Listening to a medical training need that a workforce sector
was asking for prompted Western Nevada College to launch a Paramedicine program
Building on the Emergency Medical Services classes of Emergency Medical Technician and Advanced EMT that it already offered, WNC expanded the program so these students could further their training to become paramedics.
“What this is filling is I’ve been approached by several
agencies in Washoe County and outside of Washoe County in the rural areas that
would like to see more EMS training,” EMS/Paramedic Coordinator Terry Mendez.
“With us being located in Carson, people don’t have to travel to Washoe County.
With our multiple locations throughout rural Nevada, that is our big goal to
reach medicine in the rural counties.”
Mendez has been at WNC for a year and can share his passion for medicine after dabbling in firefighting in Oregon.
“As a resident volunteer I had to be a paramedic to do
firefighting,” he said. “I fell in love with the medicine and actually left
fire and continued my career in EMS.”
Whether they are studying to become an EMT or paramedic,
students will gain the knowledge and skills to respond to health emergencies
and help people in times of distress. They learn how to care for people in a
prehospital setting and will be prepared to sit for national and state testing
for EMT and Advanced EMT.
“What WNC wants to do is bring quality education to the
community, so we have consolidated these into Certificate of Achievement
pathways that will eventually lead to an associate degree,” Mendez said. “This
allows students to develop their education foundation with some of the general
education requirements and begin that process of becoming a college student.
This works into the paramedic pathway for those who want to make it a career.
So, we offer those now and continue to build upon those.
“There are now lots of opportunities for our students that
weren’t available before.”
The expanded EMS program has doubled in enrollment from 15
to 30 students.
Mendez said it is imperative for individuals considering a career in EMS to learn as much as they can about it beforehand.
“These people are usually very outgoing and like varied
environments,” Mendez said. “We don’t work in a room; the world is basically
our office. We go to them; people don’t come to us. It’s for people who like
varied work and like a little bit of chaos. That’s one of things why a lot of
people are drawn to this, because you never know what is going to come next.
It’s very unpredictable.
“There are a lot of misconceptions of the general public of what EMS providers do so we offer counseling services where they can talk to us about it.”
Another misconception about the job is that EMTs and
paramedics are restricted to working in an ambulance.
“There’s a lot more,” Mendez said. “More and more hospitals
are picking up paramedics in the emergency room, the critical care units, ICUs.
More and more industries … Tesla hires paramedics. Ski resorts hire paramedics.
If you like to travel, the military and private contractors like to pick up
paramedics for overseas jobs. Oil rigs and carnival cruises will hire
paramedics. If there’s people and medical emergencies, then paramedics will be
An anonymous donation of an ambulance has given the program
an extra boost in its initial year.
“That’s our most controlled environment where we do a
majority of our work to sustain and help patients the best that we can,” Mendez
said. “So, having that piece of equipment is absolutely vital to having these
students get into that role because it is a different environment when you are
moving down the road and doing many things that an ER can do, but we’re doing
it at 70 mph moving down a freeway. That allows to put students in the
back, drive them around and start getting used to that environment, where if we
didn’t have it, they would be very far behind in being prepared.”
Mendez picked up the generous donation out of state and
drove it to campus.
“Terry’s the driver behind this program,” said WNC President
Dr. Vincent Solis. “That is the level of commitment that Terry has for our
students. He’s not only gotten one ambulance but is looking at getting another
ambulance on campus so our students can have this amazing experience of hands-on
opportunity that pairs up that theory and the application of that theory in the
Mendez said that potential candidates of the program can learn more by contacting him at email@example.com.