Friday, November 14, 2014

Paramedic Training Program

AUGUSTA, GA (PR) – The East Central Georgia area now has a paramedic training program. Twenty-four students have started the 13-month course for these advanced emergency medical care providers with diverse employment opportunities, from first responders on the street to working in hospitals and clinics as part of a health care team.

“We wanted to help fill this need in our community for advanced EMS-care providers, particularly on our streets,” said Dr. John McManus, Medical Director of the new course offered by the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University. “Paramedics often remain where they train, and we want to help ensure a strong group for our region.”

The 13-county East Central Georgia Health District, a mix of urban and rural communities, with a Level 1 Trauma Center at GRHealth and the nation’s largest burn center, the Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Doctors Hospital, has not had a paramedic training program in the past few years, McManus said. 

MCG’s first class includes volunteer and full-time firefighters and working emergency medical technicians, said Jeff Garver, Paramedic Program Manager. The course has built-in flexibility to enable working professionals to continue their jobs as they earn a paramedic certificate.

The eclectic course schedule includes plenty of classroom and ambulance time, clinical experience at GRHealth and the Joseph M. Still Burn Center, and anatomy and physiology classes, including hands-on experience in the simulation and gross anatomy labs. This type of first-hand education on the human anatomy is rare for paramedic programs, other than those affiliated with a medical school.

Students’ gross anatomy lab experiences include learning to intubate, or establish an airway for patients on the scene or en route to the hospital, Garver said. These types of advanced practice skills, which also include administering cardiac, anti-seizure, and pain medications and reading electrocardiograms, make paramedics good partners for basic EMTs on emergency vehicles. 

“We usually want an EMT and a paramedic on every emergency vehicle, but many just have basic first responders,” said McManus. Ideally, the new program will help improve the mix, he said.

Basic EMTs can do cardiopulmonary resuscitation and start an intravenous line but can’t give most medications or intubate a patient, Garver said. In fact, students must already be certified EMTs to quality for paramedic training. In a clinical setting, paramedics work under the supervision of physicians and nurses.

MCG’s EMS Academy also trains EMTs and Advanced EMTs and already offered critical care specialization for paramedics in critical care emergency management transport, certified flight paramedic review, and pediatric and neonatal critical care transport, see

GRU fires up for Great American Smoke Out

The Georgia Regents University Cancer Center, Georgia Prevention Institute, and the GRHealth Respiratory Therapy Program will set up eight Commit to Quit stations Nov. 20 as part the Great American Smoke Out.

Commit to Quit stations are open to students, faculty, staff, and the community, and offer tools and tips to assist smokers in overcoming nicotine, taming their urge to smoke, and changing their tobacco-related behaviors.

The following stations will be available from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the Health Sciences campus:

·         Cancer Center Outpatient Clinic lobby

·         Main Hospital lobby

·         Main Hospital, Terrace Dining

·         Children’s Hospital of Georgia lobby

·         Medical Office Building lobby

Additional stations will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Health Sciences and Summerville campuses:

·         Student Center, Health Sciences campus

·         Annex I, Health Sciences campus

·         Jaguar Student Activities Center, Summerville campus

The Great American Smoke Out, held each year on the third Thursday of November calls attention to the death, illness, and disability caused by smoking and secondhand smoke, and is designed to help smokers quit.

Nationally, smoking accounts for 90 percent of lung cancer deaths. This year, according to National Cancer Institute estimates, 160,000 men and women will die from lung and bronchus cancer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that one in five deaths are due to smoking or secondhand smoke. In Georgia 11,000 lives are lost due to smoking every year.    

“Our community cannot afford to lose another life to smoking cigarettes and to secondhand smoke,” said Martha Tingen, Director of the GRU Cancer Center’s Tobacco Control Program. “The Smoke Out is designed to remind us of that and to let smokers and their loved ones know resources and help in quitting are available.”

Active smokers or their family members can also get information about the GRU Cancer Center’s Cessation Services at 706-721-6744 or

The Cancer Center also offers a free lung cancer screening to qualifying long-term smokers. For more information, call 706-446-LUNG (5864) or visit

The GRU Cancer Center is a multi-disciplinary academic cancer center focused on both research and clinical treatment. Its patient-centered approach to treatment includes first-in-the-nation treatment protocols, an experimental therapeutics program that includes specialized clinics for Phase I trials and immunotherapy and a variety of ancillary programs – including music therapy and genetic counseling – designed with holistic healing in mind.

Student retention, graduation rates rise at GRU

Georgia Regents University’s student retention and graduation rates are on the rise, according to a recent report from the University System of Georgia. 

GRU’s retention rate among freshmen who return for their sophomore year has risen over three percent since fall 2011, and six-year graduation rates have seen a seven percent increase since 2012.

University officials attribute these improvements to a series of high-impact, proactive services targeted to keeping students on track to graduate.

One of those initiatives, ‘4 Years 4 U,’ launched in fall 2013 and centers on a two-way dialogue between freshman and sophomore students and the university’s newly augmented advising staff, along with a flat tuition model that incentivizes students to enroll for 15 hours, the pace needed to graduate in four years.

In fall 2012, only 8 percent of freshmen attempted 15 or more credit hours and fewer than four percent succeeded. In fall 2013, aided by ‘4 Years 4 U’ counseling, 71 percent of freshmen attempted 15 or more credit hours and 42 percent succeeded. This fall, the percent of freshmen attempting 15 or more credits reached 89.5 percent.

In addition to ‘4 Years 4 U,” GRU has also enhanced its recruitment efforts and created effective and engaging orientation and Convocation programs. The university added opportunities for student engagement — a critical factor for student success — through campus and academic enrichment activities and leadership development programs.

“We are excited, we are grateful, we are proud, and we are sure this is only the beginning,” said Dr. Gretchen Caughman, GRU’s Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost. “GRU thanks our community and state who provide so much support to our institution and for all of the students who are creating their future at our university.”

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