STUDENTS IN WCU'S EMC PROGRAM                                                                                                        

Image: Nitin Sharma practices on a high-tech mannequin
Nitin Sharma of Chapel Hill, who successfully revived five cardiac arrest victims during the clinical rotation phase of his studies in Western's emergency medical care program, practices on a high-tech computerized mannequin.

CULLOWHEE – Five seniors in Western Carolina University's emergency medical care program recently received outstanding clinical performance awards for their participation in a clinical rotation in which they saved the lives of several victims of cardiac arrest.

One of the students, Nitin Sharma from Chapel Hill, resuscitated five patients, said Michael Hubble, director of Western's emergency medical care program.

“To receive the award, a student must resuscitate a patient who is without a pulse and respirations – in other words, clinically dead – and restore those vital signs prior to arriving at the hospital,” said Hubble. “Although we do have such success stories each year, I cannot recall when we've had a student save the lives of five patients in one year.”

The clinical rotations, which are part of the certification process for Western's emergency medical care students, are held at paramedic units in Forsyth, Gaston, Guilford, Henderson, Iredell and Jackson counties.

In addition to Sharma, Western students who received awards for successfully resuscitating patients are, from North Carolina, Travis Drake of Burlington, Robert Jones of Shelby and Brian Kurtz of Fairview; and, from out of state, Jackson Deziel from Manchester, N.H.

Prior to going into the field to work on real patients as part of their clinical rotations, the WCU students have been training on campus using a state-of-the-art computerized mannequin called a “SimMan,” or “simulated man.” Western is one of only two emergency medical care training programs in the state using the $30,000 apparatus in preparing paramedic students to meet the challenges of real-world medical emergencies. The lifelike mannequin is controlled by an instructor at a nearby computer, who can test the students with a variety of patient care scenarios.

“They are as realistic as we can get without actually working on a live human being, which is important in terms of providing training for the many situations our graduates will face in the field as paramedics. These mannequins really force them to be problem-solvers, to think on their feet and to evaluate the situation. I think our seniors' performance in their clinical rotations attests to the value of this type of training.”

Western Carolina was the first U.S. institution to offer a four-year degree in emergency medical care, and is today one of only 14 in the nation offering the degree. Western's program is accredited by the Committee on Accreditation of Education Programs for the EMS Professions.

For information about Western's emergency medical care program, call (828) 227-7113 or visit on the Web at .

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Last modified: Thursday, May 11, 2005
Copyright 2005 by Western Carolina University