Serving the community as an EMT

By: Nadine Aljets .

EMTs providing care for baby
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Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) work to save lives every day. They are trained for high-stress situations and caring for and preserving human life.

Currently, there is a nationwide shortage of EMTs and paramedics. As the Fargo, North Dakota, region grows, F-M Ambulance – a subsidiary of Sanford Health – is feeling the demands of this need.

F-M Ambulance provides emergent 911 care, as well as interfacility transfers between hospitals. Fulfilling both roles can be difficult without the appropriate number of EMTs.

Helping others

Why would one want to be an EMT? For Ron Lawler, director of EMS education, being an EMT is a rewarding profession that is constantly changing.

“Providers will see people on the worst days of their lives and make a difference to those too sick or injured to care for themselves. It is like bringing the emergency department to the patient,” he said.

Becoming an EMT

For many people, helping others is something they love doing. If they have previous medical experience, becoming an EMT can make it that much easier.

For people interested in a career as an EMT, class lectures are provided by web conference and most homework is online. The hands-on training is provided in Fargo, North Dakota, and Thief River Falls and Luverne in Minnesota, with Bismarck, North Dakota, available if needed.

These classes, as well as those for emergency medical responders, advanced emergency medical technicians, paramedic and community paramedic, are held in conjunction with North Dakota State College of Science and Minnesota State Community and Technical College to allow students to gain college credit and degrees while using financial aid. F-M Ambulance partners with these organizations to provide the training.

The classes that EMTs attend include anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology. Aspiring technicians also learn on-the-job skills such as airway management, using oxygen, taking vital signs and using monitors, giving basic medications, putting on tourniquets, splinting limbs and ambulance operations.

Once the class is completed, passing the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians exam is the final step to becoming nationally registered. Students can then become licensed in Minnesota and North Dakota.

A recent class had a record number of 77 students. Typically, there are 40 to 45 students.

“We are really encouraged by recent numbers of students, and we hope others will feel a call to serve as an EMT,” Lawler said. “There is no greater feeling than being the one person on the scene with the knowledge and skills to help a neighbor survive and thrive.”

For more information on upcoming classes, visit shemse.org.

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