Gogebic Community College currently offers programs to train Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) and Paramedics. Faculty includes Program Director Randy Forstrom and adjunct faculty members Kim Rice, Registered Nurse/Paramedic and Paramedic Joe Jacobson. Together they work to teach students interested in healthcare and serving the community. These courses are offered in collaboration with Aspirus Grand View Emergency Department, Beacon Ambulance and local fire departments where students spend their clinical hours.
FORSTROM - According to Forstrom, his career objectives are to serve the public/EMS communities, education, and to assist with Emergency Management. Review of his training, experience and service to the community shows fulfillment of his objectives. Forstrom became an Emergency Medical Technician in 1980 and then completed his Paramedic training in 1984. He moved on to become an Instructor Coordinator in 1999. He has completed numerous certifications throughout his career, Michigan State Paramedic Examiner, Tactical Paramedic and volunteer firefighter to name a few. He also joined the U.S. Coast Guard in 1980. His last deployment was in Operation Desert Shield/Storm in 1990. Currently, he is employed by Beacon Ambulance where he has been the Operations Manager since 2000. He has also been the program director of GCC’s EMS programs since 2000.
ACCREDITATION - GCC is currently working on its accreditation with CoAEMSP (Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Emergency Medical Services Profession). In a historic move of the NASEMSO (National Association of State EMS Officials) at their 2010 Annual Meeting, the membership voted to support CAAHP (Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs) as the national EMS programmatic accreditor, as well as to require that all Paramedic education programs be nationally accredited by January 1, 2013 in order for graduates of these programs to be eligible to take the NREMT (National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians) Paramedic exam.
CONTINUING EDUCATION CREDITS- Plans are underway to expand educational opportunities to include continuing education credits for EMT’s, Paramedics and Nurses. Currently, the Allied Health Division includes the Practical and Associate Degree Nursing program, Emergency Medical Services (EMT and Paramedic) and the Certified Medical Assistant program, which will begin in the fall of 2012. All of these students must be trained in Cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) at a healthcare provider level prior to entering the program. Forstrom and other certified trainers will offer these courses three times each year. In addition, plans are underway to offer continuing education credits for currently licensed emergency medical services personnel and nurses. All licensed health professionals must receive continuing education credits to keep their license. EMT’s require 48 credits every two years, Paramedics 72 credits every two years, and 25 hours in two years for nurses.
Forstrom explained “It can be very expensive to obtain these credits if that includes travel, lodging and food. We plan to offer the required credits in tandem with our current classes at GCC and are developing a plan to take the class room to an organization like a fire department where we can teach all of their personnel in one place. This will allow the organization to keep their staff on the job and save the cost of travel and related expenses.” Both options, credits in the classroom and on the job continuing education will be offered beginning Fall of 2012.
ADVANCED CARDIAC LIFE SUPPORT (ACLS)/PEDIATRIC ADVANCED LIFE SUPPORT - In the summer of 2012, ACLS and PALS will be offered at GCC. This specialized training will be offered to Associate Degree Nursing graduates, paramedics, emergency room and critical care nurses.
THE FUTURE Planning is in the discussion phase for offering the EMT program in the Copper Country and the possibility of offering an “Instructor Trainer” course this spring, which would increase the pool of instructors for EMS programs.