HCAM’s Emergency Training Technology!

HCAM’s Emergency Training Technology!
Posted on 07/08/2021
EMT with ambulance

HCAM’s emergency training provides

students with reality of service 

As high school students from throughout Catawba County (and beyond) consider the return to school this fall, one of the most popular and sought-after courses is provided at Hickory Career and Arts Magnet High School (HCAM).

Emergency Medical Technology (EMT) is taking off—as the word is getting out about the career benefits of the popular course, according to instructor, Paige Walker, a NC Paramedic who also instructs Health Science and serves as the advisor for the school’s Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA).

“Designed as a foundation for pre-hospital care, the course requires strong communication and critical thinking to successfully perform duties as an Emergency Medical Technician,” said Walker. “Students learn a vast amount of skills, including patient assessments, airway management, medication administration via numerous routes, medical and trauma emergencies, splinting, and so much more,” she said.

Like so many of us who watch emergency television shows, we might believe that every call to the EMT is an adrenaline rush. But that is simply not so, says Walker. “Sometimes a call may be to help someone from inside their home to get into a vehicle for a doctor’s appointment—or simply helping someone with other basic needs in the community. A career in EMT is truly about customer service,” said Walker.

“The patient is the customer and as the employees, we are providing a service. The rewarding part is knowing that even the things we view as small and simple could be exactly what someone needed in their life at that time. It may be just sitting down with someone and talking to show you care about what they have to say – making all the difference for them,” said Walker.

According to Walker, high school students who complete this course and earn their EMT certification could begin working in the medical field as an EMT. “Emergency Medical Services (EMS) agencies are the more popular option, but many hospitals and clinics hire EMTs, as well. If students want to stay in the EMS pathway, they can work on obtaining their paramedic certification with a degree in Emergency Medical Science. It is also common for students to obtain their EMT certification as a foundation for pre-medicine or a physician assistant program,” said Walker.

At HCAM, the EMT course has become so popular that enrollment for the new school year is already showing significant growth. Walker contributes the popularity of the course to students discovering the value of the training and the opportunity to enhance a professional path.

Next year, the class and clinical hours will increase, and a driving course has been added to the curriculum. “We don’t always think about a driving course when enrolling in the EMT program, but with the newly donated ambulance, the students will be involved in every aspect of the EMT services,” said Walker.

The donated ambulance and two stretchers were donated by Catawba County EMS, which was approved by the Catawba County Board of Commissioners. These donations, new and fully stocked, would cost approximately $275,000, according to Walker. “We are very thankful for these incredible donations as they bring reality to our classroom training,” she said.

Perhaps one of the greatest challenges in the field is to remain strong, even through the toughest of situations; and everyone must keep up with protocol and medication changes. “There are some skills that are not frequently used and we could easily find ourselves becoming complacent. The world of medicine is constantly changing. Therefore, we must make sure that we are providing exceptional care to the patient in every possible way—staying on top of all skills and any medical updates,” said Walker.

Several of HCAM’S EMT students graduated this year from either Hickory High or HCAM—as transportation is provided between the schools.  Some seniors finished high school as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and certification as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)—with all coursework completed at HCAM.

For student, Taylor Johnson, she is grateful for the exposure to multiple career options. “I am open minded now for what the future holds. These programs at HCAM have provided me with the capacity to move forward in the medical field, serving others,” she said.

Kenzie Tallent feels even more confident about her future since taking the courses offered at HCAM. “I now realize that I truly want to work in the medical field—with a focus on pediatrics. I love helping children in need,” she said.

And Sammy Collins shared that through his intensive studies at HCAM, he discovered the importance of communication. “Communication is key—not only explaining the challenging situations to family members, but working through all traumatic injuries and the elements required in working with a team. Just as the patients trust us to care for them—I will trust my professional colleagues to be on top of their skills as we provide service to others,” he said.

Paige Walker will soon begin her third year of teaching at HCAM. With a degree in Emergency Medical Sciences combined with 14 years in the medical field (five of those years as a paramedic), she provides first-hand experience with her students. “It is extremely valuable to bring the reality of emergency service to the classroom,” she said. “This is a very rewarding career, but our students need to know the facts, learn the skills, and be prepared for the unexpected. I look forward to the expanded growth of our program—and meeting so many new students in the coming year!”

For information about the EMT courses or to apply to HCAM, visit the school’s website: http://hickorycam.hickoryschools.net or call: 828- 328-6738. HCAM can also be found on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/hickorymagnet)

EMT students at HCAM with a donated ambulance from Catawba County. The ambulance will soon feature the HCAM design. (L-R) Tamya Alexander, Sammy Collins, Kenzie Tallent, Jayda Greene, Taylor Johnson, Instructor - Paige Walker, Colby Sain, Mariska Bollinger, Aaliyah Haggins


(Article/photo by Beverly Snowden, HPS director of communications)


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