Emergency Medical Services: New accreditation brings more prestige

Photo by DARLA FISH | The Ranger
Photo by DARLA FISH | The Ranger

If someone is looking for a career in the emergency medical field, Amarillo College is the place to go; in fact, it is the only place in the Texas Panhandle that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.

The CAAHEP is recognized by 47 states as the authority on various medical certifications.

“AC has been involved in EMS education since the industry was developed almost 37 years ago,” said Doug Adcock, an assistant professor.

In 1984, the paramedicine technology department was created. The program has continued to change along with the curriculum over the years and now is called the department of emergency medical services professions.

Adcock said the modern-day ambulance basically is a mobile intensive care unit.

Each semester, AC’s EMSP program conducts classes both on and off the West Campus. The students perform clinical rotations and field internships at various Amarillo area hospitals and advanced life support/mobile intensive care unit ambulance services.

The facilities expose the student to the latest, cutting edge pre-hospital medical experience and allow the students to work under the direct supervision of some of the finest medical and allied health professionals in the country.

“I would like to be a cardiologist one day, and this is a good place to start,” said paramedic major Pedro Serrano.

When the rules that govern the paramedic profession were on the verge of change, the faculty in the EMSP program decided they needed to take action.

On Jan. 24, the EMSP program became accredited by the CAAHEP.

“Having the CAAHEP accreditation recognizes that our program measures up to the national standard for EMS education,” said Associate Professor Paul Whitfield.

Whitfield said the accreditation process involved an extraordinary amount of data collection and documentation. Although AC’s EMSP program always has had high standards, a few minor changes have been made as a result of the accreditation process.

“The most important change is that we have implemented more formal detailed documentation processes,” Whitfield said.

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