students and the organization.
Petty said he would not likely have had the opportunity to become an internationally certified EMT if he had been required to pay for the program. He said he ultimately succeeded because he had the Doctors Hospital support system behind him.