College, hospital partner for EMTs

Published 12:38 pm Tuesday, May 7, 2024

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To help meet the growing demand for paramedics across Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist, the health system has partnered with Davidson-Davie Community College to create an opportunity for emergency medical technicians (EMTs) employed by Wake Forest Baptist to obtain their paramedic certification.

This unique program allows EMTs to complete the training needed to advance their careers by becoming a paramedic while continuing to receive their full pay and benefits. All tuition, books, fees and uniforms are provided at no cost to students.

Wake Forest Baptist employs more than 160 paramedics and EMTs, most of whom work in its emergency departments and urgent care clinics and at AirCare, its helicopter and ground transportation service.

The first group of six EMTs began the 16-month training in early January at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Davie Medical Center in Bermuda Run.

“We believe this partnership between a health system and a community college to train paramedics is the first of its kind in the state of North Carolina,” said Billy Haynes, a registered nurse, paramedic and the director of Wake Forest Baptist’s AirCare. “Many EMTs dream of furthering their careers by becoming paramedics but are unable to pursue the necessary training due to the demands of their full-time job, so we are pleased to partner with Davidson-Davie to offer current employees an affordable way to advance their career, while helping us meet the growing demand for paramedics.”

This is not the first area in which Wake Forest Baptist and Davidson-Davie have partnered.

In 2021, the two created the first registered nurse apprenticeship program in North Carolina. In 2022, they worked together to create the largest health care apprenticeship program in the state to train students in other health care fields.

“This partnership provides a remarkable opportunity for EMTs at Wake Forest Baptist to move forward in their careers,” said Jonathan Brown, vice president of workforce and community engagement at Davidson-Davie. “These students are already busy in the field working, and as we all know, advancing your career takes time and money. This program removes that financial hurdle – and that’s extraordinary. Not only is Davidson-Davie providing training for paramedic certification, but also helping to fill an essential need for paramedics in the community. It’s truly a win-win partnership.”

Leaders said the response has been so positive that planning has already begun for a second class to be held later this year.