Emergency medical technicians undergo testing to be certified as paramedics

Firefighters and River Medical personnel from throughout Mohave County, all emergency medical technicians, took a step toward gaining paramedic certification recently at Kingman Regional Medical Center.

A total of 21 paramedic candidates spent Thursday moving through seven testing stations, demonstrating levels of proficiency in each area for 11 seasoned paramedic examiners.

Candidates were timed and received either a passing or failing grade at each station.

They had to get passing marks at all seven stations and still await results of a 180-question multiple-choice test each took Wednesday at the hospital.

Passage of both the practical and written examinations will get them National Registry and state certification as paramedics.

Ken McLaughlin, a Department of Public Safety paramedic, was one of the examiners Thursday.

He watched candidates assess and treat a trauma victim in a simulated situation.

"In trauma assessment, I look at their organizational skills and that they treat the important stuff first," McLaughlin said.

"I also check on how well they verbalize what they're doing during treatment (for other emergency responders)."

Jason Scott is an engineer with the Hualapai Valley Fire Department.

He was among the paramedic candidates Thursday.

"I'm here to learn how to provide better service to the community we protect," Scott said.

"I've been provided with adequate resources and knowledge of the subjects (being tested) and now it's up to me to perform."

Another candidate was Kolby Kreidel, a firefighter and EMT with the Bullhead City Fire Department.

"I want to expand my scope of practice so I can provide better care for the patients I run on," Kreidel said.

"We've had good training (to prepare for paramedic testing), but I know I'm going to be nervous.

National Registry is not easy to pass."

The hospital has been a host for paramedic training for 20 years, said Sue Kern, emergency medical services manager.

The course is offered as the need for paramedics arises among fire departments and ambulance services.

That may be once or twice a year or, in some instances, every other year, Kern said.

The seven areas in which candidates tested Thursday, as explained by Kern, were: cardiac module testing for recognizing heart rhythms and cardiac medications that may be needed; trauma assessment intervention; pediatrics, whereby candidates must be able to insert a breathing tube and perform intraoesseus, which is inserting a needle into a child's leg for an intravenous solution line; adult intubation; proficiency with intravenous lines (IVs) and IV medications; an oral medical station where candidates assess patient injuries; and a basic life support station where they demonstrate proficiency in extrication and mobilization.

Seven to eight volunteers played the roles of "victims" for candidates to treat during the practical application exercise.