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Photo Courtesy of Sharon Payne

EMT Teacher Sharon Payne poses with all of her students at the annual Breast Cancer Walk.

The Business of Creating EMTs

February 2, 2022

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EMT. It’s an acronym used to describe and Emergency Medical Technician, someone who provides emergency medical care to those in need. For anything from a broken wrist to a car accident, an EMT is always willing to help.

Yet FCHS EMT teacher Sharon Payne wishes to teach students to be more than that. She teaches her students to be a friend to someone in need rather than judge them for their mishaps.

Payne first joined the Louisa County Rescue Squad when she was 14. “I wanted to help the people of my county,” she said. One of her greatest memories of “running,” as being an EMT is called, at such a young age was the adrenaline she got when dispatch called. Payne recalls her first-ever run as a junior when her preceptor warned her “watch your step, there’s brains on the ground.” She has been hooked on the career ever since.

Payne worked as an EMT for a few years at various counties in the surrounding area before having her two children, Ruby and Pierce. Once she had her children, she worked various different jobs in the medical field from working at vaccine clinics to becoming a medical transporter where she would pick patients up from various facilities and take them to their doctor appointments. But even after testing the waters with other jobs, she never lost her love for saving people.

Once Payne wished to return to the EMT world, she realized she had let her certification expire, meaning she would have to retake all of the tests and exams to recertify. “I didn’t realize how hard the test had gotten…When I first took them, they were very easy,” said Payne.
After gaining her certification back, Payne decided to take the next step of becoming a paramedic. “Becoming a paramedic was always my overall goal, but life got in the way and I never had time to reach it,” she said. A paramedic is basically an EMT, but they have a larger scope of practice, meaning they are more skilled and able to provide more extensive care to patients in need.

After seeing how hard the classes were and the exams that were given to the students, Payne decided she wanted to become an instructor. She had combined two of her favorite things: helping others and saving lives. “Mrs. Payne provides such a great learning environment and really cares about her students,” said FCHS junior Braelyn Via who is currently enrolled in Payne’s course. Via said that she recommends students to take this course in the upcoming school year, not only for the information about medicine taught, but also for the important life skills the class has to offer

The EMT course is available for students in 11th and 12th grade. This school year has been the first year FCHS has offered the course as a high school credit. To enroll in the class you had to have a 3.5 GPA and be in good academic standing.

Payne said she hopes to change that in the future. “I feel like there is so much more to a student than a GPA, which is why I want there to be an application and a pre-test to be enrolled in the class,” she said. She added that her overall goal is to provide the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) world with more high-quality EMTs who will provide nothing short of the best care possible for people all across Virginia.

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About the Contributor
Photo of Makayla Gentry
Makayla Gentry, FCHS Journalist

Makayla is a junior in her second year of journalism.  She plays softball and volleyball.  Makayla is an aspiring surgeon and beach lover.

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