When faculty in New River Community and Technical College’s EMS programs unveiled two mobile simulation labs in 2019, they couldn’t have imagined that they would be helping to bring similar technology to EMS programs throughout the state of West Virginia.
Last month, New River CTC EMS Programs Director Matthew Snuffer and EMS Instructor Matthew Hellems were invited to Charleston to receive training on the state’s new mobile simulation labs. The labs will begin being used in November.
“With the shortage of EMS workers, Governor Jim Justice wanted to find a way to increase the workforce,” explained Snuffer. “I was involved in some of the early meetings with Dr. Persily and seven other EMS program directors at community colleges across the state.”
The conversations resulted in Governor Justice granting $10 million to improve EMS Education, including the funds used to design the five new simulation labs to be used by programs across the state. The new labs include advanced simulation manikins and AV equipment to allow instructors to work through scenarios in the back of a functioning ambulance. The fleet of simulation labs is being managed by HealthNet Aeromedical, and they will begin using a scheduling app for use of the labs in November. The mobile simulation labs will be based in Beaver, Charleston, Clarksburg, Huntington and Wheeling.
New River CTC offers a workforce Emergency Medical Technician-Basic (EMT-B) class, paramedic certificate of applied science and an EMS associate degree program. EMT-B classes are offered annually with classes starting in both August and January. Earning an EMT-B certification allows someone to provide emergency responder care, including basic lifesaving care and first aid. EMT-B lab classes are scheduled in Ghent, Lewisburg and Summersville. The class is offered in a hybrid format allowing students to choose the time and location to attend the weekly lab portion of the class that works best for them. New River CTC’s EMT-B course is a 156-hour class.
Students interested in continuing their education after earning the EMT-B certification will be prepared to continue their education in New River CTC’s Certificate of Applied Science in Paramedic and test for the National Registry Paramedic Certification by completing one additional semester at the college. New River CTC also offers an EMS associate degree program. New paramedic and EMS classes start annually in August.