FORT BLISS, Texas –The El Paso Community College concluded its inaugural accelerated paramedic program May 2023. The course had a total of 16 candidates, three of whom were Soldiers from the 1st Armored Division.
EPCC administrators tailored the course to enhance lifesaving skills for combat medic specialist (68W) Soldiers, who play a crucial role in providing medical care on the battlefield and beyond.
Command Sgt. Maj. James Musnicki, the senior enlisted advisor of William Beaumont Army Medical Clinic, highlighted the importance of the program.
“The accelerated paramedic program came about as a way of filling a gap in Army healthcare, U.S. Army Medical Command leaders knew that paramedics are the pathway for prolonged field care, which allows 68W Soldiers to treat patients for an extended period of time,” he said.
The curriculum fast-tracks participants into becoming paramedics. It is an intensive course that condenses the two-year training pipeline for paramedics down to just 170 days.
EPCC designed the program for individuals who already have prior medical experience or have completed prerequisites. It allows students to gain the necessary knowledge and skills to provide emergency medical care in a shorter period compared to traditional paramedic programs.
The course came about when WBAMC drafted a contract with the El Paso Community College, which already taught a paramedic certification course, to design an accelerated program for individuals who meet prerequisites for an accelerated paramedic certification program.
Regional and brigade level medical command sergeants major can recommend a 68W between the ranks of private and sergeant first class to apply for the course. MEDCOM then reviews all applications and produces an order of merit list weighing the Soldiers’ college transcripts, general technical scores, weapons qualification scores, and Army combat fitness test scores, among other factors designed to evaluate the likelihood he or she will graduate.
Staff Sgt. Thomas Murphy, a paramedic at the WBAMC emergency room and accelerated paramedic course graduate, talked about the program’s benefits for junior leaders like himself.
“As a paramedic, especially as a leader, this course allows me to take the skills I have learned and give them back to my Soldiers whether that is sergeants’ times training, hip pocket, or just that ability to make them better medics,” he said.
Congresswoman Veronica Escobar presented a graduation certificate to Spc. Rachael Dickson, a combat medic who attended the course in May 2023. In addition, Brig. Gen. Darrin Cox, commanding general of the U.S. Army Medical Readiness Command West, honored Dickson with an achievement coin for earning class valedictorian.
“As a paramedic we are taught to think more critically beyond what is taught at an EMT or AMT level we, need to know the how and also the why in order to deliver appropriate treatments efficiently,” said Dickson.
She also added the need to be able to think ahead as a paramedic which is why the course exposes students to advanced medical and clinical specialties, including rotations in cardiology, intensive care units, and obstetrics and gynecology.
“This program has been an avenue for me to expand my medical experience and to just be a better well rounded 68W,” Dickson concluded.