Medicine advances quickly, especially in the realm of EMS. The role and the scope of practice for Paramedics has grown exponentially, such that the intro level Paramedic course is no longer sufficient for the real-world EMS Clinician caring for a critically ill patient. The modern-day Paramedic has increased responsibilities, must be an expert in new illnesses and new medical devices, and will be faced with brand new challenges. At Washington County Ambulance District, we offer a high-level, IBSC accredited Fundamentals of Critical Care Transport course to best prepare our students for the most challenging medical cases.
Long gone are the days of answering a 911 call and simply driving a patient really fast to the closest hospital. Small, community hospitals often lack the resources to care for critically ill patients. They instead rely on EMS Clinicians to safely provide resuscitative treatment to distant regional specialty centers. EMS Critical Care was conceived to bridge the gap between small, critical access rural hospitals and urban specialty centers, such as the major teaching institutions in the Saint Louis Metro area. We often affectionately refer to the Critical Care staffed ambulances as “Mobile Intensive Care Units”, as they provide a level care that was traditionally only seen in an ICU.
Our Critical Care Transport program is unique in that it introduces the Paramedic not only how to effectively lead a CCT inter-facility transport, but also to provide ICU quality care on a 911 call. Our graduates are proficient in rapid/delayed sequence intubation, continuous sedation, advanced cardiology and ECG interpretation, central line access, vasoactive medication titration, and much more. However, medicine evolves quickly, and the concepts we teach today may very well be outdated in a few years. For that reason, we go beyond teaching to a specific medical device or therapy. We focus on guiding our students to be critical thinkers and inspire them to seek out evidence-based research long after they graduate from the classroom.
Although we do not specifically “teach to a test”, our graduates are well prepared to challenge both the FP-C (Certified Flight Paramedic) and CCP-C (Certified Critical Care Paramedic) board exams. Many programs can prepare a student for a test, but we strive to prepare our students to thrive as medical professionals.