September 25, 2023
Pearl River Community College is constantly looking to meet the needs of local communities by adding new health programs.
One of the newer programs just added at the Forrest County Campus: Emergency Medical Technician-Paramedic Bridge program.
“The EMT portion started in August and the bridge portion will begin in January,” said Dr. James David Collum, Dean of Career and Technical Education at the FCC.
“Local ambulance operators alerted us of the high demand for a program to prepare students with these skills. In our area, there is currently a shortage of advanced emergency technicians and paramedics.”
PRCC did not have to look far to find an experienced teacher to launch this one-year program. That instructor is Beverly Courtney, who has 37 years in Emergency Medical Services, with 35 of those years as a Paramedic.
“I have worked for not-for profit, private, and hospital-based services during that time,” said Courtney. “In 2013, I obtained my RN license and have worked mostly in the ER on a part-time basis.
“I began teaching EMR and EMT classes for PRCC through Workforce Education in 2003. Additionally, I teach CPR and First Aid classes to health care personnel, industries, small businesses, and the public.”
Courtney could tell right away that this area is in need of these expanded services.
“Just like with most other areas of healthcare, EMS has a critical shortage of both EMTs and Paramedics in Mississippi and throughout the country,” she said. “Our goal at PRCC is to help address this shortage in our area by providing a quality program that meets the needs of the students and the community, and that ultimately helps to put quality EMS personnel into the workforce.”
PRCC did not have to look far for the one thing the program needed for training purposes. AAA Ambulance Service of Hattiesburg donated an ambulance.
Dr. Collum said this program is just another PRCC has added in this high-need healthcare area.
“Pearl River was fortunate to find an instructor with years of field and teaching experience to prepare the students to enter this field,” he said “We are also in the heart of a medical community that allows students to have varied clinical experiences that will better prepare them for their careers.”
Individuals interested in becoming an EMT or Paramedic can contact the Admissions Office at the Forrest County Campus. All students wishing to take the Paramedic class are required to have both A&P I and A&P II. It is possible to take A&P II concurrently with the Paramedic class.
Pearl River also has 12 additional medical programs and a shared simulation lab to allow all students to work together for the best possible educational outcomes. They include: Associate Degree Nursing (ADN), Dental Assisting, Dental Hygiene Technology, Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Massage Therapy Technology, Medical Laboratory Technology, Occupational Therapy Assistant, Physical Therapist Assistant Technology, Practical Nursing (LPN), Radiologic Technology, Respiratory Care Technology, and Surgical Technology.
All programs are offered at the Forrest County Campus. Associate Degree Nursing is also offered on the Poplarville Campus. Practical Nursing is offered on all three campuses.
Additionally, Workforce Training offers entry-level training for individuals wanting to enter the healthcare field. Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA), Certified Nursing Assistant, Certified Phlebotomy Tech (CPT), and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) training programs require from one month to a semester to complete. Several individuals entering these programs are seeking quick entry into the workforce to come back later for a certificate or degree in another allied health area.
Article by Chuck Abadie. Photography by Kaitlyn Jones.