WCJC EMS Program hosts training day for students

Participants of the Wharton County Junior College EMS Field Day gather for a group photograph while the LifeFlight helicopter lifts off in the background. More than 80 students attended the event, held at the Wharton campus. 

A shirtless man lies on the sidewalk, his torso blistered with burns. Propped up against a wall is a bloodied construction worker, a knife protruding from his neck. And over by the oak tree is an unconscious driver, trapped inside their mangled car. When it comes to real-world practice, it just doesn’t get much better than Wharton County Junior College Emergency Medical Services’ Field Day.

Held on April 23 at the Johnson Health Occupations Center on the Wharton campus, the event was an intense scenario-based training exercise for EMS students of all levels. The Field Day is held each fall and spring semester, with a rotation of 40 different scenarios utilized to ensure no student encounters the same incident twice.

“The Field Day is a really good exercise for our program, not only for team building for also for us to use as an assessment tool,” said WCJC EMS Program Director Gary Bonewald. “It gives the students an opportunity to show what they’ve learned through the semester.”

More than 80 students from the basic EMT level all the way to advanced Paramedic participated in the event.

“They’re put into real-life situations to determine the best way to respond,” Bonewald said. “If they make mistakes, this is the place to make them.”

The event was also a way to network with area EMS organizations and to secure a potential job after graduation. Around 17 vendor agencies were on hand with 36 personnel. 

“We had multiple students encouraged to put in a job application on the spot,” Bonewald said.

Participating agencies included Advantage Ambulance Service, Atascosita EMS, Austin County EMS, Colorado County EMS, El Campo EMS, Integrity Alliance, Fayette County EMS, Fort Bend County EMS, Global Medical Response/AMR, Harris County Emergency Corps, Houston Fire Department, Jackson County EMS, Orion EMS, U.S. Army Outreach, Wharton EMS and Windsor EMS.

A highlight of the day was the landing of a LifeFlight helicopter out of Houston. Students had a chance to visit with the crew and look inside the air ambulance. The visit was cut short, however, due to an emergency call from the El Campo area.

WCJC’s EMS courses prepare students as emergency medical care providers in a pre-hospital setting. Persons certified as Paramedics provide a higher level of care than Emergency Medical Technicians or Advanced Emergency Medical Technicians, as specified by the Texas Department of State Health and the National Registry of EMTs. The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. Classes are offered at the Richmond and Wharton campuses and occasionally at off-site locations. Visit wcjc.edu for more information.

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