The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

The Student News Site of Fluvanna County High School

The Fluco Beat

Sharon Payne
EMS students teach other students the basics of CPR and first aid.

All About the FCHS EMT Program

As the field of education focuses more and more on teaching students hands-on skills for their future, Virginia public schools are serving over 670,000 middle and high school students in one or more CTE courses. According to the Virginia Department of Education, “these programs are designed to prepare young people for productive futures while meeting the commonwealth’s need for well-trained and industry-certified technical workers.”

FCHS offers a variety of Career and Technical Education classes and programs for students including Cosmetology, Agriculture, Business, Nursing, and Carpentry. All of these courses offer valuable life skills and often, the opportunity to graduate high school with a certification in their chosen field.

One such program is the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) program, a year-long program taught by EMS instructor Sharon Payne that prepares students to pass the National Registry Emergency Medical Technician certification exam.

During this class, which is only available to those 16 or older, students become skilled in identifying and managing emergencies such as bleeding, fractures, airway obstruction, cardiac arrest, and numerous medical complaints. The class emphasizes the use of critical thinking skills to perform accurate patient assessment and identify proper treatment protocols. Supervised clinical training on an in-service ambulance and/or in a hospital emergency department is a required part of the program, and must be completed outside of class time. All students become certified in both AHA Healthcare Provider CPR and Stop the Bleed. In addition to classwork and clinical training, EMT students help with Red Cross blood drives. The next blood drive will be on Oct. 14.

Many students who enter the FCHS EMT program want to be involved in the medical field. This program gives students a head start by allowing them to graduate high school with a certification in prehospital emergency medicine. Qualification for the certification involves students sitting for the National Registry EMT cognitive exam. To be eligible for the exam, students must successfully pass the classroom portion of the course, complete clinical rotations, and pass their psychomotor exam, as well as meeting the requirements set forth by the Virginia Office of EMS. The examination itself is a difficult exam that tests candidates on five different topic areas. “The [certification] test is very intense,” says EMT instructor Sharon Payne. “The answers aren’t which one is right, it’s which one is least wrong and most right.” Despite this daunting test, students still persevere and try to earn their certification.

Since 2022, 12 FCHS students have successfully earned their National Registry and Virginia EMT certifications. This year, 20 students are enrolled in the EMT I/II course and five students are enrolled in EMT III. Recent graduates are enrolled at universities (PVCC, George Mason, Christopher Newport, Longwood, Alabama, VCU, JMU) and are pursuing degrees in the medical field (nursing, pre-med, PA, Radiography, Veterinary Science).

Many students choose to take the EMS route because they want to go into a medical field after high school. Senior Alexis “Lexi” Collier plans to take the National Registry exam and earn both certifications. Collier decided to participate in the EMT program because “it’s a great way to get a head start in a medical career.” However, the benefits of this program are not limited to the medical field. Senior Marika Bates appreciates that “[the EMT program and the skills learned] is helpful in the real world, even if you don’t go into a med field.” The EMT pathway offers everyone the opportunity to learn how to recognize and treat emergencies, a skill that can be very useful throughout life.

For more information on the EMT program or to register for the next blood drive, contact Sharon Payne at [email protected]. The next blood drive is Sat. Oct 14.

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