WARE — Tuesday and Thursdays won’t be the same for 28 students since they began the Basic EMT Training Program at Baystate Mary Lane Hospital.
Recognizing the continued need for personnel to serve as emergency medical technicians in the many communities that surround the hospital, BMLH again negotiated with paramedics and trainers Don and Carol Benoit of Quality EMS Educators Inc. of Worcester to provide training at the hospital. This is the second time around for the trainers as 28 students from the towns of Ware, Warren, West Brookfield, Hardwick, New Braintree, Barre, Wheelwright, Three Rivers, Monson, and Belchertown begin their journey to become EMTs.
The course, which began Sept. 1 and will end Dec. 21, meets twice a week and on some Saturdays. Students will work through holidays, eat numerous suppers in the hospital cafeteria, and put their personal lives on hold in order to complete the training, which includes 150 hours of class time and 10 hours of observation in the emergency room.
In addition to class time, students are required to read a 36-chapter textbook, complete quizzes at the end of each chapter, and pass tests that include both written and practical demonstration of their knowledge and skills in everything from patient assessment to back boarding and spinal immobilization. At the end of the course, the students will sit for the state EMT examination.
Recalling the work involved in completing the basic EMT course held at the hospital in 2008, Michael Pellegrino and Mark Lagimoniere returned to lend support to the 2009 EMT Basic Program candidates.
“I have found the Basic EMT course I took in 2008 at the hospital to be one of the most rewarding and challenging experiences of a lifetime,” Pellegrino said. “As an EMT, I now have the opportunity to meet and work with some of the finest EMTs, paramedics, nurses, and doctors right here in our community.” A member of the Hardwick Rescue Squad, Pellegrino said he is proud to be investing time and newly acquired skills in the community he knows and loves.
According to Mark Tuttle, nurse manager of the Baystate Mary Lane Hospital Emergency Room, 17,000 patients are treated at the ER annually. “Our EMTs are a vital part of the safety infrastructure of our community and the first link in the chain of care for our residents,” said Tuttle, a paramedic turned emergency nurse. “These medics are the eyes and ears for the medical and nursing staff in the Emergency Department. They provide life-saving care to their patients and valuable information to the hospital about the patient’s condition.” This training program has helped to lay a collaborative foundation for teamwork to grow, he added.
Baystate Mary Lane Hospital also holds monthly continuing education for EMTs, intermediates and paramedics. For more information about EMT training or to register for classes, contact Michelle Holmgren at (413) 967-2296.