Hennepin Tech EMT students jump into real world emergency situation

PHOTO ABOVE: Chef Eisenreich thanks EMT class with a free lunch for a job well done


Hennepin Technical College has a strong record of teaching its students not just theory and concepts from books, but by hands-on training and preparation. That’s especially important in Emergency Medical Services, where students need to learn how to do things like CPR, which can be taught using a medical mannequin.

That hands-on training is critical, as students learned recently. As instructor Joe Martinez was grading finals as students completed their last class, a student who had left came running back and reported that a man was down near the cafeteria. “She told us there was a medical emergency, and the man was turning blue and was cyanotic,” Martinez said. He followed her to the victim, where he determined the man’s pulse was very light. “I could hardly feel it,” he said. Along with four EMS students who had gathered around him, they leapt into the action they’d been training for (and testing on just a few minutes earlier). “We had one student who was talking to the man’s wife, getting his medical history and information about medications,” Martinez said, “and the rest of us worked on the CPR, with one person doing ventilation and another doing compressions, and they rotated out as we continued the CPR.”

While HTC has an automated external defibrillator onsite, its readings indicated had a nonshockable rhythm, so continuing the CPR while waiting for the ambulance to arrive was necessary. After five minutes, the man began regaining normal color and started moving his arms. Another check found that his pulse was returning to normal as well.

“Early intervention plays a big role with heart attacks,” said Martinez. “It was lucky for the patient that someone saw he was having problems and that we were right there.”

It also helped that the students were well trained and jumped in professionally right from the start. “I was so impressed with the students,” said Martinez. “No one questioned it, they all did what they needed to be done, they stayed calm, and they made a difference.” All excellent qualities for emergency medical responders.

One of the students, Ryan Larsen, found the situation to be life-changing. He had already been studying in Fire Protection, and Martinez’s EMS class was one he was taking towards that career. But he’d been considering switching to the EMS program, and a few hours after taking his turn doing compressions on a real-life medical emergency, he returned to Martinez and said he wanted to go forward with the change.

“After doing the CPR, it really convinced me to go ahead and change,” Larsen said. “I got my EMR in the fall. It will take me another 18 months to get the EMS certificate, and by then I’ll be close to the EMT degree.” He noted that the CPR experience was a positive one. “I wasn’t too nervous, I just tried to focus on my compressions and kept them steady, do the right job,” he said. “It’s a really cool thing to be able to help someone in a situation like that.”

Last updated by jlaabs : 2016-07-21 11:21:49