Presque Isle – Northern Maine Community College held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on October 14, 2022, during the annual open house, for the new Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Education & Training Center located on campus in Presque Isle. The 5,000-sq-ft Center provides innovative technology and design to simulate real-life scenarios, creating an advanced training environment to support those entering the field, or to enhance ongoing training for local first responders including paramedics, healthcare employees, or firefighters.
Responding to the “crippling EMS labor shortage” both locally in Aroostook County and nationally, the program aims to increase the number of future EMS providers by better preparing them for the field. “We want to ensure that students graduate with the confidence and abilities to not only work in the field but to love the work, which would increase retention for long-term careers,” stated EMS Department Chair Andrew (AJ) Gagnon.
“This is a momentous occasion for current and future first responders in Maine,” stated NMCC President Timothy Crowley. “Due to limited resources, financial and human, many municipalities and healthcare facilities find themselves having to make tough decisions regarding types of services and care to be provided. In rural communities, these professionals must receive training that prepares them for any multitude of scenarios, and this new training center allows for that often-rare hands-on training.”
The training center includes an attached ambulance bay, which allows students to engage with the ambulance acquired by the college in 2020, regardless of weather conditions. The Center includes multiple staged rooms designed to reflect typical living situations, including a bathroom, living room, and a full staircase. Mirrored glass control rooms allow faculty to manipulate the health conditions of advanced simulator mannequins while observing student responses. Classrooms and lab spaces in the Center are equipped with video streaming capabilities and 4K recording technology, which allow students and faculty to engage with off-campus learners or Livestream lectures and labs.
“The simulation equipment at NMCC meets and exceeds some of the best in the country,” said Dr. Peter Goth, who serves as a medical advisor for the program and specializes in critical care training and transport medicine. “The commitment of the college to work on developing the resources to be used for instruction and professional training is one of the reasons I work with NMCC,” Goth stated.
NMCC’s EMS program provides multiple credential options and training formats. Students can earn their Basic EMT license in just 12 weeks, an advanced EMT license in 9 months, or a full associate’s degree in paramedicine in two years.
One highlight of the new facility is to do interprofessional training with other healthcare programs on campus. Transportation to the emergency room can be simulated which would allow EMS students to practice transitioning the patient to a nursing student.
This project was funded through a grant from The Rodney & Mary Barton Smith Family Foundation. NMCC’s Admissions department is currently accepting applications for summer and fall 2023 cohorts. For more information regarding NMCC’s EMS program please visit nmcc.edu or call the admissions office at (207) 768-2785.