Ivy Tech Community College in Terre Haute unveiled its newly-renovated paramedic science classroom and laboratory space Monday.
Trans-Care Ambulance, which is based in Terre Haute, provided the lead gift of $108,000 for the renovation project.
Before, both classes and clinical labs occurred in the same room, and students would have to move tables and equipment for labs, then put them back for class, said Julie Will, Ivy Tech dean of the school of health sciences.
With the changes, the paramedic science program now has separate classroom and lab space.
“Now, we have a dedicated classroom that’s been updated. We have lab space that’s beautiful, thanks to Trans-Care … so students don’t have to do all that extra work taking up class time to set up the space,” Will said.
The lab simulates the real work environment, with use of mannequins for training and a simulated ambulance. The renovations “are a great recruitment tool for potential students,” she said.
Ze’Caleb Lyle, a Trans-Care paramedic who graduated from Ivy Tech’s program in December 2020, attended the unveiling event and said of the improvements, “It’s a whole other level than what we had.”
He had always wanted to be in the health care field and described his pursuit of paramedic science at Ivy Tech as “the most incredible experience I’ve ever had.”
Graduates leave the Ivy Tech program “highly skilled and because of their clinical experience, they are familiar with and comfortable in the real-world emergency medical services environment,” Lyle said.
More than 75% of the Terre Haute Trans-Care employees are Ivy Tech graduates, according to the college.
Employment of EMTs and paramedics is projected to grow 7% from 2021-2031, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor and Statistics.
Graduates from all of Ivy Tech’s health science and nursing programs, including paramedic science, are in demand, Will said. Ivy Tech has employers “calling us all the time” seeking prospective employees.
Ivy Tech hopes the renovations will help with recruitment in the paramedic science program, she said.
The paramedic science program at Ivy Tech is a selective admission program with a limited number of seats. The curriculum is a mix of lectures, demonstrations, in-class skill practice sessions and clinical rotations.
The program offers short-term certificates, workforce certifications and an associate degree educational track. “The short-term certificates are a great starting point for students who want to work toward their associate degree while beginning their careers,” according to Ivy Tech.
During Monday’s event, Ivy Tech paramedic science student Matt Cox demonstrated intubation skills using a mannequin while under the watchful eye of Ashley Toney, a Trans-Care paramedic.
Intubation might be used “if the patient is unresponsive and not breathing” or if there is concern about an airway closing up, said Cox, already employed as an emergency medical technician with Trans-Care.
Toney works on teaching Ivy Tech students in the field. “He’s actually riding with me today,” she said. “He (Cox) is my student today.” As part of his clinicals, Cox is able to perform as a paramedic in the field under Toney’s supervision.
An Ivy Tech graduate, Toney praised the program and renovations. “They have a ton of tools.” The simulated ambulance, mannequins and other equipment “are probably as close as you can get to the real thing,” she said.
Among those attending Monday’s event were local legislators and Trans-Care employees.
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