SAN LUIS OBISPO — The Cuesta College Paramedic Program hosted an open house to introduce its upcoming class of paramedic students and unveil its brand new, state-of-the-art ambulance simulator. The mobile simulator is one of the first of its kind to be used in California and was funded through a grant by the Strong Workforce Program as a component of the state’s “Doing What Matters (for Jobs and the Economy)” initiative.
“With the national evolution of Emergency Medical Services education to a high-fidelity scenario-based model, Cuesta College is setting the pace in California with the first mobile ambulance simulator training module,” said Michael McDonough, Paramedic Program Director. “Performing patient assessments and skill delivery while in a safe, but moving, simulator will enhance our students’ experience in critical decision situations.”
The simulator mimics a real-world experience in ambulance transport and provides a life-like course laboratory for students in the Paramedic, Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), and Allied Health programs. “One of the biggest challenges educating EMTs and paramedics is to convert their classroom and textbook knowledge into skills that can be applied in high-pressure situations in the field,” said Jason Curtis, Dean of Mathematics and Science, Nursing and Allied Health, and Athletics. “There is really no substitute for realistic simulations of cases that the students will encounter as they progress in their careers. Students need opportunities to develop and practice their skills in ways that feel real, and the ambulance simulator will provide that opportunity.”
The Paramedic Program was recently recognized with a Strong Workforce Bronze Star since nearly 95 percent of the program’s graduates earn a living wage in the Central Coast region. The program relies on feedback from community agencies, such as ambulance companies and fire departments, that hire graduates. “Those agencies join us in expecting that our students will enter their internships and early stages of their careers with more confidence and aptitude because they will have spent time in the simulator,” said Curtis. “The entire Emergency Medical Services community is excited about the opportunity that we are providing to our students.”
The secondary purpose of the simulator is to assist with training for the local fire department and other Emergency Medical Services providers in realistic patient care. It will also be used as an outreach tool to introduce the community to the importance of quality, pre-hospital care education through demonstrations at health and career fairs and local high schools.
The Cuesta College Paramedic Program is a three-semester, full-time program offered on the San Luis Obispo campus. The program prepares graduates to take the Paramedic National Registry licensure examination (NREMT-P) leading to licensure as a California Paramedic. Class 13 is made up of a full class of 24 students who will begin the program in January.
Paramedic Program applications are accepted once a year, and applications for Class 14 will be available from March 1 through April 30. To find out more about the Paramedic Program, visit their webpage or call the Nursing and Allied Health Division at 805-546-3119.