Tuesday, September 26, 2023
Norman Regional has created a unique program that benefits EMT students studying to become paramedics, while also bringing more first responders to the community.
EMSSTAT is the paramedic department of Norman Regional Health System, dedicated to the highest quality of patient care, patient outcomes and community service.
The department covers Norman, Moore and surrounding communities in Cleveland County – an area of approximately 400 square miles with an average of more than 30,000 calls for service yearly and increasing in call volume each year.
EMSSTAT has a Paramedic Extern program, which allows EMTs who are attending paramedic school to be employed full-time by the department. It also gives them first-hand experience outside of the classroom, tuition reimbursement and the benefits of a full-time job.
The goal is to mold the EMTs into paramedics, said Shae Orcutt-Richardson, EMSSTAT healer. Anyone who is a licensed EMT and willing to commit to paramedic school is eligible. EMSSTAT hires paramedics to respond to health emergencies with EMTs driving the vehicles.
Shae said the Paramedic Extern program gives students a unique view of the work they will do as a paramedic. It allows EMTs to be hired onto trucks that primarily respond to 911 calls, which allows them to become part of a designated crew.
“If you are going to paramedic school you will learn more on the 911 truck. You learn to drive the truck and also run to accidents or STEMI. As an extern, you see how a paramedic runs a scene and how that process works. And it’s not what you see on TV,” she said.
Another benefit of the Paramedic Extern program is mentorship with paramedics and learning how a paramedic thinks, Shae said.
“As long as you ask the questions and show you are willing to learn, they are willing to teach,” Shae said of her fellow paramedics.
After graduation from paramedic school and successfully passing the National Registry, an extern will transition into a regular 24-hr paramedic position. Shae successfully graduated this year and is now a full-time paramedic at EMSSTAT.
“The extern program provides on-the-job training you can only get here,” Shae said. “Here you learn how to talk to the patient, how to talk to a child, to comfort them and be the calm in the sea of chaos. They can try and replicate that in school but you really won’t understand it until you’re on scene.”
EMSSTAT has four stations throughout Norman and Moore to distribute coverage, with the main hub being at their eastside station north of Norman Regional Hospital on Porter Avenue.
In addition to emergency first response, EMSSTAT serves the community in various ways. EMSSTAT provides inter-facility critical care transport for patients requiring a higher level of care than that provided by a traditional paramedic.
The department also offers special event coverage in the community, maintains a 12-medic disaster response team, responds to hazardous materials (HAZMAT) incidents and employs a team of tactical paramedics who provide emergency medical coverage to the Norman Police SWAT team and the Hazardous Device Unit.
If you or someone you know is interested in the Paramedic Extern program with EMSSTAT, please email EMSSTAT_Recruitment@nrh-ok.com.