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ECH Paramedic Education Program Graduates Third Class


Graduates join EMS agencies serving 10 Counties in New York’s Capital District & North Country

After 18 months and hundreds of hours of clinical training through UVM Health Network – Elizabethtown Community Hospital (ECH), 18 students of the hospital’s Paramedic Education Program on Tuesday joined Emergency Medical Services (EMS) agencies across the region, as hospital leaders and students’ families celebrated the graduation of the program’s third class.

The program, which offers a blend of online training, onsite clinical and laboratory experience and in-person classroom sessions, is an intensive experience for students that has been constantly refined and updated since it was first launched in 2018, said Bruce Barry, the program’s director.

“Our program is flexible and dynamic – just like the men and women who are driven to become the next generation of paramedics serving communities across Northern New York,” said Barry. “I’m incredibly proud of our graduates and our program. This is a local resource that’s out there and has been making a difference in a variety of communities, every day, for years. We’re going into our fourth year, and to still have the level of interest and participation that we do is amazing.”

Designed to reach students throughout a six-county area of Northern New York, the program offers hands-on clinical training in partnership with more than 13 regional health care organizations and more than 30 EMS agencies across Northern New York and Vermont. Organizers have also set up classrooms in Queensbury, Lewis and Potsdam, to ensure no student in the program has to travel more than an hour to participate in in-person classroom sessions, said Barry.

Since launching in 2018, when it graduated a class of 16, ECH’s program has grown by leaps and bounds, Barry said – adding, among other things, an extra six months of instruction time for to accommodate rigorous course requirements that often exceed New York State standards for paramedic training and certification. The 2022 class is the first to go through the program’s expanded 18-month coursework, which prepares students to administer medications, start IV lines and provide advanced airway management and includes certifications that allow them to resuscitate and support patients who have suffered traumatic injuries or experienced life-threatening medical issues such as a heart attack.

“Our graduates spend hundreds of hours refining their clinical skills and advancing their emergency medical technician training,” said Julie Tromblee, ECH’s Chief Nursing Officer. “We are providing a really solid, dynamic education that not only enables them to step directly into a career in EMS, but that directly exposes them to the culture of the EMS agencies serving our communities every day. For us, this program is kind of an extension of our Emergency Department, so to be able to positively impact the level of prehospital care that’s out there, that’s a great outcome for everyone.”

The program is so popular among regional EMS agencies that many students receive job offers even before graduation, said Barry, He noted that the 2022 graduates of the program are slated to join EMS agencies serving 10 counties across New York — Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, St. Lawrence, Dutchess, Warren, Washington, Schenectady and Albany.

ECH Leaders Celebrate Graduates
At a graduation ceremony Tuesday, program leaders, family members and hospital administrators gathered to celebrate the 18 graduates’ achievements.

Bob Ortmyer, president of Elizabethtown Community Hospital, said, “Our Paramedic Education Program is another way our hospital is able to positively impact lives in our community.  The ability to train North Country residents to help their families, friends and neighbors is truly wonderful.  I’m so proud of this program’s success, the educators and graduates, both past and present.”

Laura Sells-Doyle, president of ECH Auxiliary, which offers $5,000 in scholarships to each class, called the group’s investment in the ECH Paramedic Education Program an investment in the health, safety and peace-of-mind of dozens of communities across the North Country.

“The care these graduates provide, and the impact they have on our friends, families, neighbors and loved ones can’t be overstated,” she said. “They sacrifice to care for our communities, and their work and achievements are truly inspirational.”

Program Continues to Enroll Students

The application period for ECH’s Paramedic Education Program is currently open, and spots in the program’s fourth class are still available. To learn more about the program and how to sign up, visit UVM Health Network – Elizabethtown Community Hospital’s website.