New program at Hawkeye Community College attempts to address paramedic shortage
WATERLOO, Iowa (KCRG) - A new program at Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo hopes to address the paramedic shortage here in Iowa.
It’s a hybrid program that will start next January, allowing students to take the course on a more flexible schedule.
Mollie Sherman is currently a student in the regular daytime paramedic program. She says she’s learned a lot of problem-solving skills in it.
“Which is why a lot of people get into [Emergency Medical Services] in general,” Sherman said. “The adrenaline rush, but also the rush of saving patient’s lives ultimately.
Sherman made adjustments to her schedule to make the program work for her life, but acknowledged that everyone can’t do that. People have full-time jobs or families, making it hard to balance work and the demands of the school year.
“We have a lot of clinicals, we have over 500 hours of clinicals that we have to do,” Sherman said. “And none of that’s paid. So it’s definitely an investment of time.”
The new hybrid program moves a majority of the course work online, with students attending a weekly lab at night over an 18-month period. Leaders hope this will recruit people who can’t commit to their regular program. John Cockrell, the program’s director, said some smaller Iowa cities are adding incentives to recruits.
“Places like Denver, Grundy Center one time was volunteer,” Cockrell said. “Now, have paid staff.”
Hawkeye is currently looking for applicants. Sherman said that it’s worth it.
“You’re helping people,” Sherman said. “You’re making a difference, and that’s what’s important.”
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