Nine Paramedics Graduate from HGH EMS Rescue Program

On Tuesday, January 28, Humboldt General Hospital recognized nine people who graduated from HGH EMS Rescue's Rural Paramedic Program.

"This is a first for Nevada," HGH EMS Rescue Chief Pat Songer told the Humboldt County Hospital District Board of Trustees at their monthly meeting. "Never before have so many people graduated from a rural program at one time."

Even more exciting, said Chief Songer, is that all nine are "home-grown" locals who will not only remain in Winnemucca to provide daily 9-1-1 response, but will also be available during any future mass casualty events.

The graduates, who began their studies in January 2012 under the direction of HGH EMS Rescue Education Coordinator Ken Whittaker, include David Bryan, Jody Marvel, Debbie Whittaker, Dylan Angus, Brenda Willey, David Ellis, Gricelda Soto, Kevin Malone and Lisa Enochson.

Jody Marvel is also an officer with the Winnemucca Police Department and will now become that agency's second police-paramedic, following in the steps of Brant Manley, who assumed the dual role last year.

Kevin Malone, a deputy with the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office, will become that agency's first deputy-paramedic.

The program became possible through a unique collaboration between HGH EMS Rescue and Truckee Meadows Community College.

The Rural Paramedic Program closely followed the highly successful model employed by TMCC, but participants were taught by local instructors.

Each participant earned a certificate upon completion of the curriculum; all nine then had to successfully pass the National Registry Exam.

The program was approximately 1,400 hours in length and included 600 hours of classroom instruction followed by 240 hours of clinical/hospital experience. The third and final component of the program was a 480-hour field rotation lab where students applied their newfound knowledge and skills under the direct supervision of a preceptor paramedic.

"This was a totally comprehensive program," said Whittaker. "Our graduates are fully licensed paramedics, representing the highest licensure level in pre-hospital emergency care."

While Whittaker said the program has been personally beneficial to area EMTs, he acknowledged it is very advantageous to the agency as well.

"This obviously helps us greatly as it gives us a more highly trained force from which to draw," he said. "Certainly, having more paramedics at our disposal will allow us to raise the level of care we provide to our hospital and our community."