After two years of planning, Lansing Community College will launch a unique medical program that will give a well-earned boost to men and women who served as military medics.
Previously denied classroom credit for their prior medical training, this special group of veterans will now be credited for their efforts as they pursue civilian medical certification and licensure.
The program, dubbed “Medic to Paramedic,” will welcome its first group of students in January.
The initial class is expected to include 10-12 students who served as medics before being honorably discharged from the U. S. military. The goal is to expand the program to support future classes of 24-36 former medics – referred to by military personnel simply as “docs” – so they can use their life-saving skills and rigid training to become licensed paramedics and registered nurses.
Said Darrell DeMartino, coordinator for the program and a paramedic with two decades of front-line experience providing care to patients: “To the best of our knowledge, this program at Lansing Community College will be a pioneering effort, unlike anything being done nationally by any college.”
DeMartino said the program has received a $190,000 federal grant to help offset the costs of drafting a tailor-made curriculum and to fund the first class. The hope and goal is to continue the novel program after the pilot class has concluded. The veterans will be able to use their GI Benefits to pay for their studies.
The veterans, some of whom served eight years or more in the service, bring with them a level of maturity and a host of special qualities, DeMartino said: “They’ve had to respond to medical situations generally not seen in civilian life such as wounds from biologic weapons – you don’t see those in downtown Lansing.”
Medics also serve an important role during peacetime by tending to routine injuries and commonplace problems such as colds and the flu. They administer inoculations and perform routine physical checkups.
“They’ve developed an exemplary work ethic and a seriousness of purpose that should carry over into their studies at LCC; they can serve as role models for their fellow students,” DeMartino said.
Details are still being finalized between LCC and State of Michigan EMS officials, but here’s how the program is shaping up:
Combat medics will get nine to 11 credit hours toward their paramedic certificate (they currently receive limited or no classroom credits for their intensive training and medical services performed in the military). This should allow them to cut a quarter or more off the classroom instruction time, so they will need to attend about 750 hours of class time instead of the traditional 1,000 to 1,100 hours.
Those who complete their paramedic training and pass the state’s paramedic licensure exam will be eligible to enroll in the college’s Advanced Standing Nursing track, allowing them to also earn an associate’s degree and be prepared for the nursing licensure exam.
To learn more about the program visit www.lcc.edu/militarymedic.