Technical colleges collaborate to offer critical care transport
(11/12/12): It’s a growing occurrence as the technical
colleges collaborate to offer needed courses or improved services to
communities, and in this case critically ill patients. Wisconsin Indianhead
Technical College and
Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC), Eau Claire, recently joined forces to
bring Critical Care Transport, a technical diploma course, to Western Wisconsin.
The diploma is part of CVTC’s government grant designed to prepare licensed healthcare professionals to function as a critical care
The Critical Care Transport diploma instructs students on
how to troubleshoot critical care equipment and maintain stability of a
seriously ill patient during transport. The patient may have significant medical
issues, require multiple medications, a ventilator, have arterial lines in place
or need special monitoring. This type of transport is necessary when helicopters
cannot fly or are unavailable or if helicopter attendants are not trained in
critical care transport.
“We identified a need for critical care transport in the
St Croix County area, which represents the west side of both (CVTC and WITC)
districts,” says Terry Gonderzik, ALS Program Director at CVTC. “And Sen. Sheila
Harsdorf’s office had numerous requests for such training. We wrote a grant and
were given the funding for four classes in this area.”
So far two classes – in River Falls and one in Eau Claire
– are completed, with the third class starting at WITC-New Richmond on Dec. 3.
All four sessions as part of the grant must be completed by June 30, 2013. They
haven’t yet determined where the fourth class will be held.
Greg Carlson, WITC emergency medical services instructor,
further explains, “Students for this high level of training must have advanced
life support education, and be a graduate from a paramedic program or be a
licensed health care provider, such as a registered nurse or respiratory
therapist, for example. They also must have experience in their respective
The course involves two evenings a week, online learning
and 12 hours of clinical education. Successful completion leads to eligibility
for the Wisconsin paramedic to add the critical care endorsement and meets
Wisconsin’s EMT-Paramedic to Paramedic transition requirements.
The high cost of the course, usually up to as much as
$1,500, is underwritten by the grant so that students pay a fraction of the
total for the extensive training. An information session is set for Wednesday,
Nov. 28, 6 p.m. at WITC-New Richmond, or contact Greg Carlson at WITC at
Carlson points out the growing need for this type of
training throughout Western Wisconsin is due to its more rural status. Gonderzik
concurs, saying that critical care transport can mean life or death for the
critically ill who might otherwise die in a smaller facility if they aren’t
transported to a tertiary facility with the more advanced equipment needed to
address complicated needs.
At times, critically ill or injured patients require
transport between facilities. But they require a different level of care from
the typical hospital or emergency field transport, explains Carlson.
Course training includes the use of different drugs,
ventilators and complex EKG training and constant patient assessment. “Think of
it as ‘intensive care on wheels,’” Gonderzik says. He also points out that more
ambulance services in the area are updating their ambulances to include the
necessary upgraded equipment critical to this type of patient transport.